Ryan Daniel Montgomery, better known by his stage name Royce da 5′9″, is an American rapper from Detroit, Michigan. He is best known for his longtime association with Eminem as well as his solo career, recording primarily with producers Carlos "6 July" Broady and DJ Premier, as well as ghostwriting for the likes of Diddy and Dr. Dre. Royce is one half of the rap duo Bad Meets Evil with Eminem, one quarter of the hip hop group Slaughterhouse with Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I, and one half of the hip hop group PRhyme with DJ Premier. The editors of About.com ranked him No. 30 on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time (1987–2007).
In an interview with DJ Vlad on YouTube, Royce stated that his only early stage name prior to the "Royce" nickname was R-Dog, which "didn't even last a year". He moved to Oak Park, Michigan when he was 10 years old, later acquiring the nickname "Royce" during high school after wearing a Turkish link chain with an R pendant resembling the Rolls Royce symbol. Royce's name comes from his height, 5 feet 9 inches. However, the numbers have been in his life numerous times as he "found his calling" as a rapper in 1995 and in his song "Tabernacle" he discusses his grandmother dying on the fifth floor of a hospital and his first son being born on the ninth. Similar instances suggest that his name has numerous meanings besides his height. He started rapping at age 18, influenced mainly by Ras Kass, Redman, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Esham, Detroit's Most Wanted, and N.W.A.
He signed his first deal in 1998 with Tommy Boy Records, the label offering him $1 million compared to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment, who offered him $250,000 and unlimited beats—what Royce expressed as his "biggest regret" in a March 2016 interview with Complex. After Tommy Boy Records shut down, he signed a deal with Columbia and Game Recordings where he started recording an album called Rock City, referring to Detroit's former status as home to Motown Records. When the project was heavily bootlegged, Royce left the label for Koch to re-record some of the album, eventually releasing it in 2002 as Rock City (Version 2.0). While the album did not sell very well, the DJ Premier-produced single "Boom" gained Royce some underground recognition and eventually resulted in the two working together more closely.