Tuesday night at the Highline Ballroom, stans of a rare breed of rap supergroup impatiently awaited the arrival of their favorite quartet.
A scarlet-lit stage punctured by strobe lights set the tone for Slaughterhouse – comprised of wordsmiths Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden, Crooked I and Royce da 5’9” – to wage a lyrical blood bath.
Super-producer !llmind manned the ones n’ twos prefacing the entrance of the slaughters, dropping some instrumentals mixed in with hip-hop from yester-year and day alike.
He asked the spectator-studded room “Who’s ready for a new Slaughterhouse album?” After referencing collaborators like AraabMuzik and the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, he acknowledged feeling honored to be a part of the same production as them and the group as a whole.
About 20 minutes after the scheduled showtime, Crooked I was the first man of the hour to enter the stage to his “No Sleep Gang.” Next to emerge from the bullpen was Brooklyn-representer Joell Ortiz embedded by his “Hip-Hop” followed by Royce with his “Boom” and finishing with Joe Budden to his “Ordinary Love Shit Part 3.”
The first track for them to crack the mic with was appropriately “Microphone,” followed by a set laced with favorites from Slaughterhouse, On The House, and welcome to: Our House.
Among the executed numbers was “Onslaught 2,” “Frat House,” “Die,” “Asylum,” “Fast Lane,” “Weight Scale,” “My Life,” and “NBA.”
The quartet invited the independent R&B crooner and SLV-member Emanny out to the stage for “Who I Am” and later on to accompany Budden for “She Don’t Put It Down.”
Packed with energy, comedy, and confidence, the group had the audience engaged and
singing, spitting along the whole way through. In fact, Budden had the DJ bring his verse on “Truth or Truth” back just for the crowd to narrate it for him themselves; fortunately, they were able to do so successfully, leaving Budden wearing a grin of fulfillment he couldn’t wipe off for the rest of the track.
Later in the show, Crooked I gave a sentimental soliloquy a capella on which he – like so many artists throughout the nation – vocalized his feelings over the recent acquittal of George Zimmerman. His lyrical therapy expanded into further politics and racial issues, providing for a thought-provoking listening experience.
To balance out his darker moment, Crooked I later commented on statements he’s heard regarding the group needing to sober up; he let his fellow group members know that they can stay sober, while he continues to “turn up” on their behalf.
Other moments of comic relief were Joe Budden telling the audience a hackneyed joke, asking them “What sound does a gay cow make?” Of course, the answer was an unnecessarily elongated “hay.” Shortly after, he admitted that despite touring with Ortiz for years now, he still has no clue what “Yaowa” really means. After Ortiz instigated him with several consecutive Yaowa chants, he asked Budden, “What sound does a gay cow make on his last album?” The answer? “Mood Muzik.” And the crowd clamored at their playful, sibling-like rivalry.
The slaughters strategically rotated in and out of the spotlight, allowing each to get individual shine throughout the night which they owned collectively. You can tell they really do have something special, and that they genuinely came through to tear it up for their fans who continue to support them and witness them evolve.
Prior to making their exit, Joell Ortiz proclaimed that, “This next album is fucking retarded.” Budden complemented Ortiz’s statement saying “There aren’t too many groups out there like us…We’re invested in ya’ll just as much as ya’ll are invested in us.” He then thanked all of Slaughterhouse’s fans for being vocal about the quality they want from the group they admire, assuring them that they’ve been heard.
“Hammer Dance” was, of course, the last dance of the evening.
Take a look at some exclusive flicks from the night’s festivities, and stay tuned for the house’s impending sophomore Shady Records release.