There's a tremendous weight on the collective shoulders of [artist id="3031489"]Slaughterhouse[/artist]. The Shady lyrical assassins have just released their first major label LP Welcome to: Our House, and while it's a great accomplishment for Royce da 5'9," Joell Ortiz, Crooked I and Joe Budden, hip-hop fans seem to have a lot riding on the album as well.
The fact is, lyricism isn't as celebrated as it once was and less technically skilled MCs can often get away with crafted radio hits that focus on danceable beats and catchy chorus. But if purebred rap titans like Slaughterhouse can make a significant dent in SoundScan when sales figures are tallied next week, their success could open doors for more lyrically inclined MCs. That's the message Royce da 5'9" wanted to deliver when he and his crew appeared on Wednesday's "RapFix Live."
"My demand to the fans is: Go to the record store and buy this album. Do that for hip-hop," Royce stated sternly.
Each of SH's four members have toiled in hip-hop's underground as soloists raising rap's lyrical bar. Unfortunately, their efforts haven't garnered much radio play or platinum and gold plaques, but still each MC was celebrated. Expectations were unbelievably high when the group put out their self-titled debut album in 2009, and now that they've inked a high-profile deal with rap juggernaut Eminem for their second LP, they're astronomic.
"I feel like the people expect the highest level of lyricism from us, but at times I feel like they don't want us to be happy," Royce said, laughing at the group's catch-22 scenario. "They don't want us to sell records; they just want us to rap better than everybody."
When the House Gang dropped their Cee Lo Green-assisted "My Life," a celebratory track that samples Italian band Corona's 1993 dance hit "The Rhythm of the Night," rap diehards groaned at the catchy hook and danceable beat. The single fit top 40 radio formats but didn't impact the charts as expected. "The second we give radio something that they can play it's like, 'What are they doin'? They're tryin' to go commercial,' " Royce said, mimicking fan criticism. "Go commercial? I thought that's what you had to do to feed your family, am I wrong?"
Crooked went on to point out that the song featured Goodie Mob, who, despite his pop success as a soloist and a member of Gnarls Barkley, got his start in the Dungeon Family, a gritty Atlanta rap collective that also housed OutKast.
Royce da 5'9" contends that no matter what, Slaughterhouse will keep their lyrics cutting edge. "Went from no office to offers/ I told ya I'ma get my daddy out the post office," he spit on the "RapFix" couch, reciting his lyrics from "My Life." "What is pop about that? That came from my heart."
Since the group's formation in late 2008, Royce and the House Gang feel like they have given the fans everything they asked for. On August 19, just days before their album release, SH dropped On the House, a free, 13-track mixtape to thank fans and promote Welcome to: Our House. Now the crew is looking to get something back from their fans.
"I feel like fans make demands. Fans become spoiled because we're wired to make sure that we follow their every need," Royce reasoned. "I think that this is a day where the artist can make a demand to the fans."
Will you be purchasing Slaughterhouse's Welcome to: Our House? Let us know in the comments!