Rap group slaughters expectations

By Jessica Cabe

Anyone paying attention to trends in hip-hop will tell you the days of rap supergroups are no more.

Someone forgot to tell Slaughterhouse, the fierce foursome which recently signed to Interscope/Shady Records.

The group, made up of Royce da 5’9”, Crooked I, Joe Budden and Joell Oritz, released their second full-length album, Welcome to: Our House, Tuesday.

The album opens with “The Slaughter,” a creepy introduction that leads into “Our House” (featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey). Eminem starts out slow and soft with a minor melody reminiscent of that in “Fast Lane” from Bad Meets Evil’s Hell: The Sequel. Skylar Grey contributes one of her signature dreamy, melodramatic choruses in the vein of “I Need a Doctor.” Royce da 5’9” and Crooked I bring the most impressive lyrics and flow to this track.

“Coffin” (featuring Busta Rhymes) has one of the catchiest hooks on the album. The track is more about wordplay than poetry, more about flow than lyics. Royce da 5’9” playfully throws in a shout-out to Eminem’s mentor: “Listening to a free beat by Dr. Dre, in some free Beats by Dr. Dre.”

Other standouts include “Get Up,” which features one of the only times Joe Budden delivers the most impressive verse, “Throw it Away,” (featuring Swizz Beatz), which boasts a beat so sick nobody could resist dancing a little bit, and “Rescue Me” (featuring Skylar Grey), which contains some of the most personal lyrics on the album (Crooked I confesses: “It hurts when I’m thinking, me versus my personal demons/I’m reaching for my nine/If I point it at myself will it help to quiet the demons screaming in my mind?”).

Not all the tracks are strong, however. “Throw That” (featuring Eminem) is your run-of-the-mill, completely expendable, sexually explicit track. “My Life” (featuring CeeLo Green) is an overproduced commercial track better suited to Nicki Minaj. Nicki has her place, but her sound belongs nowhere near Slaughterhouse.

Because the standard edition of the album consists of 16 tracks and clocks in at over an hour, Slaughterhouse’s major label debut could have been stronger with a little trimming.

In addition to the filler, Budden and Oritz don’t always live up to the standards set by Royce and Crooked I. Each rapper has his moments, but Royce in particular outshines them all, and I was actually tempted to just stop Welcome to: Our House and listen to Bad Meets Evil instead. Eminem and Royce are on the same level, and their chemistry is obvious.

Slaughterhouse put out a valiant effort that could have benefited from a little bit of editing and stronger chemistry among the members.