It’s said that the apocalypse is near when you see the four horsemen. Well if Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5’9” and Crooked I have anything to do with it, this is in fact the end for a lot of rappers. Collectively coming together to form Slaughterhouse, this Voltron-esque super group has been on the lips of many a fan wondering if the foursome will indeed produce what could be a monumental album for hip hop or just be all talk like several star-studded attempts before them. Pledging their allegiance to the project and riding the momentum of their recent sold out show at New York City’s S.O.B.’s, this four-headed monster sat down with XXLmag.com to discuss everything you want to know about your favorite rappers’ favorite group. Prepare for the Slaughter.
XXLMag.com: How did Slaughterhouse get started ?
Royce Da 5’9″: It started with a record [entitled “Slaughterhouse”]. Joey reached out to me and said I need you to lay a verse on this song. He said Crooked was gonna be on it. I didn’t even know Ortiz was going to be on the joint. After they leaked it out to the net and seen the response to it, he called me back and was like ‘Yo, we need to build on this.’ Not to try to take credit or nothing, but that’s just how shit went down. He was like, ‘Yo, we need to do another joint.’ And I was just like, shit, why don’t we just do an album? Why don’t we just do a group since they fucking with all of us. He was like, ‘Hell yea!’
Joe Budden: I know Royce took credit but I need to be taking the credit [laughs].
XXL: With everybody being all across the country, does geography ever become a problem?
Royce: Nah, it’s just about agreeing to meet at a central location where everybody can be comfortable. If Crooked said ‘I only like recording on the West Coast’ I’d be down to go out there for a couple of weeks. He could come out to my crib for a couple of weeks. Then I’d go out to New York or Jersey…it don’t matter to me. And everybody’s so flexible, nothing’s really been hard throughout the process so far.
Crooked I: I think niggas is so hungry and so starving for this hip-hop shit to return to what it once was that niggas is just gelling right now.
XXL: Hip-hop hasn’t seen a super group like this in a long time. What type of impact are you hoping a showing like this will have on the game?
Joell Ortiz: It’s gonna be a Slaughterhouse [laughs]. We got the perfect name for it. I don’t think anybody else group wise is going to be able to doubt that we’re four of the toughest dudes when it comes to that booth. I think hip-hop as a whole will be excited, especially anyone who like rapper’s rappers.
Crooked I: I wanna raise the bar with this project. All these niggas think they got spit. All these niggas think they going in on the ink pen. I wanna show them and prove even to myself that my bar game is always what I say it is. Of course I wanna get paper, cause one foot in the industry and one foot in the streets, that’s some wack shit. But my main goal with this Slaughterhouse project is to bring that era, that real hip-hop to a new generation.
Royce: We wanna impact all across the board. We’re capable of doing everything people think we can’t do and everything they think we can do we’re capable of doing ten times better than that. I think we all wanna show collectively, that we can do more than the box that people put us in, which is underground.
Budden: My outlook is a little different. I agree, if given the opportunity we can change quite a few people’s opinions as far as perspectives go, but if you just focus on the music everything else will fall into place. Once we just focus all of our talents and energies, people will be made believers.
XXL: So Royce, with you specifically not trying to stay in that underground vein, would it be safe to say you’re trying to reach the mainstream now ?
Royce: I think if we stay consistently doing what we’re doing now, they’ll come to us. I don’t wanna go reaching for it because when you reach for it, people will catch on that that’s what you’re trying to do and they don’t respect that.
XXL: All of you guys have a heavy presence and have been able to eat on the strength of the internet. Will that continue with this project or will there be more of an effort to push it out onto the street level?
Royce: We’re gonna focus on trying to get this shit as big as possible. There’s just too many super powers. Shit, this is bigger than the net. I wanna take it as far as we can take it. We’re not gonna put up with no record with Rihanna on the hook or some shit, but we’re gonna keep it hip-hop and take it far. Same way people like Common did it who never really sacrificed their sound to make hit records.
Budden: That’s happening now. That’s not a concern of mine one bit. I don’t think about who’s big where. I mean we all have our own personal accomplishments and accolades but as a unit, we ain’t accomplished shit yet. But I think just the idea itself is already spilling over into the streets. There’s a different type of excitement and it certainly isn’t just on the internet.
Crooked I: It absolutely spills over into the streets. And I already see we gon have to flatten out a couple of sucker emcees. I can already hear the hating. But that might just add to the project though [laughs]. But it’s to be expected. Now that you can go on the internet, listen to music and leave a comment, everybody’s a critic. What I’m hoping to do is educate the West Coast fans in the street who may not be up on Joe Budden or not up on Ortiz…The internet is cool, but you can’t just live there. -Anthony Roberts