Review by Nolan P. Smith-Pastrami Nation
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Record Label: Shady Records/Aftermath/Interscope
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap
Parental Advisory-Strong Lyrical Content
This past week saw the release of one of the most anticipated albums in recent memory: Slaughterhouse’s Welcome To: Our House. The rap super-group composed of Crooked I, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Royce Da 5’9 signed to Shady/Aftermath after impressing with their collective greatness: this album marks their first full length album on Eminem’s label. The hype surrounding the project, including the delays that pushed the album back from an early to late summer release has been growing by the minute. So, has rap’s new fantastic four served an album that wins over critics, or are their styles just too different to mesh for a full album?
The Good: When dissecting the 16-track major label debut, I should note that I am reviewing the deluxe edition, which includes four bonus tracks that are all worth the extra money. So, what’s good about this outing? Just about everything. From the second track on the album, the Alex Da Kid produced “Our House” which features Marshall Mathers himself; you get the feeling that you are in for a touch of greatness. With Eminem’s opening bars, “I want to be the best who ever did it/ I don’t know it that goal’s feasible or it isn’t/ but if it is, then God if you’re listening/ please grant me the strength to crush all competition”, that pretty much sums up the vibe of the album. This is the time for Budden, Ortiz, Royce and Crooked I to shine, to show and prove, and they do so with ease.
There are some more mainstream sounding songs; like the Cee Lo Green hooked “My Life” and the Korn infused “Hammer Dance”, but even these shine in their own right. Yet, when you think of what are the best tracks here, then I would include the aforementioned, brooding “Our House”, the melodic “Part It Sideways”, and a deluxe edition only track, “Asylum”. Best track, for me, goes to “Goodbye”, which is a somber revisit to the hardest moments in the group’s lives. From losing unborn twins to losing a role model uncle and a supportive grandmother, the emotions literally drip out of the speakers, showing that this group has more substance to them than most of the rappers in the game today.
The Bad: I wouldn’t really say there are bad tracks here, but there are some that are nowhere near as strong as the rest of the album. Like “Coffin”, which features Busta Rhymes but misses the mark. “Flip a Bird” has some great, fast paced wordplay from the Slaughterhouse roster, but the voice on the hook and randomly thrown in the song really detracts from what otherwise is a strong track. The Swizz Beatz featured “Throw it Away” should have, well, been thrown away. That’s it; those are the only weak points to a juggernaut of an album.
The Verdict: Despite a few missteps, this Shady Records debut is one of the strongest albums I have heard all year. The rap game has changed in recent years, as I am sure many have noticed. The hardcore lyricists like those that brought the rap genre to prominence in the 90’s are hard to find these days, and pretty much MIA on the radio. All the emcees from Slaughterhouse have went out on their own and shown that they are the real deal. Combined, they show they are a literal force of nature, with no intentions to back down to the radio friendly rap game we see today. Slaughterhouse has a lot to be proud of here: because they just slaughtered all their critics and showed how a real rap album comes together. Highly Recommended, I give Slaughterhouse- Welcome To: Our House a FIVE out of FIVE.