I don't know how or when he did it but Royce Da 5'9" has climbed into my top emcee list. He even puts himself as close as possible to the legendary Casual as my favorite "guest emcee."(i.e. the emcee who always outshines the artist who he is appearing with as a featured guest)
Royce drops fire on producer Copperpot's album. Go back and listen to him kill it with slim shady back in the day. He also sucks up all the oxygen on the EV records compilation. His work with both DJ Premier and Statik Selektah is pretty close to untouchable lyrically. The guy is sick and can always be counted on for a go to / rewind kinda verse.
He is also working on his Premier-assisted retail release, Street Hop, the lead single of which is "Shake This," also produced by Preemo. The video to the song is currently circulating the internet, and the project is set for March 2009.