From the very beginnings of rap we have loved the groups that have graced the microphone. Do you remember that scene in ‘Wild Style’ when the Cold Crush Brothers battled the Fantastic Five on the basketball court. The group is the essence of Hip-Hop. Several emcees all rhyming over the same beat trying to find ways to verbally outdo the person who held the microphone before them. As each rapper steps in the cipher the lyrics become more acute and the flows pick up their intensity. This is that REAL rap shit.
And this is why the SlaughterHouse collective wins time and time again. They are practicing the very foundation of rap music. I’m just amazed that these four emcees can unify themselves in a culture that is notoriously selfish and ego driven. You haven’t seen this many good spitters together on the same page since the mythical 4 Horsemen but they had too many difficulties in producing music. There was an early union between Jay-Z, Ja Rule and DMX that fizzled away because these three were too full of themselves and too crazy (in DMX’s case).
Joe Budden, who might be the most hated rapper in the game right now, told me that the origin of SlaughterHouse was simply the ability of he and Royce Da’ 5-9 to squash a simmering feud between the two of them. That is the first and hardest principle in forming the group. Can you imagine what it must be like to ask a rapper to put aside their ego? Rappers need their ego, especially in this day and age, when so many people have become art critiques instead of fans. The rapper’s ego protects them from the comment threads that tell them they suck. So to put down your armor is actually more hardbody than to keep it on. You are vulnerable to attack, but somehow you are now stronger than you were before.
SlaughterHouse bugs me the fuck out because not one of these emcees even shares the same homestate. This means that they will each have their own definitive state of mind. In the short time I have been around them I can sense they have this incredible respect for one another like a band of brothers. They will fight amongst one another, but will instantly flip on anyone who tries to come at one of their brothers. When emcees assume that ‘Ride Or Die’ mentality with their teammates no one holds back any energy or material. They spur each other to leave everything in the booth.
This is why I was scared at first for SlaughterHouse because each of these artists is an individually minded person who has survived in the music industry for at least ten years. All of these dudes came into the business in their late teens and have been thrashed about by label politricks, artist backbiting and the constant fuckery that is the music industrial complex. They are all survivors in one way or another, and the SlaughterHouse collective is their best last chance to tel all the haters and the nay-sayers to go kill themselves.
That theme was evident in the track ‘Move On’ where each of the emcees recounted their angst and the solution they had for dealing with those issues. ‘Move On’ was an epic song for me because I envisioned myself in that same position several years back writing for a magazine that wasn’t paying me shit. I wanted the exposure, and the publisher knew that much, so I traded my labor for that means to an end. We all make those similar decisions in our lives, but instead of living with regret or remorse we shoukd just move on. With that track SlaughterHouse doesn’t just make good music, they made real life music.
SlaughterHouse and Koch, er, E-1 Records invited me to listen to a preview of their upcoming album. Along with some of the people that you have come to see on the internets as the folks that bring info to you live and non-stop. Eskay was in the building so you know that shit is big. Nah’Right Dre came up from his mom’s basement too. Oh shit! I just realized that n8tion had the bridge to starship Enterprise all to himself. Niiiice. Global Grind’s BlogXilla came through and reminded me that we have politicked previously. I am gonna stop puffing because I can’t remember a damn thing. The dudes from ItsThe Real, Eric and Jeff, also showed up. I didn’t see Hoffa from OnSmash but I left the session at 3am and that is usually when Hof appears.
The tracks they played for us were all good and their intensity picked up with the replays. Everything you thought they would be doing on the mic like Crooked spitting his crack verses, Joell Ortiz bringing his energy, Royce providing the structural stability to songs and Budden throwing lyrical shots at your favorite rapper is all in there. SlaughterHouse only previewed seven(7) tracks to us and then we got a cameo from the legendary super-producer Showbiz who brought some HEAT! I’m gonna say this shit right here so it goes on the record. The best music from Dr. Dre comes from when he is digging in the crates.
One of the criticisms that has dogged SlaughterHouse would be their ability to craft songs. I still don’t understand where this comes from though. Maybe it is the perception from fans that these emcees are only freestyle caliber rappers. That is far from the truth though. On the tracks that SlaughterHouse previewed they all showed that they have some incredible range as far as content and concepts. Wait until you hear this track called ‘Cuckoo’. There was also this emo rap joint that I want to say was called ‘Rain Tears’ or some shit like that. When SlaughterHouse pours out their heart like they did with ‘Move On’ you can’t help but be riveted to the music. These emcees are all fans of Hip-Hop before anything else. Don’t get it twisted by wheat you may have heard. If there was a RAP SAT these dudes would be in the top 5 percentile.
If you weren’t fuxing with the SlaughterHouse collective after the joints they have already released then you aren’t a fan of Hip-Hop. You might listen to rap, but you aren’t a fan of Hip-Hop music. Rap groups are the essence of Hip-Hop culture. Just like writer and breaker crews. The fact that SlaughterHouse finds themselves unified from points all over the counter is some Black superhero shit.