Death Is Certain

Last updated
Death Is Certain
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 24, 2004
RecordedDecember 2002–January 2004
  • Isolation Records
  • Nation Studios (Detroit, MI)
  • MPA Studios
Genre Hip hop
Label Koch Records
Royce da 5'9" chronology
Rock City
Death Is Certain
Independent's Day
Singles from Death Is Certain
  1. "Hip Hop"
    Released: November 22, 2003
  2. "Death Is Certain Pt. 2 (It Hurts)"
    Released: February 11, 2004

Death Is Certain is the second studio album by American rapper Royce da 5'9". It was released on February 24, 2004 through Koch Records. Recording sessions took place from December 2002 to January 2004 at Isolation Records, at Nation Studios in Detroit, and at MPA Studios. The majority of the album's production was handled by Carlos "6 July" Broady of Bad Boy Records production team The Hitmen. Other producers contributed to the album are Jason "Asar" Qualls, Ty Fyffe, Rob "Reef" Tewlow, Mark Bassin, and DJ Premier, who produced the album's lead single "Hip Hop". It features guest appearances from Ingrid Smalls, 6 July, Cha Cha and Cutty Mack. The album peaked at number 161 on the Billboard 200 and number 39 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.



Released two years after his official debut Rock City , Royce spent his two-year hiatus entangled in a beef with fellow Detroit natives and former allies, D12. Due in part to a battle with depression, Death Is Certain features a sound considerably darker than that heard on his debut. Royce's new sound garnered him considerable acclaim for the album, with most critics calling Death Is Certain his strongest effort. The album is also noted by many listeners to contain both 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. influences in Royce's lyrics.

Later, Royce said he can't listen to the album because it takes him "to a dark place and a dark time". About the process during the production of it: "I like the fact that album happened. It taught me a lot about the creative process. I had no choice but to be honest. I didn’t go into that album the way I go into albums now, where I know exactly what I need to be doing as an artist. I know not to reach for anything, to just be myself. To be honest and be transparent, that’s what I like to do. That’s what I feel will resonate the best. That's what I did with Death Is Certain, but I didn’t plan to. It was like I was stuck in that mode. I was going through so much. We actually did that album, me and Six July, we did that album in like two weeks. Six of those songs I did within the first couple of days. That was the first batch of beats he played me. I remember they went to the titty bar, and I was just writing all of them. Knocking them down real quick. It was like, so much on my mind, I don’t even think I was focused on being super lyrical. [laughs] I was just spilling. Just spilling shit. And I was super drunk". [1]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Album of the Year 70/100 [2]
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [3]
HipHopDX 4/5 [4]
Prefix8/10 [5]
RapReviews8.5/10 [6]
Stylus Magazine C [7]
Vibe 3.5/5 [8]

Death Is Certain was met with generally positive reviews. At Album of the Year, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from professional critics, the album received an average score of 70, based on four reviews. [2] About the critical acclaim, Royce said: "For the album to have that type of reaction, to resonate with people like that...It just gave me an idea-- when we come in the game, everything is trial and error. It’s going to be from making mistakes. Death Is Certain was a situation where I learned from something that was successful. Most of the shit I know now, I learned from making mistakes. Most of my valuable lessons came from making mistakes". [1]

Track listing

1."Intro"  0:12
6 July3:01
3."Throw Back" (featuring Ingrid Smalls)
Ty Fyffe 4:17
4."What I Know"
  • Montgomery
  • Rob Tewlow
5."I Promise" (featuring Ingrid Smalls)
  • Montgomery
  • Broady
6 July3:54
6."Call Me Never!" (Skit) Asar1:59
7."Hip Hop"
DJ Premier 3:47
8."Gangsta" (featuring Cutty Mack)
  • Montgomery
  • Broady
6 July4:42
9."T.O.D.A.Y" (featuring Ingrid Smalls)
  • Montgomery
  • Broady
6 July3:55
10."I & Me"
  • Montgomery
  • Jason Qualls
  • Montgomery
  • Broady
  • Mark Bassin
  • 6 July
  • Mark Bassin
12."Bomb 1st"
  • Montgomery
  • Qualls
13."Everybody Goes" (featuring Ingrid Smalls)
  • Montgomery
  • Broady
6 July3:05
14."Death Is Certain Pt. 2 (It Hurts)" (featuring Ingrid Smalls and Cha Cha)
  • Montgomery
  • Broady
6 July4:12
15."Something's Wrong With Him" (featuring 6 July)
  • Montgomery
  • Broady
6 July3:57
Total length:50:36
Sample credits


Chart (2004)Peak
US Billboard 200 [9] 161
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard) [10] 39
US Independent Albums (Billboard) [11] 5
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard) [12] 4

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