Royce 5’9″ and DJ Premier’s collaborative album PRhyme 2 is a showcase of brilliant wordplay over banging boom-bap. The project finds the Detroit MC tackling a variety of topics, from romantic relationships to punchlines about Rita Ora and Rihanna. But one subject that Royce doesn’t delve into is politics (save for an off-hand reference to Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan on “My Calling”). According to Nickel Nine, that choice of coverage is no coincidence. “PRhyme is not a super-serious, super-political brand,” he tells XXL. “It represents the art form in its entirety, and that encompasses some social views. But we don’t want to be known for that with this particular brand.” He adds: “If I feel like saying something about Donald Trump—whether it be good or bad—we can have the freedom to do that. You may not hear a song about Donald Trump, but you may hear the way I feel about something that’s going on socially.” Royce and Preemo weren’t shy about discussing their take on the generational divide that seems to be pitting rappers of different ages and eras against each other. They open up about that rift on “Everyday Struggle,” a song that’s based on a fiery conversation between Lil Yachty and Royce’s Slaughterhouse brother Joe Budden that took place on the titular Complex series. Initially, Lil Uzi Vert was intended to appear on the song. “Lil Uzi Vert and I already had a phone conversation,” DJ Premier tells XXL, recalling Uzi’s 2016 appearance on Hot 97 in which he refused to freestyle on a Preemo instrumental. “He was like, ‘Man, we need to get in the lab and show people that we ain’t separating like this. Everybody’s been wanting to separate us. So for him to have the power he got right now—and you see the power that Lil Uzi Vert got right now—he’s saying let’s show people that it ain’t like that and that we can put ourselves together and make a dope song.” Ultimately, the collaboration didn’t work out for PRhyme 2 due to conflicting schedules, but Premier and Royce make it clear that nothing is off limits—either lyrically or collaboratively. “We get together and take the steps and try to create the change that we want to see,” says Royce, whose solo Book of Ryan album drops on Friday (May 4). “That’s why ideas like putting Lil Uzi Vert on a song even came on the table. Why would I not want to work with him? The kid is talented. He may not be a lyricist, but he’s good at what he does. And that’s what art is.” Watch DJ Premier and Royce 5’9″ discuss PRhyme 2 in the video below. See New Music Releases for May 2018

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