Composed of Long Beach's Crooked I, Detroit's Royce da 5'9", Jersey City's Joe Budden and Brooklyn's Joell Ortiz, the members of underground hip-hop supergroup Slaughterhouse certainly have their share of major label heartache over the years. So while combining these egos may seem a bit odd on paper, their collaboration pays grand and immediate dividends.
Recorded almost entirely in a six-day period earlier this summer, it features production from hip-hop notables — among them the Alchemist, StreetRunner and DJ Khalil, whose beats are uniformly urgent if varied in style and influence: first single "The One" has a funk-rock hook, "Salute" features an acid-rock guitar line and "Not Tonight" is a contagious, disco-bumping dance track.
Despite the inventive and diverse production the album's main focus is on lyrics; these acclaimed rhyme-spitters try and one-up each other on nearly every song. "I'm a kamikaze pilot/ I stay fly till I die," raps Crooked I; "I ain't shabby with the nouns/ I ain't shitty with the verbs/ When I reach heaven I want the nigga Biggie to be like 'Word!'," raps Ortiz; "Got the key to my city/ How the fuck you think you got locked in?" says Budden; "When I bless a joint/ It's like Spock came up in the spot and grabbed the beat by the pressure point," raps Royce. As is typical of these types of projects, the album runs long, since each emcee is on almost every track. Nonetheless, its depth and substance make it a lyrical feast for fans of underground hip-hop.