As is the case with so-called “super groups,” much has been made of Slaughterhouse ever since the quartet of Royce Da 5’9, Joell Ortiz, Crooked I and Joe Budden joined forces in 2008. Following the release of the lyrical Molotov cocktail that was their self-titled debut, however, the group’s output came to a halt. There were hints of label politics as Shady Records tried for months to get the group out of their deal, putting the group’s musical future in some doubt. But all’s well that ends well, as Slaughterhouse finally made the successful move to the house that Eminem built. In the meantime, that doesn’t stop E1 from dropping a six-track EP to tide the fans over.
“Back on the Scene” appropriately brings Black Sheep’s Dres along for the ride to set things off. M-Phazes appears to flip the same sample as The Neptunes did for Clipse’s “Dirty Money,” and ends up outdoing them with energetic claps and well-timed synths. Mr. Porter of D12 provides a simple backdrop with stabbing keys, allowing all four emcees to work their magic. Rhymes Royce: “Nickel ain’t the one at all / Snatch ya vocal chords out and plug ‘em in my wall / You a knife at a gun fight, our shit is raw / You a square, you silverware in a civil war / The Slaughterhouse wolf pack is right under the moon / The reason you itchin’ with your lighter under ya spoon… / No need to ride with nobody, I feel the heat can help me / Your jeans skinnier than Em when he’s eating healthy.”
“Everybody Down” is a bit of a let-down, as the Black Milk production is surprisingly flat, as are the emcees rhymes. “Put Some Money on It (Remix)” is probably an underachiever as well, as anything less than face-melting from Slaughterhouse and The L.O.X. over a Sean C & LV cut is disappointing. That being said, although it doesn’t meet expectations, there’s an undeniable chemistry between the crews, which bodes well for future collaborations. Frequency helms the last two offerings on the EP – the remixes to “Fight Club” and “Move On” – and in doing so solidifies himself as one of the must-haves for Slaughterhouse’s second studio album. His dramatic keys and rich strings elicits the emotion from Crook and co., particularly on the latter track.
The main criticism with Slaughterhouse’s debut, aside from generally spotty production, is that it felt like a collection of lyricists simply logging in verses on however many beats rather than a group construction with a unified goal. With The Slaughterhouse EP, it appears as though most of these concerns have been addressed. Some of the production could be more carefully vetted, and it would be advisable for the group to tap into emotionally-charged material more often, but there’s no doubt that this one will leave fans itching for their debut on Shady.