Yes, I have done extended analysis on a lot of urban releases, but hopefully I can spread the wealth to other genres considering I listen/review all different types of music. I finally finished listening to Slaughterhouse‘s Welcome To Our House and penned this lengthy, unfiltered analysis. As always, a shorter version will make its home on my amazon.com review page.
Slaughterhouse, Welcome To Our House
Slaughterhouse is a rap group comprised of Royce Da 5’9” (also a member of Bad Meets Evil as well as a solo artist),
Crooked I, Joe Budden, and Joel Ortiz. Signed on Eminem’s Shady label, Eminem serves he role of executive producer, as well as featured artist, songwriter, and producer throughout. Overall, Slaughterhouse’s major label outing is well crafted and thought out, though it never quite reaches a ‘valedictory’ level. It is by all means above par and even excellent at times, but given the hip-hop group setting, sometimes the rhymes of each MC fail to truly shine or feel memorable to the respective listener.
The album opens with the intro “The Slaughter,” which is produced by Eminem and features rap vocals by Marv Won. Mysterious, random, and dramatic, “The Slaughter” sets the tone for the effort as a whole. Chainsaw sound effects represent ‘the slaughter’ (creative, right?) while piano enters towards the end, foreshadowing the slower grooving “Our House.”
“Our House” features Eminem as well as frequent hip-hop collaborative go-to Skylar Grey. Produced by Alex Da Kid, Alex certainly conceives a great, lazy groove, not dissimilar to sound to Dr. Dre’s “I Need A Doctor,” which also featured Eminem and Skylar Grey. Da Kid’s drums are gargantuan in sound, easily buttressing this mysterious opening cut. Eminem sings one of two hooks, which truly propels “Our House”: “I wanna be the best who ever did it/Don’t know if that goal is feasible, or it isn’t/but if it is then God, if your listenin’/please give the strength to crush all the competition…”
After Em’s hook, Royce Da 5’9” handles the first verse in convincing fashion. Grey then follows with her own significant moment in her hook: “So welcome, to our house/where no one, comes back out/ you won’t find, comfort/in here, in here, in here.” Joell Ortiz takes the reins on verse two, followed by both Grey’s and Eminem’s hooks. Joel Budden doesn’t get a verse, but does garner an interlude, followed by Crooked I on verse 3. Crooked I’s verse segues into a verse by Eminem, which is then proceeded by Grey’s haunting hook. While the cut just misses the six minute mark, it is epic, well structured, and a savvy opener by all means.
“Coffin” features Busta Rhymes on the hook: “Y’all know what it is, cause we do it often/caught another body, by another coffin…” Produced by Hit-Boy and co-produced by Eminem, the production is superb, particularly the drum programming. The cut, however, is a bit clunky and easily a drop-off from the juggernaut “Our House.” The order of the four verses are Budden, Ortiz, Crooked I, and Royce. Solid enough, “Coffin” is not the elite of Welcome To Our House.
“Throw That,” featuring Eminem, ‘threw’ me for a loop when I first heard it (no pun intended, I promise!). I wasn’t sold on the T-Minus/Eminem produced cut until after a couple of solid listens. After listening multiple times, the magic unveiled itself. “Throw That” contains elements from two songs: “Throw the D” (2 Live Crew) and “It Takes Two.” Eminem rips through the hook: “She strips to get tips/those lips and those childbearing hips/I’ll throw this, I’ll throw this d**k on you girl…” Yep, it goes ‘south’ pretty quickly – no pun intended of course. Royce Da 5’9 handles the first verse, followed by Crooked I, Budden, and Ortiz on respective verses. Throw in a bridge (“She’s got it/Oh she got all the homies in here excited/Oh I don’t really know how to describe it…”) and Slaughterhouse has another superb track.
“Hammer Dance” was an early single, and initially it didn’t wow – definitely not as much as either “Throw It Away” or
“Throw That.” However, it is more appealing here than as a promo issue. “Hammer Dance” features elements of the song “Falling Away From Me.” Royce anchors the solid cut down with his hook: “I’m in the club, bottle in my hand doing my two step/while I got my gun in my pants, call it the hammer dance…” The remaining member of Slaughterhouse handle the verses (Ortiz, Crooked I, and Budden). Second tier against the best cuts.
“Get Up,” produced by NO I.D features the sample “Ali In the Jungle” as performed by the Hours. Given No. I.D.’s credit as a producer, the sound is old-school in quality. The biggest drawback of “Get Up” is its five minute duration. It easily eclipses The Cee Lo Green assisted “My Life,” which feels ever so slightly generic. Produced by STREETRUNNERS, the sound of the production is a highlight. The cut ‘embodies’ portions of “Rhythm of the Night” as performed by Corona. Perhaps it is Cee-Lo’s overt, somewhat brash hook that is a bit off-putting: “This is my motherf*cking life…” Cee Lo’s bridge runs by, taking away from his usual soulfulness: “Every time that they play this/put your hands up high if/you’re happpy you made it/it’s bittersweet when I say it/but since I’m alive,
might as well celebrate…” All members of Slaughterhouse rap here, but none of the verses necessarily ‘stand out’ as the second coming.
“We Did It (Skit)” precedes the captivating “Flip A Bird,” which contains a sample from “Little Bird” written and performed by Imogen Heap. The hook is certainly enjoyable and catchy: “In the kitchen (putting work)/on the scale, flip a bird, flip a bird, flip a bird…in the kitchen.” Again, all members of Slaughterhouse receive a verse, with the order being Royce, Joe Budden, Crooked I, and Joel Ortiz. Crooked I gets a lyrical highlight: “Let me get it now/on Twitter, they murder my mentions, cause they heard I was served by a circle of henchmen…” Alright then.
“Throw It Away” is arguably the best cut (it might duke it out with “Our House.”) Produced by Mr. Porter and featuring an energized Swizz Beatz, “Throw It Away” has hip-hop hit written all over it. All of the verses by Slaughterhouse are solid, but it just may be Swizz Beatz’s moments that steal the show: “You know I ain’t Bill Gates honey/but I’mma act like I ain’t never had money and throw it away… you know I ain’t Jay-Z honey/but I’mma act like I ain’t never had money…” Well produced and conceive, “Throw It Away” is the elite of the elite.
“Rescue Me” gives Skylar Grey another guest spot: “So can you rescue me/because my ship is sinking/and I’m drowing at sea/so can you rescue me, from me/can you rescue me?” This feature does not eclipse the showing in “Our House,” but it is solid. The rhymes aren’t individually noteworthy, but the track as a whole yields some solid moments.
“Frat House” is another B/B+ cut, featuring excellent production work by T-Minus, though not quite living up to the same hype lyrically. The hook is true to the connotation given to a frat house: “I got a house full of b**ches, n**gas, it is going down/I’mma hold my own, yeah/b**ches laying on the floor like it’s a crack house/welcome to the frat house/condoms, kegs, liquor, weed, pills/I’mma hold my own yeah…” Royce handles verse 1, Crooked I verse two (“LBC, we them beach boys/we don’t need your education/we Pink Floyd), while Joe Budden and Joell Ortiz duel on verse 4 (“…Bend over, take her to church now she in U-Mass…”)
“Goodbye,” produced by Boi-1da works as well as some of the best cuts, opting for piano as opposed to the rawer sounds exhibited in cuts like “Throw That,” Throw It Away” or “Frat House.” The hook is sung by Ming: “Goodbye, goodbye, so long, farewell/but it’s not the end of the chapter/goodbye, goodbye, so long, farewell/I’ll see you again in the afterlife…” Royce fails to appear on this cut, letting the other members hold down the five minute cut.
“Park It Sideways,” produced by Kane Beatz (and co-produced by J Mike and Ashanti Floyd and with additional production by Eminem), contains elements of the Delorean song “Real Love.” The hook is catchy (and explicit of course) and works well over the bright production. All four members have their say here, with the verses segued into pairs (Royce/Budden and Crooked I/Ortiz).
“Die,” produced by Mr. Porter gives Slaughterhouse another top-notch cut, particularly since it is near the end of the effort. Joell Ortiz sits out, but Joe Budden might our rap all of his contemporaries on his third verse: “…New bodies on old heaters/we ain’t rapped too tight/starving, they thought Jeffrey Dahmer had an appetite…” Oh and by the way, lets not forget that Slaughterhouse received a huge introduction by Sway that last :47. “Our Way (Outro)” closes the effort. It is not really notable unfortunately, making the top-rate “Die” seem the true closing cut.
Overall, Welcome To Our House is another solid rap album. Originally projected as a possible #1 debut on the Billboard 200, #2 looks more likely following TobyMac’s Eye On It. Regardless, the flaws here don’t take much away from the good thing that Em and Slaughterhouse have going on here. My top 3 favorites: (1) “Throw It Away,” featuring Swizz Beatz (2) “Our House,” featuring Eminem & Skylar Grey, (3) “Throw That,” featuring Eminem.