When it was announced that Slaughterhouse were joining Shady/Interscope, I was excited on one hand, but also apprehensive. Eminem is one of the illest emcees of all-time, a co-sign by him can only be beneficial to these four fire-breathing dragons, right? Well….I was also concerned about Em’s role as producer/executive producer. In my opinion, he does not have a great track record in creating beats or selecting them, and I could not imagine Slaughterhouse rhyming over “Eminem style” beats.
That brings us to the key issue with Welcome to Our House. Eminem was not behind the boards on every track (he produced two and has co-producer credits on many others), but many tracks still have that Eminem/D12-ish vibe. Light, quirky, “poppy”. Not a necessarily bad thing, just doesn’t fit Slaughterhouse in my opinion. From the beginning, “Our House” sounds/feels like a recent Em or Bad Meets Evil track, especially with the Skylar Grey (and Eminem) hook(s). And to top that off, Budden is noticeably absent and Em adds a very long final verse. Some introduction. That same vibe continues on “Rescue Me”, “Park It Sideways”, the dreadful “Frat House”, and the fifth pre-album single, “Throw That,” featuring you-know-who.
With the exception of “Frat House”, songs like these are not without merit. For the most part, Slaughterhouse always delivers on lyricism. It’s just that many songs don’t have the feel, the sound, the energy that many came to love about Slaughterhouse. I don’t know if the die-hard fans will find much to enjoy on the album. Those die-hards, are the young people I’ve seen at shows that know all the words to the songs, even the B.E.T. Awards freestyle. And I mean ALL the words. I just don’t feel a lot of fan service on Welcome to Our House.
There are some bright spots, however. The first single “Hammer Dance”, was a perfect major label debut. And it really shows what this album could have been. The AraabMuzik production matched the energy of the sharp lyrics. It’s aggressive without being overly negative. Heck, it’s damn near a dance track. But overall, it’s still…Slaughterhouse. “My Life” continues that trend, and still works. Perhaps the highest of the highlights is the wonderful and refreshing “Flip A Bird.” With a sampled hook that I can’t remove from my brain, and Black Key Beats crafts a melodic sound that the House Gang just glides on.
So what we have is a mixed bag in terms of production and direction. A poorly sequenced collection of songs, with little cohesion and few shining moments. Hopefully, this will not be the legacy of the Slaughterhouse-Shady deal. 3/5
charliedigital is guest contributor to MusicandModeling.com. Find his random tweets and re-tweets on hip-hop, black culture, and technology @charliedigital