Then there are groups that do things the other way around: take a bunch of artists with solo deals (and perhaps growing/fading fanbases) and put them together and hope to capitalize on the sales. See: Boys N Da Hood. It's something that's happened through the ages with varying degrees of success. Looking at the four members that comprise Slaughterhouse, it's a sure sign of a recession economy. All four of these MCs are absolute terrors on the mike and each dominate their hometown scenes, but have yet to really blow up outside their baliwicks.
Let's break down the four men that comprise the Slaughterhouse: Joell Ortiz is the reason for me checking in on the Slaughterhouse in the first place. I can't say enough good things about Joell. The Aftermath contract buzz has been good for him, but he needs to get something out there for the mainstream kids to grab on to and this just might be the arena for him. Joe Budden I was never all that familiar with. I knew that people were all on his dick like they were new jacks like Papoose and was vaguely aware of his Saigon beef. There was some female (and maybe jail?) drama and his running the normal Def Jam contract/release schedule limbo gauntlet to keep him on the radar, but before the early Slaughterhouse singles I never gave him a lot of credit. Crooked I was in the same boat. I knew about the Death Row thing and his weekly freestyles for hiphopgame, but never really heard it. Royce The 5'9" is the elder statesman of the franchise, a guy who was the King of the Midwest before one Marshall Mathers blew it up, but never was able to capitalize on the post-Em shine. All of these guys can rhyme, but are they really going to work as a group?
I'd say no, but I'm a cynical bastard. While we wait for the actual record release, it might do us well to check out some of the members previous and solo work. Cue Slaughterhouse: The Mix Tape.
1. Wack MCs
3.Bout My Money (Joell Ortiz)
4.Blood On The Wall (Joe Budden)
5.If You Ever Hear Me (Crooked I)
6.Part Of Me (Royce Da 5'9)
8.Memories (Joell Ortiz)
9.Pain In His Life (Joe Budden)
10.Shake This (Royce Da 5'9)
11.Crooked Go Hard (Crooked I)
13.Covering The Classics Pt. 1 (Joell Ortiz)
14.Hottest In Da Hood (Joe Budden)
15.3 Bitches (Crooked I featuring Knoc-Turnal)
17.Crack A Brooklyn Bottle (Joell Ortiz)
18.Go To Hell (Joe Budden)
19.Too Soon (Joell Ortiz)
20.I'm The Shit Fool (Royce Da 5'9)
For me, it's great that there are mad Joell joints here. None of the tracks do anything to dispel the notion that Ortiz is anything but a rhyme titan. Check out the old-school tribute Covering The Classics to hear Ortiz kill Pete Rock and Eric(k)s Sermon and B beats. As for the reason why we're here, the full-on Slaughterhouse tracks are decent, especially Move On. None of the solo tracks are out and out terrible, but there are a couple contenders: I can't say I'm dying to hear narrative rap stuff like Royce's Part Of Me (wherein a man's cock is stolen by shady female organ thieves, really!) again, but it's obvious that all the parties involved are MCs rather than mere rappers. Whatever the motivation, that's a refreshing change of pace. You can get Slaughterhouse - The Mix Tape for free with a little bit of internet investigating. I don't think it's official, but it's a nice taste of what might be coming down the pike. I'll believe the record when I see it, though.