Slaughterhouse is locked in their ability to rally the Hip-Hop troops. Everyone agrees the quartet is lyrically adept and creatively speaking, they run circles around most other emcees. Talent is not up for debate. Their ability to make a good album is. The breakneck, hold-your-breath busyness of their self-titled debut left many listeners wondering if the finer nuances of song and album construction were lost on them. This time around, the group has rounded the edge so much, the album butts heads with them at their most dynamic. And they still haven’t figured out all four don’t have to be on every single song.
Welcome To: Our House is a 20-song, multi-person journal of life highlights, low lights and plenty of stuff done with no light. The quality runs that spectrum as well, quickly toggling from the dreariest of emo-pop to chest-pounding, head-nodding, self big up reserved for those at the top of the food chain. It’s cohesive only in its personal regard and ordered in the same random respect.
That’s not to say there aren’t any good songs here; there are. “Coffin”s marching band steez combined with the frenetic synth under Busta on the hook rescues your psyche after the seriously depressing title track entrenched strangely like an anchor at the open. There’s no lights out verbal gymnastics here, but it’s a sufficiently gruff warning to anyone doubting the Slaughterhouse reign. Black Keys Beats pulling the strange puttering of keys from Imogen Heap’s “Little Bird” for “Flip A Bird” is the most inventive of the production. Royce’s stoic, I could even say sexy, delivery sets a tone wonderfully ratcheted up by Crooked I (and even more so by Ortiz) in a song that proves they don’t have to go dumb to be effective. Nicely done.
“Walk Of Shame,” while hella rude, is amusing as hell. There’s a quirkiness to this track that morphs and changes texture throughout. Nice job by Streetrunners. The posse of rappers sums up their feeling about the morning after with a million clever ways to say get out. And if you’ve ever taken that break of dawn stroll through the lobby, with your bra in your pocket and an eyelash still on the pillow case, you know exactly what they are talking about. Or so I’ve heard.
Is “The Other Side” what we want from Slaughterhouse? I wrestled with this song, but regardless of your ideas about defining this group, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League has cranked out another beautifully smooth track full of gorgeous, lush intricacy. Would I prefer John Legend singing on here? Probably. I respect the themes here, but the emcees sell this track short. It’s still pretty though.
The flip side finds the four horsemen wallowing in meh. I understand why “Welcome To Our House” is what it is, but it’s a powerful downer at the very beginning of the album and Skylar Grey’s hook is better suited to a dirge. “Frat House” is just 360 degrees of no. The synth and snare are pedestrian, Budden shouldn’t be spitting about throwing women anywhere and mid 30’s rappers musing about palming bare adolescent breasts in a bunk bed is tiring. “Park it Sideways” sounds a little too much like that Lupe/John Legend song on Lasers and this along with “Our Way” are strangely retro with whispers of Bone Thugs and Harmony. The B.o.B featured closer, “Place to Be,” will beg you into a much needed slumber. Did I say this album is 20 tracks long? Yeah, it is. You need some rest.
We’ve been welcomed into four very different and layered lives. All of which we see glimpses of throughout, but never get a full and complete understanding of because there are 3 others jockeying for space. The song selection is random and Slaughterhouse would have done themselves a huge favor by shaving some of the fat. It’s not horrible, the emceeing stands head and shoulders above much of what we have heard this year. Welcome To: Our House is still a disappointment from a construction standpoint. This may be their spot, but I think it’s due for some renovation.
3 Out of 5
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