August 11, 2009

My Gut Reaction: Slaughterhouse - Slaughterhouse (August 11, 2009)

Slaughterhouse is a collective of four solo artists who were all fired from their previous labels for various reasons. Yeah, I know: when you look at it in those terms, this hip hop supergroup is far less glamorous. But stay with me for a second.

Slaughterhouse is made up of Royce da 5'9", Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, and Joe Budden. Crooked I was dropped by Death Row Records after label politics and the actions of CEO Suge Knight prevented him from ever releasing an actual album. Joell Ortiz used to be signed to Aftermath under Dr. Dre, but chose to terminate his contract after being told in no uncertain terms that his shit would be pushed back until after both Dre and Eminem dropped their next projects. (Um, does that mean Joell would still be sitting on the shelf since Detox has yet to drop?) Royce, as I've discussed in the past, came up alongside Slim Shady but found himself bouncing from label to label like a traveling gypsy: among other embarrassments, he was fired by Dr. Dre after he bragged about ghostwriting for him, he was forced to collaborate with pop tart Willa Ford on a song that failed to ignite either person's career (Willa Ford is now probably best known as the chick who water-skis topless in the Friday the 13th reboot), he got caught up in a battle between the rest of the members of D-12 (which he handily won), and he ended up squashing the beef between himself and Proof while locked up in the same cell over a holiday weekend. Finally, Joe Budden was dropped by Def Jam after Jay-Z decided that he didn't like the guy. Okay, I don't know if that last statement is true, but he was the president of the label at the time.

These four men linked up after Joey called on all of them to record an album track for him, and they all felt that their chemistry was palpable, so they coined the name Slaughterhouse right away. Although all four artists had basically been written off by the music industry as a whole, they used the Interweb to combine their respective fan bases and conquered hip hop blogs with a crazy amount of output. The crew signed with E1 (formerly Koch Records) and recorded this project in six fucking days. Their work ethic is such that they recorded this entire album, several tracks leaked to the Interweb (like "Woodstock", the supposed first single that was later deleted due to sample clearance issues), and guest appearances on each other's albums so quickly that one would be concerned that the quality would be lacking (remember when No Limit Records was releasing material every two weeks?) However, Slaughterhouse dedicate themselves to lyricism above all else, and as a result, they've been compared to the Wu-Tang Clan, another crew of solo artists who banded together for a common cause. Slaughterhouse is their first album, and more than likely it won't be their last.

Huh. Made it through the entire introduction without bringing up Joey getting Perez Hilton'd over the weekend by one of Raekwon's goons. Which, by the way, was a horrible publicity stunt for Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2, Rae, no matter how much Joey deserved that shit.

The introductory track on Slaughterhouse is produced by StreetRunner, and it isn't as celebratory or revolutionary as it should have been. Looking past that, though, each artist spits fire, alternating between a relaxed style and a Twista-trademarked speed-rap. Royce's is the first voice you hear, which makes sense, since in the grand scheme of the universe thus far, he is the most successful of the bunch, but he also gets to watch as his contribution is trounced by that of Joell Ortiz, who is pretty fucking impressive. I'm not sure why Joey felt the need to call out Asher Roth's name, even though he wasn't speaking ill of the man, which is entirely surprising, given his tendency to insert his foot into his mouth at every given opportunity.

I guess I was expecting too much when I hoped that a Slaughterhouse album, if one were to ever come into fruition, would be produced sans R&B hooks. Sigh. Once again, Joell comes across as if he has the most to prove, but overall I found this track to be pretty dull.

Features one of the better Alchemist beats I've heard in a long while, even though there's hardly anything to it. I love the fact that Al incorporated the “fire up this funk” vocal sample, which was last heard on Keith Murray's “Get Lifted”, into the instrumental, though: that was pretty sweet. Joey's verse sounds as if it were recorded on a different planet than the other three, both because of the sound quality of his verse compared to the other three participants and because Royce, Joell, and Crooked I sound worthy of the beat, while Budden sounds like he always does, cocky with no apparent justification. Joey doesn't ruin the song, though, so this shit is still pretty fucking awesome. Crooked I's line “If you are what you eat, how come I'm not pussy?” is also hilarious, and I bet you that shit will earn him more than a few new female fans.

Royce's reference to Michael Jackson's death shows us just how recently this shit was recorded. This song took me by surprise, as it sounds so goddamn upbeat that (dare I say it?) it almost sounds like a radio-friendly affair. Definitely not what I was expecting, but at least the lyricism is up to par.

Oddly rock-tinged, which isn't a bad thing, but the hook is entirely unnecessary. Still, this song is more punchline than man.

An interlude that delves into the mindset of the loose cannon Joe Budden. This was included why?

The Jay-Z-inspired hook that refuses to be classified as such is kind of lazy, but it helps break up the flow of the track, as each rapper basically gets two verses. DJ Khalil's instrumental is mentally ill (in a bad way) and it could literally drive you insane, but the lyrics are all on point, especially Royce, who does his best impression of Slim Shady's sadistic thought process. Speaking of which, even with his poor showing on Relapse, who else thinks hearing Marshall alongside the Slaughterhouse Four (they really need to find one more member so that they can run with the Vonnegut reference) would be a good idea?


Fatman Scoop? Really? Did you four lose a bet? No, wait, don't answer that: I don't like this song enough to give a fuck. The original “Onslaught” (which, to my understanding, was the first song that was ever credited to Slaughterhouse directly), which is readily available online, is the far superior track.


Joe Budden's thinly-veiled barbs aimed at Def Jam (his former label home) are tired and trite: honestly, man, these fans of yours who follow your every move on the Interweb blogs couldn't care less if the majors failed to promote an album that wasn't very good to begin with, as they love you any-fucking-way. Get over it. Other than that mild annoyance, this slow-moving train conducted by Mr. Porter (from D-12) is pretty good, although I found myself liking Pharoahe Monch's hook much more than any of the actual Slaughterhouse members. Yes, his hook is that nice. No wonder they didn't give the man a verse: it would be kind of embarrassing for even one of the core members to be outdone by a guest star on their debut disc.

Wu-Tang Clan fans may find themselves gravitating towards this track, as Joey is stuck handling hook duties only, but the song as a whole is pretty disappointing, especially Joell, who sounds like an elementary school student with a verse that is simple to understand, but is delivered in a fashion that wouldn't sound out of place on the recent reboot of The Electric Company.

Royce's opening verse accurately sums up a lot of the feelings that I and my fellow bloggers have about hip hop in general, so you will want to rewind it a few times before letting it play out. Sure, they may only be attacking our chosen genre because that's what their fans want to hear them say (if Royce admitted he loved Soulja Boy, for example, his credibility would be shot to hell), but the song is actually really fucking good, so I'll allow it. Joey's Method Man slight was unnecessary, though: dude, like I wrote before, you need to move on.

I understand that not every Slaughterhouse song needs to be about why these four guys are much better rappers than you or I, but that doesn't mean that they don't have a serious side. Everyone gets personal on here over a beat which Joe Budden probably felt right at home on, considering his Def Jam album was chock full of instrumentals such as this.

I actually really fucking hated this song. Kind of a weak way to end the project. But there were a lot of good songs on Slaughterhouse, so this is easily forgotten.

THE LAST WORD: It would be impossible for Slaughterhouse to live up to our heightened expectations for their debut group effort, simply because we all have unrealistic dreams for the future of hip hop. That being said, some of these songs are great enough to keep hope alive, and although not every song works, Royce da 5'9”, Crooked I, and Joell Ortiz all rhyme as if their lives depended on it, and Joe Budden, who would probably be considered the weak link in the crew if there has to be one, also manages to hold the audience's interest for the most part. I anticipate a relatively quick follow-up effort, with a slightly larger budget set aside to pay off some of the biggest producers in the game (wouldn't you want to hear these guys over DJ Premier or Pete Rock's handiwork?) after Slaughterhouse takes off on the Interweb, even though they recorded this album with very little studio time and a budget that was equal to the purchase price of a used Hyundai. Unlike some newer artists heavily promoted by blogs (*cough* Asher Roth *cough*), this Slaughterhouse crew has some potential. And you may find something to like, even if you err on the side of the Wu.


Not much in the way of Crooked I or Joell Ortiz (yet, but I'm working on it), but here's some Royce and Budden for you.


  1. protoman requests a review of rip the jacker, or else protoman gon haffa smack a bitch

  2. this album sucked really bad, i was so dissapointed at this shit

  3. ...unrealistic dreams when it comes to hip-hop. Too true.

  4. Anybody who hates this album is a raging homo

  5. Then call me a raging homo for not liking this garbage. Fuck all these artists, Asher Roth > Slaughterhouse.

  6. who the fuck writes reviews this fast after one listen?? smh

    shitty review as always

  7. anonymous, shut the fuck up, accpet the fact that this album is a piece oh shit

  8. the beats could've been better and yes joey was the weak link on almost every song, the good thing was he normally went last so i could just push the skip button. but i left this album completely impressed with mr. ortiz, also i don't see how you don't like onslaught 2, ortiz kills his verse, "when i get to heaven i want that nigga biggie to be like word"

  9. crap album just like pretty much every thing these days apart from premo shit

  10. Jack, youre a homo, don't deny it. Think about it, the only people who are going to hate on this album are the wack ass backpackers because this shit is too hardcore for them. And the homo ass Hip-pop fans will hate this too because its too lyrical and it doesn't have homos like Lil Wayne or Asher Roth. It really seperates the wack "hip hop fans" from the real hip hop fans.

  11. Oh and some of the Wu-fags will hate on this aswell because of the Joe Budden beef. Props to Max because he recognizes real hip hop.

  12. Very on point reveiw I think! I am inclined to agree on almost everything you said.

  13. ok im a big fan of these guys, except joey, i never really cared for his shit, but your right on this one, some of the tracks here rock, but some fail to impress hardcore fans like me, these guys besides joey, are lyrically talented but this album, i must say it deserves a 2.5/5, and anonymous, you must be the only person who doesnt like wu dont you? so sad kid

  14. ah the ol' pussy/you-are-what-you-eat joke

    I first heard that shit in summer camp

    on the topic of the album, it's kinda hit-and-miss, and I like some of the leaked songs a lot better than the miss tracks, but songs like Sound Off still really work

    on the album, I'd say royce was as great as everyone expected, joey was as...joey as everyone expected, crooked i was a tiny bit disappointing, and joell made up for it by REALLY impressing (although I did like his verse on the non-album track Slaughterhouse too)

    man the gamefaqs rap board is eating this up

  15. Joell's the only member of the group I really gave a fuck about anyway so I wasn't surprised to find this album was a heap of shit. The production was the kind of shit I'd expect to find on a T.I or Lil Wayne album and while lyrically the artists come off nicely the fact is the hooks essentially ruined any momentum gained.

  16. shitty album put out by a a group who has a crap rapper, these guys are like 4 hrsmn wanabes

  17. post a review of street hop, one of the best albums came out this year!

  18. WOW. Lots of hate on this album. I bought this album on it's release date, listened to it once, and never heard it again becuase I wasn't impressed. 3 months later, I popped it in again, and really REALLY liked it. I suggest everyone to listen to it again, and pay attention to the lyricism on it. It's damtastically amazing. Max is right. With some quality production, their follow up album could be pretty epic. Great review.


  19. every time i hear that song microphone i can't get past alchemsts wholesale biting of the drums in run dmcs sucker MCs..

    but anyways cut you loose is dope. thats pretty much it tho and ive been listening to royce and crooked for quite a while so i wanted this to be alot better.

  20. that was a really bad review. unprofessional to say the least, but you aren't going for that look are you?

  21. for your questioning the Asher Roth reference in Sound Off, I have a feeling it's calling out that Change Gonna Come song he did with charles hamilton and b.o.b. Joey's verse is oddly similar to Asher's verse on that track

  22. mrsplattv.... this album was amazing real talk.. lets be real these four rappers are lyrically the best in hip hop right now and joell ortiz is the best rapper hands down.but thats getting off topic, this album was a instant classic.. the production was there the lyrics where there and they all ripped it. they are better than the wu no offence to them cause i love 36 chambers. visit my blog