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Slaughterhouse, welcome to: OUR HOUSE

Slaughterhouse is in a position that most—including the four members themselves—probably never thought they’d be: on the cusp of mainstream success. Such potential seemed unlikely three years ago; not for a lack of skill from Crooked I, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Royce Da 5’9”, but, rather, for their uncompromising dedication to extreme verbal pursuits—bars so intricate and loaded that their records seemed diametrically opposed to radio accessibility. Their 2009 self-titled debut (eOne) met minimal commercial success, but their mic aptitude earned them a deal with Shady Records two years later. Now, under the guidance of Eminem, Slaughterhouse look to strike the perfect balance.

Welcome to: OUR HOUSE fluctuates between the raw and the colorful, yet the essence of these MCs never wavers. “What is an MC? An MC is a soldier who never backs down from any challenge, from any cypher,” Crooked I professes on the project’s intro. From there, the group begins to toe the line, as Alex Da Kid’s pulsating synths and a chorus from Skylar Grey pace “Our House,” on which the four-headed monster and Em kick dazzling bars about their individual come-ups and connections to the culture. “I’m disgusted as a fan,” Joell raps. “Fuck swag and your kicks from south Japan”; “In my house, it’s rap or die,” Crook states matter-of-factly.

The album’s production credits further indicates a rise away from the underground, as Hit-Boy, T-Minus, No I.D., Boi-1da and Kane Beatz sustain the sonic set, though not always as fluidly as the Alex Da Kid collab. The T-Minus-produced “Frat House” is a predictable adolescent indulgence, barely salvaged by Budden and Ortiz’s witty back-and-forth; the Kane-crafted “Park It Sideways” echoes the beatmaker’s work on Lupe Fiasco’s “Show Goes On”; and the Hit-Boy-helmed “Coffin,” is the uninspired relative of 2009’s “Lyrical Murderers.”

The Cee Lo–assisted single “My Life” is a representation of the album’s broader pursuit and offers a wider sound without sacrificing an ounce of lyricism. Yet the strongest moment arrives on “Goodbye,” a chilling tale where each member opens up about loss (Budden’s unborn twins, Crooked I’s uncle, Joell’s grandmother) over Boi-1da’s rising drums and light keys. It’s cuts like this, “Rescue Me” and “Our Way (Outro)” that bring the efforts of the album in concert best, allowing intimate and masterful lyrics to gel naturally with the high-profile production.

There’s rarely a weak bar on welcome to: OUR HOUSE, though the verbal dexterity isn’t quite as stunning as it was on their debut. Still, as a crew, the complementary elements continue to work in unison, and they’ve created an album that, at its peak, reinforces that big beats and honest, untamed lyrics are not mutually exclusive. —Adam Fleischer (@AdamXXL)

  • wat

    Good review. I agree with it all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Robertfaceyddriver Robert Facey-musicproducer

    Park it Sideways Smiling Big up Slaughterhouse !!! Breathe back Life into Hip Hop , i dont really like hip hop, any questions i know the hammer dance! Blessings from Jamrock

  • Live From Hurricane Issac

    Im as big Slaughterhouse fan as anybody. I love all the Mc’s and I thought there first release was a classic in my opinion. I can’t help to feel let down on this. They went away from there sound. Like you said if they trying to go mainstream they do a good job, but I didn’t expect them to do that. And it’s starting to become a trend with Shady/Aftermath albums and that’s not good. Hopefully Kendrick holds it down. I’d give this album a L. I think y’all getting to comfortable (been comfortable for along time) with these XL’s XXL.

    • MeRph1

      Took the words out of my mouth. For real slaughter fans this is extremely disappointing. Sad time for hip hop.

  • rider2399

    the album isn’t bad but it was a slight disappointment… the raw lyricism just isn’t as present, its there but covered by awful hooks and terrible beats, they should have just done their thing as usual instead of trying to reach a broader audience…. still worthy of an XL but had they stuck to their roots it would’ve been a XXL easily its a damn shame

  • NAPTOWNNUISANCE

    Yeah I had a feeling it would be a some what watered down version, but Im a big fan of them and I still will pick it up. This album Im sure is heads and shoulders above all the other garbage dominating the radio. I watched sucker free countdown the other night ( they need to remove the word free out of the title) I watched the top 5 songs and shook my head and said damn this is what is hot right now? All garbage . Hip Hop needs a revolution its dead as fuck in my eyes, it just aint the same. Its like bein wack is the new thing and lyrics aint cool any more.

  • Eagle

    “Park It Sideways” echoes the beatmaker’s work on Lupe Fiasco’s “Show Goes On”
    goddamn, same fuckin horns (sound and pattern). smfh

    • d

      that’s modest mouse.

  • bpod

    defenitely should have been XXL!

  • http://twitter.com/AnteK101 Swaggnificent

    If Slaughterhouse can’t get an XXL for lyrics then who the hell can?

    • Luis Gutierrez

      Horseshoe gang

  • Joerich

    I thought it was great, perfect mix of polished beats and lyricism. The only real problem I had was the Throw it Away song…Swizz Beats is probably the most overrated producer of all time, there were at least 5 songs on the mixtape that would’ve been more fit for the album than that hot mess. Still would’ve give them XL for beats and XXL for lyrics and originality.

    • will

      swizz didn’t produce it, he’s just on the hook

  • Serious ii

    Have mixed feelings about this album. One thing I don’t understand is, if they have a major label backing them, where are the beats from Primo, Dre, Kanye, Alchemist? I know they are trying to reach a broader audience, but don’t sacrafice some of your present audience to do so….

  • Veezy

    I’m sorry, but this album was fucking horrible. I don’t listen to Hip Hop to hear comedians rhymes. I’m so sick of these dudes forcing corny punchlines and getting a pass because “it’s suppose to be funny”. They sold out on this album. The majority of the production is poppy bullshit. The lyrics are full of cornball punchlines, and the songwriting is weak. Biggest disappointment of the year by far.

    • tfyouon

      Well you are obviously very hard to please. The majority of the album is poppy? I can see how park it sideways and my life are some “poppy” songs but really? Goodbye is poppy? Coffin is poppy? But I can totally understand how you think the songwriting is weak. These guys need to take some lessons from Soulja, lil b, and 2 chainz right?

  • 2012Industry1

    MC’s are on it ad very polished! Production had a very dark undetone that only works for early Eminem albums. Loved the artists, the production was ..Meh…

  • Alobid

    I thought it was pretty good, dope bars and production.

  • Lauthadarkman

    Big Shady/Slaughterhouse fan from day one….since Em’s underground joints before he was signed…..since Crookeds Death Row days and Royce’s collabs/beef with D12….first off….what makes Slaughterhouse so great was their raw passion to go in on beats and try to outdo tha other emcee that spit before them on a verse….I agree with alot of tha comments saying tha album was garbage and they sold out/dumbed down for a different audience because its all totally tru….this album was ruined by terrible hooks and shit production….you would think an album backed by a major label would have tried to put more into creating more of a backdrop for 4 of tha dopest emcees in tha game instead of trying to mold them into something they arent for commercial appeal!

  • andrewdavis1415

    If there was an L.5 dats wat I’d give this album. The production was good but could’ve better. They could’ve used producers that really bring the essence of hip-hop to their music like Dre, Premo etc. These producers werent bad but Slaughterhouse is lyrical so they need atleast some beats that just have that pure hip-hop feel. I also thought Eminem’s guest verses didnt really help the album. (I personally think Em has fallen off a bit ever since his great return with Recovery.) Their released singles also werent much to brag about but it was a good try…This album is worth the buy tho & definelty has some good tracks especially ‘Goodbye’. Dats a classic Slaughterhouse cut similar to ‘Move On’.#8/10

  • Truth

    I have to say this album has to be up there with album of the year. Really….its the best album I’ve heard all year! XXL! I rate it the album of the YEAR so far and that’s the truth. Slaughterhouse and Eminem actually did it. Just about every track is great and they tell an amazing STORY! Wow!

    • http://www.facebook.com/ernest.jackson.18 Ernest Jackson

      have you heard black belt theatre its just a good

  • M

    This album was wack …production was messy, the hooks were cheesy.

    • FUCK U

      sorry they are not a pop group go listen to shit like 2 chains you fuck

      • A-N

        he never said they were a pop group he just said the truth about the album

  • Garrett

    I liked some songs on this album, with Rescue Me being my favorite. I did not have high hopes for this album and thank goodness I didn’t. I had a strange feeling it was gonna be underwhelming. it wasnt a bad album by any means, but the rawness was lacking.

  • wtf

    rick ross and dj kaled get the same score for lyrics and originality as slaughterhouse??? xxl you have officially lost your fuckin minds

  • Technique

    Dope ass album front to back. PERIOD! Fuck you

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Kriese/679741033 Josh Kriese

    This album was terrible

  • A-N

    Hows this album been rated as good as the JJ Doom one seriously? This album was good but not as good as it couldve been. XXL are really been stupid with their ratings this was really only a L

  • RyanBritishSteelWhitelaw

    When will you people realize that there were of course going to be poppier beats on the album than on their UNDERGROUND first album. The fact that they can go in on pop beats but still maintain their elite lyricism should be good enough. Plus, you should also realize that since it is their first album on a MAINSTREAM label – the album had to have some form of a pop feel to introduce the group to a wider array of hip hop fans. Not just the underground ones. Eminem is one of the smartest rappers in the game, do you really think he’d let them release a pop-filled album if it wasn’t supposed to be that way? The second Shady album will have a lot more tighter beats and be more akin to their E1 album because they’ve already been introduced to that mainstream audience. Music is a business. This was a business move.

  • Mike

    THis was horrible!!! worst shit ever

  • chiefgreen

    crooked on hammerdance should have been the template for the rest. he made a mainstream verse while still spittin dope shit. rescue me and flip a bird got stuck in my head so i guess thats what they was going for. i just hope they eat there daily dose of dynamite when they start the second shady album. this could be the beginning to a horror movie people. i hope.

  • willh

    what do you want them to do? stay underground all there career they have to get mainstream. its a great album

  • J3rdI

    Crooked I and Joe on Die? Classic. Shady tried too hard to go after the mainstream on this though.