Joell Ortiz Talks Slaughterhouse Album, NFL Player Victor Cruz

Slaughterhouse’s Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden, Crooked I and Royce Da 5’9″ are ready to bring a championship caliber to Eminem’s Shady records. The group announced a 43-city Spring tour today (January 26) as well as the May 15 release date of their Shady debut, Welcome to Our House.

“We feel hip-hop is our house,” Joell explained to XXLMag.com about the title. “We feel like we’re four of the dopest MCs on the planet and after this album comes out, we feel everybody is gonna have to deal with it. You gonna have to deal with the fact that you might be listening to some dudes you can’t be better than. That’s the attitude we wanna have. When Ray Lewis and the Baltimore defense go out there, they say, ‘You ain’t scoring. That’s it.’ Nobody looks at them as cocky or crazy.  But they just leave it on the field. We left it on this album. Y’all gonna love this album if you’re a fan of hip-hop and lyrics.”

What’s there to love about it? Plenty, according to Ortiz.

“We broadened the spectrum,” he said. “We got records that are radio-friendly without selling out. We never compromise our art to point records in the direction. But working under Eminem, he showed us a lot of ways how to balance that skill with the music and the choruses to go somewhere else. We’re really excited about this album.  We just welcome y’all to our house.”

Besides Eminem, Denaun Porter produced on the album as well as a some other “surprises.”

Joell says now that he’s just a few months from releasing the long-anticipated album, he feels like his friend and neighbor, New York Giant Pro-Bowl Wide Receiver Victor Cruz, who plays in his first Super Bowl on February 5, helped him realize how amazing it is to finally be at this point in his career.

“I spoke to Victor Cruz last night,” Joell said with a chuckle. “He’s a homie, Puerto Rican dude around the way. He said, ‘Joell, it still ain’t hit me.’ Then he called me later today like, ‘I’m going to the Super Bowl, son!’ That’s what you wait on. You wait on your release date, you want the album to be done. Sometimes it takes a while for you to be like, ‘Oh shit. I’m coming out on Shady!’

“So this is our Super Bowl,” he continued. “I just pray in between there, that everything stays good. My family stays healthy and everybody that I love gets to see it. The hip-hop fans get to come out and check us on tour. I just want to be a big group, man.” —Shaheem Reid