Record Review - Slaughterhouse: Slaughterhouse

If hip-hop were a track meet, it would be hard to find a four-man squad that could beat Slaughterhouse. Composed of critically respected but commercially unheralded underground MCs Joell Ortiz, Royce da 5’9”, Crooked I and Joe Budden, the group’s self-titled debut serves mainly as a platform for each man to attempt to one-up the others through punchlines, dexterity and flat-out velocity. Lyrically, there are about as many hits (“Where’s your head nigga?” raps Crooked I, “I got the guillotine”) as misses (“Nothing to hide,” puts in Royce, “the jimmy covers up my Tommy Lee”), but much of the fun is simply listening to them spit outrageously fast. Some critics have complained that there is little unity here, that the album feels like four combined solo efforts rather than the work of a cohesive group. Fans of pure, old-school one-upmanship, however, likely won’t find anything superior this year. (E1) 4 stars out of 5