“2.0 Boys” – Eminem x Slaughterhouse x Yelawolf
Well, this is the moment that was supposed to come of Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf’s union with Shady, right?
I suppose. While I’m feeling the record for the most part, it feels like it falls squarely in the Em/Slaughterhouse wheelhouse production-wise (it would sound right at home on Em’s last LP and seems like a glossier version of the sort of beats that appeared on Slaughterhouse’s LP). Yelawolf doesn’t sound bad, but he feels like an uncomfortable add-on–“well, we’ve got Yelawolf…he’s on the XXL cover…and we have to make a record with everyone…so here it is…here, Yela, take the last verse!”
Again, it’s not that Yela sounds bad (in fact next to a bunch of fairly traditional rappers he comes off sounding refreshing, close to genuine energy and innovation of his best records). The individual performances are strong, too (Joell’s flow is jam packed with dense punchlines and Eminem sounds rejuvenated which is to say far more tolerable than he has been recently, as if he’s aware that his lunch is in danger of getting snatched up on this one), but the whole thing just doesn’t pop. It doesn’t feel like a comfortable posse cut or a super group mega event. For lack of a better way to explain it, it’s just sort of there, a spectrum of rapping titans–a mainstream legend, a few mainstream also-rans turned indie heroes, and (oddly) the bridge, a white Alabaman with pop appeal and a bit too much DF in his roots to ever find himself floating face down in the mainstream (I hope)–that never explodes with the energy that, say, “You Ain’t No DJ” did. It sizzles, it’s functional, that’s for certain.
It just doesn’t burn and that’s a shame. At least a wider world might go ahead and download Yela’s Stereo now.