Slaughterhouse – Welcome to: Our House Review
1. The Slaughter (Intro)
2. Our House feat. Eminem & Skylar Grey
3. Coffin feat. Busta Rhymes
4. Throw That feat. Eminem
5. Hammer Dance
6. Get Up
7. My Life feat. Cee-Lo Green
8. We Did It (Skit)
9. Flip A Bird
10. Throw It Away feat. Swizz Beatz
11. Rescue Me feat. Skylar Grey
12. Frat House
14. Park It Sideways
16. Our Way (Outro)
17. Asylum feat. Eminem
18. Walk Of Shame
19. The Other Side
20. Place To Be feat. B.O.B
In 2008, four men who could only be considered as floundering decided to team up and take on the hip hop world headfirst. Crooked I, Joe Budden, and Joell Ortiz have long since been names that we recognize from…”that one song,” never really putting a permanent stamp on the hip hop game. Sure, we’ve heard them before, and hip hop heads will claims to have known all of them, but in the grand scheme of things, they’ve been just under the radar. The same can be said for Royce Da 5’9” who didn’t see a resurgence in his career until recently, after reconciling with Eminem and putting out his own album, as well as a collaboration album that was on my Top Ten list of 2012. These four men would soon be known as Slaughterhouse and with a mixtape and a debut album that didn’t exactly shock the world, even if it was highlighted for its lyricism. Soon, Shady Records took interest and signed the group. A promised album was in the works, and although it hit a minor snag, pushing the release date back a bit, it is finally here in all its glory. Does it live up to the hype that it has built up, or does it fall flat in its attempts to be different?
The album starts with an intro that could only be deemed as a welcome to the macabre. Shortly after, the track “Our House” sets the tone and the mood for a majority of the album. The first thing you notice is the severe amount of double and triple entendres, puns, in-verse rhymes and heavy metaphors that don’t ever once feel bashed over your head or forced. It’s a testament to all four of their skills, and although some are noticeably stronger than the others, none of them ever reach Lil Wayne territory of metaphors that don’t make any sense. Easily, this album is top notch lyrically. Each man gets his time to shine, allowing each other to share their time one the album. Some tracks only have three of the four, others all of them. It’s a nice way to assure that each man gets their just due during the entirety of the album.
With 20 tracks on the album (the Deluxe version), it does get a bit overbearing, as the songs come at you with a lot of energy. This isn’t always an issue, but there are times when the production gets a bit hammer heavy, becoming more annoying than anything. Eminem has never been the best producer, but there is a noticeable excess of creativity and complexity on some of the beats. Although lyrics that are layered and multi-faceted, not all beats need to share the same dexterity. Songs like “Throw It Away,” “Walk of Shame” or even the first song, “Our House” could have lost a layer of snare or drums and been just as effective.
Another issue of the album is small, but noticeable. There are times when it seems they are attempting to recreate the psycho feel of D-12, with outrageous lyrics and content. It never gets too overbearing, but there are times when you feel the next person on the track is going to be Bizarre. Still, this is saved by the fact that their lyricism is just too good to allow any one song to be brought down to the low levels that D-12 would hit every now and then.
Not every track is like that, as there are far stronger songs on the album that not only display talent in the lyrical standpoint, but some great storytelling and even one standout track that tugs on the heartstrings of the listeners. In a song that has abortion and a friend dying, it’s amazing how Crooked I is able to effect a listener way more strongly with an ode to his uncle. Crooked I is seriously the stand out artist on the album, personally as he raps like he’s got something to prove yet also seems as if he belongs behind the mic.
Even with the production issues, and the couple of attempts where it hits juvenile territory and pop fodder, there is no doubt that these four men are at the top of their particular niche; and that niche is something that has been long since dead in mainstream hip hop. The return to the focus of lyrics – regardless of content – is something I haven’t seen done this well since Eminem and Royce’s EP. The sheer ability that all four men possess is not something that can be duplicated, nor should it be attempted. Even when content is lacking, the lyrics bring about something that could be studied in high school for poetic devices, such as Crooked I’s:
To this game I’m addicted and fiendish, I’m predicted to bring this
G shit to its pinnacle zenith, lyrical genius
So sick with ridiculous English, niggas get squeamish
When they hear this criminal linguist
Aside from this, their cleverness is top notch, with lines like “I’m as high as a baby on a see-saw with Precious,” or “So I ain’t trying to play with you, this chainsaw crack jokes/On Cain’s brother brah, disable you.” There are these and countless more that will have you chuckling the entire time you’re listening, and that’s really the highlight of the album. There’s hardly a time when you’re not gleaming off of the sheer beauty of the words, the way they are presented, and the harsh manipulation of the English language that not once feels forced.
This album will not be album of the year, and there will be many people that will claim it lacks “bangers,” but those people just aren’t listening. This album has its flaws, but they are small enough to be eradicated by the raw ability of these four men. The album is a standout, and a breath of fresh air in a stagnant hip hop game.
The 411: Slaughterhouse set out to produce an album that was lyrical first and entertaining a close second. They largely succeeded, in my opinion. With lyrics that require a second and third listen, and song structure that screams complexity, it's an album that is worthy of high praise. No, not even the audacious-at-times production could hurt it.
|Final Score: 8.8 [ Very Good ] legend|