It all started when Royce Da 5’9″, Crooked I, Joe Budden, and Joell Ortiz came together for a song titled “Slaughterhouse” from Joe’s Halfway House LP. Little did we know then that this song would culminate with the collective becoming who we now know as Slaughterhouse. The move has done wonders for each artists’ individual career and their collaborative effort has them working with one of the biggest names in hip-hop in Eminem, who is coming off of a monster year himself.
The SH MC’s prides themselves on their unwillingness to compromise their lyrics or messages for chart position. As four of the most profound lyricists on the planet prepare their upcoming album Glasshouse, let’s take a look at the best moments from Slaughterhouse’s House Rules. Are these guys playing fair or not?—Majid Tejan-Jalloh
“House Rules (Intro)” (Verse 1) [Joell Ortiz]
We ain’t have to go soft to get this cake/
I watched niggas skate for figures/
Throw away Roller Blades for figure skates/
I’m just a rough New Yorker fucking bitches that only listen to Drake/
Every night’s a dinner date, hater get a plate
I mean, the Young Money references are prevalent here and I don’t think Joell was necessarily giving them props. We’ll let you call it.
“House Rules (Intro)” (Verse 2) [Crooked I]
Fuck it, one less nigga to split the pie up/
As long as I triumph, you fake fucks can dry hump
Crooked I is one of the slickest in the game when it comes to wordplay. He’s always been great with original concepts and finding new ways to use old ones. The “fake fuck” works perfectly with the “dry hump” reference. Nice.
“House Rules (Intro)” (Verse 3) [Royce Da 5’9]
We blowin’ our budget, we’ll battle you, fuck it/
Our attitude’s fuck it, that’s why the song about nothin’/
Slaughterhouse isn’t going be covered on E! any time soon. They’re just about as opposite as Hollywood can get. So much so that they will battle YOU. No really. Joe Budden will be battling Hollow Da Don at Eminem’s “Total Slaughter.”
“SayDatThen” (Verse 1) [Crooked I]
See, there wasn’t enough violence in “Menace II Society”/
To show you how Cali killers be chilling in society
Though many were made aware of life in California hoods by the popular movie, Crooked I assures us that it’s much worse. Don’t go there.
“SayDatThen” (Verse 2) [Joell Ortiz]
Bank account comma, but still get your undergarments from Target/
With a penthouse apartment, kinda nigga still ready to piss in the elevator/
And shake the doorman’s hand before you go jogging/
(Yaowa) I’m just a hood nigga, fuck it
Joell Ortiz paints a portrait of his character with these four bars. Yeah, he has money, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to spend it on unnecessary things. And yeah, he has a nice crib, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t remember the days where he used to take leaks in his small cribe and show love to the regular folk.
“SayDatThen” (Verse 3) [Royce da 5’9″]
Feeling that same feeling before I fucked my first bad bitch/
That I got right after undressing, feeling like “Am I about to get this?”
In yo’ head you hear it, that voice of confidence/
That comes down on you from the heavens like “Yeah, you ’bout to get it”
Just so damn relateable. Hopefully for all of us.
“SayDatThen” (Verse 4) [Joe Budden]
My aunt’s supposed to be holding him down, but she sure to gain/
Behind his back just took out another insurance claim/
(Say dat then) Well indeed I will/
They making all these alterations to his will
This section put an exclamation mark on the story surrounding Papa Budden’s battle with cancer. The family is more concerned with benefiting from the situation than they are in mourning. The sad part is that he doesn’t sound all that surprised about it at all.
“Illmind Interlude” (Verse 1) [Crooked I]
You pussy period, I bet you bleed/
A fake nigga that listen to snakes nigga, I bet you Eve
Crooked I gets busy with the wordplay once again.
“Trade It All” (Verse 1) [Joe Budden]
Faced with decisions, would you ignore intuition?/
Trade in whatever drives you for keys to an ignition?
The main reason for Slaughterhouse coming together was that none of them were willing to comply with the fickle ways of the music industry. While everyone was busy chasing a hit and following trends Royce, Joe, Crook, and Joell stuck to their guns and were rewarded pretty nicely for doing so.
Trade It All” (Verse 3) [Joe Budden]
Was froze over the phone/
Waiting for you to change your tone while I was smoking/
But that never happened like I was hoping/
Waiting for you to laugh, at least tell me you was jokin’
Much of Joe Budden’s appeal comes from how personal he gets in his music. Continuing the story of his father’s cancer struggle, Joe brings us right to the moment he receives the news himself.
“Keep It 100″ (Verse 2) [Royce da 5’9”]
Most dangerous position I could be in/
Richer than niggas thinking, but not as rich as them niggas think
Royce comes through with a bar about his peers and perception. He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place where people know he has money, but not enough for everyone that’s probably asking for a handout.
“Keep It 100″ (Verse 2) [Royce da 5’9”]
Other than that, shoutout my nigga Khaled/
You the homie my nigga/
If it was up to me, you know bro would be on it my nigga/
You turned that Ross verse around for me in like a day
While I’m blowing Big Sean phone up for a verse/
Feeling like, instead of this busy body shit with my family/
I might as well try for ‘Ye
The rap game can be a tricky business. Royce’s 312 upbringing made him call on fellow Detroit kid Big Sean for a verse, but it never happened. Meanwhile, with the help of DJ Khaled, he was able to secure a verse from rap superstar Rick Ross. Royce doesn’t see how his own brethren couldn’t look out. Might as well ask for a Kanye verse at this point, is the thinking now.
“Offshore” (Verse 2) [Crooked I]
This is Crooked remember I rap circles around your favorite MC/
While calling George Zimmerman a bitch on cable TV/
In racially profile hoodie using BETs cypher just to push my agenda/
Crooked I’s BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher appearance was marked by this very bar. Watch it here.
“Offshore” (Verse 3) [Royce da 5’9″]
I’m thankful for the success that I have with Em but honestly he could’ve sold more records than that on his own in a blind fold/
And all I’m picturing is my daddy with his arms folded/
And looking at me with that look like that’s cool but get your own
Royce’s honesty is compelling. In 2011, we saw Royce and Eminem come together again as Bad Meets Evil to release Hell: The Sequel EP, a project that was 10 years overdue. While it was successful in it’s own right, Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP 2 would sell more than the EP’s total in its first week.
Then Royce completes this bar with a Joe Jackson like comparison to his father about how Royce needs to be successful on his own. One of my personal favorites from the tape.
“Offshore” (Verse 4) [Joe Budden]
I don’t trust none of these hoes/
Sad part is I’m such a tortured soul I had that thought when I proposed/
Suited up ring in my hand while in my head I’m saying fuck this bitch/
Makes sense that she was thinking even less of me/
Got ruined in my youth when the first one got the best of me/
When she said she’d never leave then she left fuck y’all expect of me
Joe Budden brings us back to the infamous “Love & Hip Hop” moment where he proposed to ex-girlfriend Tahiry and was shot down. Joe admits that even on one knee middle of Times Square, he was still skeptical of these women.
“Life In The City” (Verse 1) [Joell Ortiz]
See you ain’t got to like me but you will respect me/
Every time you say you the nicest, boy, you indirect me/
Joell Ortiz gives us a nicely put together bar on how he perceives himself—as the best.
“I Don’t Know” (Verse 2) [Joe Budden]
Taught me every thang at my high school they didn’t have classes on/
Older niggas passed it on
Joey was raised in the school of the hard knocks, where lessons are taught from experience as opposed to coming from a book. All of the time spent outside of class has led him here so I guess he made the right decision.
Verdict: Slaughterhouse’s House Rules is the perfect prelude for their upcoming Glasshouse LP. The crew exercise verses that deserve placements on albums over and over again. The production is what you’d want and expect, heavy but subtle, perfect for Crooked, Joey, Joell, and Royce to get their points across. The mixtape already feels like an album in its own right. Our attention is officially undivided here, so let’s stay tuned and see what they have in the works for Glasshouse.