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Royce 5'9" x The Aware Brand

Source: YouTube / The Aware Brand

The Aware Brand began its YouTube series Aware Convos in October, and the apparel company reached out to Detroit rapper Ryan Daniel Montgomery a.ka. Royce 5’9″ for their third episode, “The Power Of Authenticity In The Music Industry.” The Grammy-nominated lyricist sat with hosts Drew Sanders and Rich Faison to talk about the need to discuss mental health and remaining true to oneself, particularly in Hip-Hop.

“As I get older, I realized I needed to articulate how I feel,” Royce told the Aware Brand founders. “Being vulnerable is another conversation. Between all the hyper-masculine sh*t and our environment, expressing ourselves started to correlate to a wall automatically coming up when it was time to be vulnerable.”

Royce has long been respected as one of the sharpest artists in rap. Also well known by many music fans as one of Eminem‘s closest friends, “Nickel Nine” made a lot of waves in 2001 with the DJ Premier-produced track “Boom.” Although his status as a wicked battle rapper never diminished, Royce’s output never seemed to fully match his hype or enjoy the fanfare of his fellow emcee from the 313.

However, after more than two decades in rap, Royce released his seventh studio project Book of Ryan (2018), and it received widespread acclaim. The difference between Book of Ryan and the half dozen albums prior was that raw, confessional approach he took to it. Royce covered topics like his personal fight with alcoholism and the toll of his own father’s drug addiction on songs like “Outside” and “Cocaine,” respectively.

Royce also spoke with Faison and Sanders on the ups-and-downs he faced navigating the business side of music. “[In the beginning] you are going to go on a trial and error path,” he said, “and it’s going to be more error than there will be a trial, and nine out of ten of those people will not survive.  And it doesn’t have to be like that.  All there is an information disconnect.”

“Royce 5’9 is a very intentional person that is full of knowledge so it was a must that we featured him on Aware Convos,” Faison said. “In this episode, we focused on being genuine and Royce symbolizes that perfectly.”

Watch the third episode of Aware Convos below, which is titled “The Power Of Authenticity In The Music Industry,” to learn more from Nickel Nine.