This is not a Slaughterhouse fan post. This is also not a full collection of thoughts, more a reaction to Slaughterhouse and their debut album. The idea of Slaughterhouse never got my blood pumping. I can’t recall giving more than a passing thought to Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, or Crooked I. At one point I was a pretty big Royce da 5’9″ fan, but a lot of his releases have been torpedoed by the Nas Syndrome (dope rapper chooses beats below his talent level, creates tinny, shitty album). To be honest, I don’t even like the new Slaughterhouse LP. The production is stale, the rapping is technically dope and usually very clever, but nothing particularly innovative–it’s certainly not the panacea to cure rap’s woes, but, in its own way, it’s a start. I appreciate what Slaughterhouse is, what they represent, and what they’re doing.
For the uninitiated, Slaughterhouse is a “super group” comprised of the aforementioned four rappers. As far as super groups go, Slaughterhouse is somewhere between those two guys who did the duet for the first Spiderman movie and Audioslave on the super-scale. I think it’s safe to say that the individual members true super group must have significant public cache for the entire group to be relevant and for the term “super” to be justly earned–see the Wu Tang Clan, the Firm, the Dungeon Family. Slaughterhouse has more in common with the Army of the Pharoahs or the Boot Camp Clik–groups adored by underground fans for their true school leanings, hardcore beats and rhymes. So, following in the tradition of AOTP and BCC, Slaughterhouse is an underground super group, dedicated to dope, pure rapping. Or I thought they were, more on this after the break.
So, yes, in trying to provide the dopest pure rapping possible they’ve succeeded. But wait! What’s this? Slaughterhouse’s success has manifested itself commercially as well? They’re in the iTunes top 10? I’m not sure if it’s due to radio plays or internet presence, but, indeed, Slaughterhouse’s eponymous debut album has hovered in the iTunes top 10 since its release on August 11th, jumping as high as #4. This is no small feat for a group of rappers whose careers have not exactly been littered with commercial success (save Joe Budden’s hit “Pump It Up,” one of the greatest misrepresentations of a rapper’s true style and persona to ever hit airwaves). The positive public reception to Slaughterhouse’s LP proves–in very small part–that one need not necessarily follow the trends of the current rap market to find an audience and gain notoriety. It also seems that Slaughterhouse proves that appealing to a very specific segment of Hip Hop fans can lead to large scale success (though if you ask Tech N9ne, he’s been proving this for years). Perhaps Slaughterhouse’s rise has tapped into a particular cultural moment, the anti-autotune era, if you will. I can only hope that more artists will follow Slaughterhouse’s formula of attempting to buck current trends and find success for doing so. Though I’m largely ambivalent towards autotune (there is some merit to it and technology of its ilk, see Zapp for proof of this), it’s certainly nice to see a group getting back to good old-fashioned rappity rap and finding success for it.