Slaughterhouse is a machine. And today that means that in addition to everything you’ve just read, the group is also overseeing rough cuts of the video for welcome to: Our House’s first single, “Hammer Dance,” glad-handing DJs, juggling responsibilities to family members and significant others, making liquor runs and more—all before a scheduled performance in front of a sold-out crowd. In a perfect world, this story ends with how the group’s professionalism, earned through years of hard knocks, allows them to rise above such time-management issues with poise. But a perfect world wouldn’t be as interesting as the truth.
As the group pulls up to the night’s venue, they’re not only so late to take the portraits you see here that the photographer threatens to leave—they’re so late that fans (including some two dozen who paid $100 each for a pre-show meet-and-greet opportunity) are lined up outside the door as the foursome makes its way into the venue. Inside, the group takes collective shots in what may be the quickest photo session in the history of this magazine, while fans poke their heads into the backdrop. As they split up for solo options, their manager begins running through an hours-late sound check for the night’s performance. As sound-checking a venue is an involved process requiring the performers’ inputs, Royce Da 5’9” runs through his verse of “Sound Off,” the night’s opening number. While Joell Ortiz, who rhymes second, performs his lines, Joe Budden, with the composure and presence of a fashion model and rock star, stays by the theater’s doors and begins posing for his photos. By the time Crooked I, who rhymes third on the song, hits the stage, Joe is bent over and violently retching his insides into a garbage can. No one knows what’s happened yet; Joe, despite the sweating and the heaving and the kneeling, is giving the most controlled demonstration of upchucking you could imagine. And, by the time he’s needed onstage, he’s there, microphone in hand, rapping—“My one goal’s to astonish…”—like it’s business as usual.
When asked later what happened, he matter-of-factly says, “I threw up.” Asked about his ability to bounce back, he deadpans, “I’m a professional.”