Let’s cut to the chase: these assholes can rap. As a person who never had the slightest interest in hearing what these guys did for the past three years or so, On The House has not necessarily converted me into a sycophant, but I certainly have to pay attention.
This is some high-wattage, moonshine-straight-to-the-head rap, the sort that usually gets reserved for grimy underground freestyles or when an artist wants to treat his fans at a show. It doesn’t really display as much on the first track (especially for those getting acclimated to their M.O.), but Royce da 5’9”’s opening verse alone give long glimpses at a cutthroat persona which avoids the contemporary “I’m a hard ass dude, but we could still have fun reading Anna Karenina” aesthetic.
Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden and Crooked I bring much-needed verbal artillery to the table as well, resulting in tracks overflowing with quotables that hit listeners on the first run through along with subliminal lines peppered throughout.
Slaughterhouse’s lovingly gluttonous approach to hip hop can be a blessing and a curse. Granted, its nice seeing a modern butcher-shop quartet capable of fucking up any other crew’s day; their penchant for unfathomable and inhumanely long flowing scheme makes me wonder if they need to breathe. But more pressing are the periods of time within a song full of bars launched into the ear canal without pause, with only a short hook repeated twice before the next crew member gets in his turn.
The group has fans for a reason, and far be it from me to condemn them for that. I actually found “Truth or Truth Pt. 1” really affecting as each member stepped up to mic to bear their wants and woes over the breathtaking “Tears of Joy” instrumental. The track’s fourteen and a half minutes long, but the combination of the group’s uncompromising technical ability providing an avenue for their personal issues to come out made each second worth it.
In comparison, I enjoy Joell Ortiz’s verse on “See Dead People,” but having to endure three more minutes of this sort exhausts me. I know that getting bored at great lyrics seems like the worst First World problem to have regarding hip hop, but the extremity of the run time coupled with the fact that these guys don’t even arrive at a general consensus on a topic for each song amps up the repetitive vibe from the mixtape considerably.
Yet I still believe this mixtape deserves a recommendation. I purposely left out quotes as that ruins the listening experience for newcomers, but take heed of the hard work Slaughterhouse has done, and do it now. As far as anyone can tell, Welcome to Our House will appear unjustly diluted in comparison (see: Radioactive).