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Royce Da 5'9" Raps About Kanye West & Wale On “Field Negro”

He also addresses Tory Lanez on the politically charged track.

Royce da 5'9" doesn’t mince words on his new single “Field Negro,” calling out Kanye West for being thin-skinned and throwing a friendly jab at Wale. The self-produced cut is Royce’s first release of 2019.

Over a jazzy electric piano melody, Royce references the two veteran rappers' proclivity to publicly air their grievances, while also using homophobic language to denigrate unnamed award shows that he deems trivial. He says:

I stayed knocking, I stayed rockin'
I did it my way without all the complainin'
And all the whinin' all day like Kanye or Wale
For the validation of all the bloggers
And all the same gay ass awards
Fuck y'all and all them gay ass awards
We are livin' inside the same hell
And we all willin' to die to go the same heaven

The song is composed of four verses and lacks a traditional hook, but Royce uses a sample of Kanye’s 2015 BBC interview with Zane Lowe. In the section, West criticizes rappers who prioritize material success and wealth over speaking out and standing up for those without platforms. He says;

Your Maybach and your house is like that important that you won’t move at all. It’s distractions, that you won’t say anything at all in risk of losing something. Right. You won’t say anything on anyone’s behalf at this point?

On the second verse, Royce may be alluding to West once more, talking about how much he’s changed and embraced his celebrity status. He raps:

Okay, now you thinkin' you livin' so far away
Just ‘cause you neighbors with Britney and K-Fed
Every artist in the game are phony

In a 2018 interview with Billboard, Royce said he still had “the utmost respect for [Kanye] creatively” and that “his personal views don’t bother me at all.” He did, however, take exception to West’s widely-condemned comment on TMZ that the 400 years black people endured slavery “sounds like a choice.”

“He either going through something, battling something or extremely ahead of his time,” Royce said. “You can’t keep it that funky. You can’t be talking like that [about slavery].”

The Wale reference is likely an allusion to his history of social media beefs. Over the past few years he’s gone back and forth with people like Meek Mill, conservative commentator Tomi Lahren, and hip-hop journalist Eric Diep.

On February 9, Royce clarified on Twitter that the mention of Wale wasn’t adversarial, and criticized people who tried to simplify “Field Negro” into something of a diss track.

Royce actually has a history of collaborating with both artists. West produced Royce’s unreleased 2003 track “Heartbeat”, which sparked a financial dispute between the rapper and then-upstart producer. Royce also contributed a verse to Wale’s “Say It Again” from Back to the Feature.

The line about Tory Lanez is likely in reference to a Twitter spat between the two rappers that stemmed from Royce’s reaction Lanez’s beef with Joyner Lucas. The exchange turned fiery after Lanez insulted the Detroit MC.

Royce and DJ Premier appeared on Genius' series Verified to break down “Rock It,” a collaborative track from their PRhyme project.

Read the full lyrics to “Field Negro” and the rest of Royce’s discography on Genius now.

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