Rating: 8 / 10
As mentioned previously, Slaughterhouse is obviously aware of the pressure that's on them to deliver a project that makes them worth the wait. Ironically, the weight of the prolonged delay has somewhat enhanced the magnifying glass they were already under. Each one drew attention on their own: Royce Da 5'9 was known for his lyricism and his rift with Eminem that has since been repaired, Crooked I's most recognizable feat to most was his Hip-Hop Weekly series that went for a year straight, Joe Budden'sMood Muzik series, relationship woes, and more made him a lightning rod for conversation, and Joell Ortiz's musical outputs with Novel (along with his Bodega Chronicles mixtape) all but catapulted him onto the radar for astute Hip-Hop heads.
Together, they've formed something that could be responsible for the resurfacing of the popularity of lyrics in rap again, and teaming with Marshall Mathers has done nothing but make their spotlights shine that much brighter. With the release of their second album and first major LP, Welcome To - OUR HOUSE isn't the best album to be released this year, but it's one of the more ingenious ones due to the amount of clever chances they take with its presentation.
Lyricism is still at the forefront for the majority of the songs. Crooked I consistently delivers struggle-free bars, even on the radio singles like "My Life" and "Park It Sideways". The other members all have their highlights as well; Royce's ludicrous lyrics shine on the Busta Rhymes-assisted (and Hit-Boy produced) "Coffin", while Joell Ortiz's heart-wrenching verse on "Goodbye" easily is one of the more memorable verses on the LP (not as a knock to the others; each verse on "Goodbye" is incredibly emotional, but Joell stands out), and Joe Budden's aggressive verses on "Flip A Bird" and “Die” are among the plethora of highlights as well.
STREAM: Slaughterhouse - "Flip A Bird"
Lyrics, song concepts, and production aren’t truly the hangup here for some that will listen; the issue may be the presentation of the album as a whole. Some songs on the surface have a D-12'ish sound to them ("Throw That" being a prime example), but Slaughterhouse is far superior lyrically, and even in those "formulaic" tracks, the lyricism carries it (and shatters that thought to shreds if you pay attention). Also, the album doesn't have ‘sections’ like most LPs out, and the only time some semblance of that happens is towards the end, but even that ‘party section’ of the LP (with “Frat House” and “Park It Sideways”) has the powerful “Goodbye” wedged in the middle of it.
STREAM: Slaughterhouse - "Goodbye"
At times the album's dark, and other times it's not, but it all comes together to make a memorable listening experience. Maybe that was their intention, to make sure that whoever heard the LP would remember it. There will be complaints due to their singles that they’ve dumbed down, but that’s a little inaccurate; to say that Slaughterhouse disguised the lyricism on a couple of tracks would be a more level-headed statement, and this is about as well as you can disguise it without actually dumbing them down. The fact this was accomplished in the first place is a feat in itself, but the bonus just so happens to be that Slaughterhouse and Eminem have created a dope LP.
Like the outro says, regardless of their record sales, they made it this far doing it their way. Only time will tell if that will be enough to garner another release in the future. Until then, give Welcome To: Our House a play with open ears and see what you think. If you're more of a fan of the straight-forward lyrical approach like their first LP, then check their latest mixtape with DJ Drama, On The House.