Review: ‘The Allegory’ offers an introspective, brutally honest take on America

Royce Da 5’9” takes storytelling to a new level on his latest LP

Royce Da 5’9” Facebook | Photo Courtesy
The project unveils deeper political messages hidden within the lyrics.

Allegory: A story or poem that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning that is typically moral or political. No rapper in the industry does a better job at layering prophetic lessons throughout their lyrics than Royce Da 5’9.”

Royce has shown an impressive evolution throughout his career. He built his name up through rap supergroup “Slaughterhouse” and as half of the rap duo “Bad Meets Evil” with Eminem.

In 2018, Royce released his most commercial-focused album yet, “Book of Ryan.” With a cohesive concept and commercially successful features (J. Cole, Eminem, Logic), the album was a success among fans and critics alike.

The bar was set high for his next project after a triumph of this nature, and the world was watching to see if he could hit it. Two years later, “The Allegory” proves to be a worthy successor for everyone tuning in.

“The Allegory” is the first album in which Royce has a production credit on every track. The sound that he creates and brings to the project is a fresh, yet nostalgic form of what seems to be his biggest inspirations.

He manages to blend the sounds of classic boom-bap (Black Thought, Ice-T) and the soulful ballads of Ms. Lauryn Hill and Aaliyah. This new sound can be so that it overtakes the lyrical, layered stories that Royce offers.

Having released four tracks beforehand to massive success, anticipation was high for the new album. These tracks came across as chapters of a book that were out of place, desperate to find their place of belonging in the album’s concept. Once in their place, these chapters display an immersive storytelling experience like no other.

Royce doesn’t hold back from flexing on other rappers that he’s lyrically superior as the album’s lyrics and intertwined skits offer an introspective look at black history, racism and oppression within America’s history.

Ditching the big-name assists this time around, Royce sticks to his close circle of underground rappers such as Benny the Butcher, White Gold and Conway the Machine.

These rappers, among the other lesser-known artists, bring everything they have to try and match his lyrical ability. The result is an impressive, top-tier effort from every artist involved that performs better than ever.

Over twenty years into his career, Royce displays on “The Allegory” that his fine-tuned skill for storytelling is far from ever and still becoming ever-more complex with every project.

His new soul-filled sound combined with lesser-known names may not assist the album in commercial success, but they make way for Royce to share his thoughts on pressing topics in America.

Furthermore, Royce’s new style is one that 90’s hip-hop fanatics are sure to grow fond of over the years, cementing itself in history alongside other classics.

“The Allegory” establishes Royce as a wise teacher that stands out above the current trends of mainstream mumble and drug rap.

While he may not have the commercial success of frequent collaborators, Eminem and Pusha T, he proves that he earned his name in the rap industry and he’s not going anywhere.

Review: 4/5

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