Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Album Review: Slaughterhouse

In my humble opinion, this new album from Slaughterhouse had the chance to be one of the best collections of lyricists assembled since maybe NWA. I use NWA as a comparison because lyrically they share the same energy and rawness in their delivery. With true "gangster rap" fading out in the 90s and being largely looked down upon at the time by pop culture...but still at the same time being recognized by true Hip Hop heads as a neccesary element that helped shape the future of Hip Hop, this release by Slaughterhouse had a chance to be that album that did what NWA couldn't do during their era...make an in your face Hip Hop album that was characterized by strong lyrics (both explicitly and creatively), but still appealed to more than just dedicated Hip Hop fans.

Let me first say, if you’ve read any previous reviews or even noticed my banner on the blog you would have noticed how big of a fan I am of Crooked I. Lyrically none in the game now can match his wit and incredible off the brain creativity. While Crook has always been a favorite, Joell Ortiz has really impressed me since the inception of Slaughterhouse as a group. He’s the second best to Crook at freestyling lyrics on the spot and when you really listen to what he's saying. He's sort of got that same one step ahead flow that always comes off like he's got every lined planned out but he's still spitting words wildly that make sense.

Now the other two members, I’ve always has a lot of respect for. First, Joe Budden with songs like Whatever it Takes and The Unforgiven, he's always released tracks that should be given the respect they deserve just because of how real they are. Joe B definitely has a lot of skeletons in his closet, but he is not afraid to let them out of the closet through his verses and there’s a lot to respect about that, it shows his interest in getting things off his chest and trying to improve as a person by venting to complete strangers...which takes a lot to do. Last, but definitely not least, Royce Da 5’9....clearly he’s always had talent, why else would Eminem have signed him? But he’s still never really gotten his break despite always putting together extremely well lyrically conceived tracks. I can respect him taking a leadership role in this eclectic foursome because despite being a genuinely under appreciated artist, he still plays the role of veteran well.

As far as the album goes, it was pretty strong. I can't say it was very strong or a classic by any stretch of the imagination because after song 7, Cuckoo, there were only terrible interludes and filler tracks in my opinion.

Now that doesn't take away from the beginning of the album that brings nothing but high energy and on point lyrics. I really like the way they set up the album with the personification of every Slaughterhouse member as a body part on the track Sound Off. Every verse on the track gives a little quick intro of each member's style with a quick intro, then they all show their versatility by absolutely waxing the end of all their verses when they speed up their rhymes.

The heat continues on the next track, Lyrical Murders, which is my favorite track on the album. it has the perfect sort of West Coast organ gangster rap sound that fits what they bring as a group. Microphone continues the freestyle beat sound that really augments the strong lyrics of all four artists on their verses. Honestly, I would have liked the next track Not Tonight better if Joe Budden hadn't already used the beat because Alchemist kills the keys in the background. The next two tracks are my other two favorites
, The One and Cuckoo. Both tracks have gotten a lot of love on the 'net and provided the hype needed for this album to potentially be successful. Of course they are both produced by one of my favorite producers in the game, DJ Khalil, who brings more of a party beat on The One. The track has pop culture infused lyrics that were probably intentionally placed to gain some radio love as a single. Can't hate on that especially when they follow it up with such a lyrically sick (literally) track that Khalil laces with a "horror rap" sounding beat. Really lends credence to their group name Slaughterhouse, not for the faint of heart, just in your face vulgar Rap. With lines like:

"killin every feature like I'm a drunk plastic surgeon, certainly dirty past detergent" and "If you cross me, here is how your life story will begin...Once upon a time...THE END!"

All in all a very solid first effort for Slaughterhouse. I'll reluctantly give their album 4 headphones as it was well on the way to a solid 4, but filler tracks and interludes cost them a shot at a borderline modern day Hip Hop classic.

Best Tracks from the album:

Slaughterhouse feat Kay Young - Lyrical Murderers Hot!!!

Slaughterhouse - Cuckoo (prod by DJ Khalil) Best beat!!


Joe Budden feat Slaughterhouse - We Outta Here Hotttt!!

EXTRA: Slaughterhouse Rules Video....hilarious.


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