Royce da 5'9' says he and DJ Premier do not consider their new collaboration PRhyme -- which released its self-titled debut album this week -- to be a side project or one-off concern. And they intend to prove that with a full-scale North American tour in the new year, simply titled PRhyme: The Tour.
The duo's 26-date trek kicks off Feb. 18 in Baltimore and travels coast-to-coast until mid-March, when it sets down for three shows (so far) at the South by Southwest Music + Media Conference in Austin, Texas. Tickets go on sale Friday via their official site. PRhyme (pronounced 'prime') made its live debut on Monday in New York City to celebrate the album release.
'We don't have any concerns, man,' Royce tells Billboard. 'We've got a guy (collborator Adrian Younge) who can create music from nothing; he's walking around with a 24-piece orchestra in his head at all times, so we don't have to clear samples. We've got one of the greatest DJs and one of the greatest beat-makers in terms of chipping up samples and sampling music. We can do whatever we want to do, whenever we want to do it. We got our own money. We don't need a label. We don't need anything. We basically just play it by ear, and we're just having fun with it.'
The Detroit rapper -- who's also part of the all-star Slaughterhouse group and partners with Eminem as Bad Meets Evil -- and Premier are hardly strangers; they've been working on projects together since the late '90s, and including Royce's 2002 album 'Rock City (Version 2.0)' and his 2007 comeback mixtape 'The Bar Exam.' 'We've had a long, long working relationship,' Royce says, 'and we've always said to ourselves that if we ever got the opportunity, we would do something together, some type of full-length project. Once I started seeing a lot of success with Slaughterhouse and Bad Meets Evil and my solo stuff, it brought us to the point where it made sense for us to just form a group.'
Younge, who's also worked with Jay Z and Ghostface Killah among others, is PRhyme's secret weapon, according to Royce, bringing old school musical sensibilities -- 'He pulls from the era of 1968 to 1973, which he feels is the golden era of recording' -- to provide original music for Royce and Premier to sample and blend with their contemporary approaches.'it's probably one of the most exciting things I've had an opportunity to work on,' Royce says of the nine-song set, which features guest appearances by Slaughterhouse, Killer Mike, Mac Miller, Dweleand others. 'It's not, like, five different producers with five different scattered sounds; it's one cohesive sound, and it's raw hip-hop -- beats, rhymes and scratches, content and lyrics. That's the foundation of hip-hop. I can't wait to see how much more we do and how much further we go with it.'
PRhyme is just one of several items on Royce's busy docket. The MC is all over the new Shady XV label compilation, including two new Slaughterhouse songs and a fresh Bad Meets Evil track called 'Vegas' that he says may be a harbinger of things to come. 'When we got together to do that the only thing (Eminem) and I spoke about was how fun it was to be able to get back in again and challenge each other,' says Royce, who was also the point man organizing the album's all-star 'Detroit vs. Everybody' track. 'It's always fun, and there's nothing to plan; it's just a built-in thing that's already there, so we don't really discuss it. If there's an opening and it's meant to happen, it will happen, I guarantee you that.' Slaughterhouse, meanwhile, is 'about 60 to 70 percent done' with the follow-up to 2012's 'Welcome to Our House,' with plans to finish it up in early 2015 for release possibly later in the year. 'We always aid that once we did that last album we were going to go back and do our other stuff for year and then come back and do the next album with Shady, so that's kind of happening now,' he says.
The full itinerary for PRyhme: The Tour:
Feb. 18 - Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage
Feb. 19 - Washington, DC @ Howard Theatre
Feb. 20 - Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
Feb. 21 - Boston, MA @ Middle East
Feb. 22 - New York, NY @ Highline Ballroom
Feb. 24 - Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
Feb. 25 - Toronto, Canada @ Tattoo Queen West
Feb. 26 - Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
Feb. 27 - Chicago, IL @ Reggies
Feb. 28 - Madison, WI @ High Saloon
Mar. 01 - Minneapolis, MN @ Fineline
Mar. 03 - Denver, CO @ Blue Bird
Mar. 04 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
Mar. 06 - Seattle, WA @ Croc
Mar. 07 - Vancouver, Canada @ Fortune Sound Club
Mar. 08 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
Mar. 10 - Sacramento, CA @ Harlows
Mar. 11 - Oakland, CA @ New Parish
Mar. 12 - Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
Mar. 13 - Los Angeles, CA @ Dragon Fly
Mar. 14 - Tucson, AZ @ The Rock
Mar. 17 - Dallas, TX @ Trees
Mar. 18 - Houston, TX @ WLS
Mar. 19 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
Mar. 20 - Austin, TX @ SXSW