Super-groups are the Halley’s Comet of Hip-Hop: rarely are they seen, but when they are, witnesses can surely expect something special. Such is the same for the foursome known as Slaughterhouse. Comprised of Royce Da 5’9”, Joe Budden [click to read], Joell Ortiz [click to read] and Crooked I [click to view], the group has had the Internet in a veritable Figure Four Leg-lock since their debut on Budden’s Halfway House [click to listen]. Royce spoke with HipHopDX last week about the group’s unexpected beginnings.
“I had no idea [Slaughterhouse would become like this],” said the Detroit emcee. “I had no idea. I wasn’t even looking in to the future like that…I made my priority to do [the original 'Slaughterhouse' song] because it was Joe [Budden], and then when he got Crooked [I] and [Joell] Ortiz and them, I said ‘Yo, I’ve got to do this.’ I was actually at the hospital [during the recording] because my wife had just went into labor with my daughter. I actually left the hospital, went to the studio and knocked it out real quick and came right back…when the song hit the 'net, it just put [it] in such a frenzy. Joey called me back and was like ‘Yo man, we need to keep doing songs.’ I was like ‘Shit, I’m with you.’ We just kept doing stuff and doing stuff and eventually, it just manifested itself [into a group].”
Yet Slaughterhouse is no average super-group. Where others failed to find success or a cohesive sound, Slaughterhouse most does. Royce says that their self-titled debut album, which is set for an August 11 release on E1 Music, will teach fans and critics alike to expect the unexpected.
“We’re going to give people an album, a real album, and that’s what I don’t think people think we’re capable of doing,” said Royce. “Often times in interviews, I get asked ‘Are you going to have hooks on the album,’ and to me, that’s the craziest fucking question I’ve ever heard in my life, because it’s like, ‘What album have you heard that doesn’t have hooks on it?’ We’re going to be doing some real songs, concepts, everything. There’s going to be times where we’ve got 'Onslaught'-type songs where we just go bar-for-bar, verses back-to-back. We’ve got a few of those. I think people are going to be surprised when they hear we can actually make songs…I think that’s what people expect [from super-groups]. They automatically put you in that box. I don’t necessarily look at it as a problem because I know the album that we have is going to get us out of that box. I feel like we’re honestly about to prove that this group can be big, not just an Internet group that can kick a bunch of fucking freestyles, an actual big group that you see plastered all over your television and all over everything.”
Royce discussed the group’s dynamic in the studio. He says that the group finds strength in the mixture of their individual artistic styles. In addition, "Nickel Nine" notes that working with the three other members affords him the opportunity to grow as a solo artist.
“I think [the mixing of our individual styles] is what makes the album so incredible,” he said. “I honestly think that this album is incredible, especially with the amount we had to do it in and how quickly we got it done. The way that we brought everything to the table…it’s really like Voltron. Like [when] one of the motherfuckers lying around by themselves, it’s cool. Once they all get together and form that big-ass monster, it’s unstoppable.”
He later added, “Every time I’m in the studio with [the rest of Slaughterhouse], I learn something new. I’ve always been like that. I’ve always been a sponge, no matter who I’m working with, [whether] that may be a producer or just an artist. You pick up different little techniques and shit like that because no two people work the same. I always try to pick up new shit from them and factor it into my own shit without biting their style.”
Slaughterhouse is not the only super-group hoping to find success this year, however. Groups like La Coka Nostra, Random Axe and the Undergods are planning to release their own projects in the coming months as well. Royce thinks that the recent rise in popularity of Hip Hop super-groups stems from a fan-base denied creative and original Rap over the past few years
“I think the fans are just ready for anything new and exciting,” noted the emcee. “Hip Hop was so fucked up a couple of years ago…it just seemed like people would just open and listen to anything. So I think that the true Hip Hop fans were ready to embrace anything that just felt like some real Hip Hop shit. And the concept of Slaughterhouse, all four of us were already embraced. Anytime a super-group was ever formed in the past, Hip Hop has always embraced it, but it was that actual group that always fucked it up and didn’t go through for whatever reason. But the fact that we’re done with the album, have a release date and are on the road together, we just proved it’s official.”
Yet Slaughterhouse isn’t the only project on which the Detroit emcee is working. Today, he plans to release a solo EP titled The Revival for digital download, while on September 22, he aims to unleash his long-awaited LP Street Hop on MIC/One Records/The Orchard. He explains the differences between working on his solo material and working in a group like Slaughterhouse.
“The Slaughterhouse album, I always like to say, is like four heads combined,” he described. “It doesn’t take a lot of thought. You’ve got four beautiful minds in the studio together. It doesn’t take a lot of time. All we’ve got to do is just go in there and do what we do best. Now when I’m dealing with my solo shit, it takes all of the thought that that I have in my one brain, so it automatically takes me more time. I don’t have the help of three other guys. So what you’re going to hear is like hearing A Tribe Called Quest album versus a Jay-Z album. We’re talking about two classic albums, totally different formats.”
Royce also spoke on the recent success of Detroit’s Hip Hop scene. He says that Detroit as a city has dramatically progressed over the past few years, and that now, its numerous artists have united together to represent their city to the fullest extent.
“Creatively, sky’s the limit,” said Royce. “We’re going to go straight up. Denaun Porter is the executive producer of my next album; Black Milk is in the Random Axe group, that should win. You’ve got Elzhi; Slum Village is still doing it. D12 is in the studio right now, I heard some new records [from them], they sound phenomenal. What [does Detroit] not have? Detroit is the shit right now. Everybody’s supporting each other; it’s just a beautiful feeling in my city right now…[it’s been a long time coming], because we haven’t always had this unity. There was one point where everybody was trying to blow each other’s heads off. I’m glad that we are where we are, because right now, it feels much better than when everybody had problems with everybody. There’s nothing like peace. There’s strength in numbers and we have those numbers, so I definitely think we’re going to go far.”