Welcome To: Our House’ Wows
Miko Malabute | Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The hip-hop supergroup Slaughterhouse boasts its bravado once again on its solid sophomore effort, “Welcome To: Our House.” With three years of experience and chemistry between members Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden and Royce Da 5’9″, the Fantastic Four of hip-hop flexed their lyrical muscles once more over their major label debut.
The album opens with a skit, aptly titled “The Slaughter,” which – without getting into the less than civil aspects of the skit – really showcases the agenda of the hip-hop collective: to assert themselves in their own arena (read as “their house”) in an unfiltered manner, expressing themselves as they see fit, and within their own comfort zones.
And their comfort zones are wide and diverse. The versatile project has the ability to appeal to a wide audience, and emits all sorts of auras across the emotional spectrum. The spacey, distant whines mixed with the rhythmic drums in the first single “Hammer Dance” evoke a dark party scene, while the grandiose booms and Cee Lo Green’s triumphant voice in “My Life” capture the rock star ecstasy feeling. The hypnotic, cool chants in “Flip A Bird” inspire a very mellow, yet simultaneously determined, ambiance that progresses with the song.
Perhaps the most perplexing and unsolvable question surrounding this group is the identity of the group’s leader. The Jackson 5 had Michael Jackson, NSYNC had Justin Timberlake and G-Unit had 50 Cent, but who exactly is the “lead” for Slaughterhouse? But the beauty of the group lies in its enigma – there is no unquestioned leader. Each of the four members shine in their own right in different songs, supporting the increasing argument that Slaughterhouse has become the best pound-for-pound rap supergroup of all time. Their collective lyrical capability showcases the strength of each of the individuals, where any member could essentially take over on any given song. Joe Budden honestly and compassionately paints a picture when he says “God intervened, guess more was at stake / Thought nothing was left over, He put more on the plate” in the sentimental track “Goodbye,” but then Crooked I brings some bravado in “Park It Sideways” with the lines “Like A.I. I cross over when I’m near a mic / I stay fly even though I got a fear of heights.” Simple, abstract quotes taken out of context cannot do these men justice, though, for they truly tell stories in their craft. The message is sometimes funny, sometimes bitter and sometimes somber, but always vivid, heartfelt and genuine.
Slaughterhouse’s “Welcome To: Our House” truly showcases the supergroup’s mastery of their crafts. Almost-tangible senses of hunger and robustness, mixed with plain honesty, make for a special project, and – among high expectations for a major label debut under none other than Eminem’s Shady Records – the sophomore effort does not fail to impress. Because the stories each of these men tells are so deep and intricate, it might take a few listens to truly begin to understand where they are coming from. You might want to make yourself at home.