Throughout their career, rappers are bound to make mistakes along the way, but few made an error as royal as Royce da 5’9 when he decided against signing with Dr Dre.
Dre has been a mentor to stars who lit up the hip-hop industry, including Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and Anderson .Paak, but Royce chose against being part of that lineage. While his career has panned out nicely, it’s a decision he’s grown to severely regret as he considers what could have been if he’d signed with Aftermath.
Like most bad decisions, it was influenced by money and greed, with Royce adopting a short-sighted approach rather than considering the bigger picture. While this rewarded him financially in the short term, it didn’t take the rapper long to reassess the situation.
It was 1998, and Royce chose the now-defunct Tommy Boy Records solely because they offered him $1 million, which dwarfed Dre’s offer, even though his advice would have been unquantifiable.
“I made a decision to sign with Tommy Boy instead of Dr. Dre, back in the day,” Royce Da 5’9 said. “Sometimes I don’t really regret it because by saying that I’m basically saying that I regret where I’m at today, which couldn’t be further than the truth, but sometimes I wonder what would have happened had I done that.”
He continued: What kind of music would I have been able to make? Because he was offering me a $250,000 budget and unlimited Dre beats. And Tommy Boy was just offering me $1 million.”
In hindsight, Royce would have signed with Dre, and who knows what the future could have held for him. When it comes to beats, Dre sits in his own league, and what they could have given Royce was worth way more than $1m.
While Royce is a respected figure in the hip-hop world and famous within this universe, this deal with Interscope/Aftermath would have opened doors for the rapper, which could have turned him into a superstar. Deep down, Royce knows this, too, which is why turning down Dre remains the biggest regret of his career.