First things first, I want to extend get well wishes to Hexmurda, who from what I understand suffered a stroke. I became aware of Hex’s misfortune while attending the listening session at Headquarterz for Nickel Nine’s (which he [Royce Da 5’9”] didn’t attend for obvious reasons) Street Hop, due out October 20th on One Record. There’s no argument when describing Royce’s lyrical prowess, next to him your favorite emcee’s emcee is butter in front of f**king machete swings however, his highly anticipated LP falls by the wayside. Though it may be questionable, it is apparent that executive producer, DJ Premier and Royce had a certain vision in terms of the sound. Many will be surprised to find that Primo oversaw this project and perhaps would be more baffled that Royce found this finished product acceptable. A handful of tracks featured on this LP have already been heard on Royce’s EP, The Revival, although Gun Harmonizing now features a stellar verse from Crooked I. On the track Soldier, featuring Royce’s younger brother, Kid Vishis, the momentum is quickly exhausted by an aggravating hook, ultimately proving it’s far from Street Hop since Royce actually gave a f**k about a hook and where it would go. The Busta Rhymes assisted Dinner Time, is sure to leave inept lyricists’ dinner plates empty. Songs like the previously released I Gotta Shake This, reveal a solemn personal side of Royce; detailing the pressure he encountered while being incarcerated for a year. Royce’s creative exuberance is exhibited in Part Of Me; similarly On The Run and Murder find Royce detailing stories that would make the most practiced storytellers proud. Sadly before the listening session concluded, I retreated to another room, Long Island in my right hand, where I parlayed with older heads recounting on the yesteryears and cackling about situations they would rather forget. For what it is worth, my disappointment with Street Hop will not change my opinion of Royce’s command of the microphone. Still I can’t help but wonder why Joe Budden isn’t featured on the album; I will just chalk it up as a scheduling conflict.