While this supergroup represents three different geographical flavors of hip-hop -- Joe Budden and Joel Ortiz both from the East, Crooked I from the West, and Royce Da 5'9" coming out of Detroit -- their self-titled debut Slaughterhouse brings to mind the fiercest offerings from the N.Y.C. groups Mobb Deep and M.O.P. The album is tough, cold, and relentless to the point that you could call it limited, but unlike the aforementioned duos who act as traditional crews do, Slaughterhouse present their lyrics in a roundtable fashion. These four veteran voices trade lines with old-school open mic hunger, performing in a get-in-get out-and-prove style that comes from years of being underappreciated and mistreated. This means shock value is the thing with "Lyrical Murderers" offering both "Most rappers are comedy gold/They like their boyfriend's sodomy hole" and "I'm ridin' with my daughter in the front/With the AK in the baby's seat." Notice that another boasting track called "Microphone" follows and the redundancy becomes clear, but you wouldn't fault Devin the Dude for putting two weed songs in a row. Slaughterhouse deserve the same forgiveness when it comes to declaring war on the industry, and even if "Cuckoo" shouts "I don't need a hook for this one", tracks like the Bacardi-swingin' "Not Tonight" or the guitar rockin' "The One" show they can create radio worthy monsters without the major-label sellout. Well-chosen guests like Fatman Scoop and Pharoahe Monch increase the thug appeal while earthshaking productions from the Alchemist, DJ Khalil, and Mr. Porter seal the deal.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
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