The men of Slaughterhouse have said they don’t want journalists writing about their past, preferring instead that we focus on the supergroup’s formidable present. Too bad. Because without Slaughterhouse’s collective past there would be no present. (Saying they’ve had a little trouble with music industry politics is like saying Bobby Brown has had a little problem with crack.) If Joe Budden’s relationship with Def Jam hadn’t disintegrated, there would be no Slaughterhouse. If Joell Ortiz had been properly supported by Aftermath, there would be no Slaughterhouse. If Death Row Records hadn’t collapsed around Crooked I, …
DJBooth Album Review
From these dramatic roots the aforementioned members of Slaughterhouse decided to join together, like some sort of hip-hop Voltron, after they all jumped on a track for Budden’s Halfway House mixalbum. That track’s name? Slaughterhouse. Well apparently the boys don’t enjoy coming up with new names, because their debut album, recorded in only a week, is also called…wait for it…Slaughterhouse. With so much lyrical firepower behind them, Slaughterhouse (the group) is like the Dream Team: they’re so good the only way they can possible lose is to get lazy or let their egos get in the way of working together, like the embarrassing 2004 squad. Well, I’m happy to report that Slaughterhouse (the album) is almost everything fans could have asked for; a cataclysmic collection of lyrical power backed by some truly premier production. If you’re brave enough to step into the slaughterhouse, do so with caution.
They may not admit it, but there aren’t many rappers out there who would dare battle these four, and Slaughterhouse knows it. Just take Microphone, a track with an ax to grind against every wack rapper who dares touch a mic, and there are a lot of them. While a darkly grinding beat goes to work in the background, courtesy of The Alchemist, Royce, Crook and Ortiz lay waste to the lyrical landscape, culminating in a blistering verse from Budden, including the brilliant line, “Too many blueprints, not enough architects.” (A subtle jab at Jay-Z? Let the blog commence their gossiping). Every member of the group is also known for being a little, shall we say, um, off, mentally speaking, if you catch my drift. More succinctly, they occasionally rap about some intense s**t. Case in point, Lyrical Murderers, a track that’s the sonic definition of homicide, thanks in no small part to a vicious verse from Crooked. Or there’s the schizophrenic Cuckoo, or the serial killer anthem Killaz. You get the point. It’s all dope. And if you’re a backpacker thinking about picking up Slaughterhouse, you better have a backpack full of knives and hand grenades.
If Slaughterhouse was all dark all the time it’d be too much (possibly a Relapse?), so thankfully the album has moments of light, even if that light’s dim. The One brings in some rock instrumentation to up the tempo, and while Slaughterhouse can’t help but keep the lyrics twisted, there are still moments of humor. While the album never really breaks out into anything you could truly party to, they come the closest on Not Tonight, an energetic track with shades of soul flavor that’s easily Slaughterhouse’s most radio-friendly joint, if they care about such things. Also deserving mention is the mournful Rain Drops, a track that Novel infuses with gospel-esque lyrics while the boys prove they can slow down the pace when need be (particularly Ortiz). While Slaughterhouse is undeniably at their best when they’re at their most aggressive, they’re far more than one note rappers.
Ultimately, Slaughterhouse is a testament to the raw power of collective creativity. The formula’s simple really. Just pack four supremely talented rappers into one studio, let them engage in some friendly lyrical competition, and get the f**k out the way. Slaughterhouse brings the best out in each other, and if they can consistently turn out music on the level of their debut album, the game should be afraid. Very, very afraid.
DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 08/10/09
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Slaughterhouse ft. Various Artists" (2008)
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