Shady Records’ Slaughterhouse Counts down to The
Release of Welcome to Our House.
[Straight From The Crate…Originally Captured for RESPECT. #12 in June 2012].
Video: Trevor Sage-El
Photos: Matthew Salacuse
With Slaughterhouse’s full-length Shady debut, it was only right that RESPECT. hooked up with these killers to discover the secrets of staying sharp in the cut. Call it a master skills class. With Slaughterhouse sharpshooters Joell Ortiz, Crooked I, Royce Da 5’9” and Joe Budden breaking down the basics of crafting a classic and always staying on point, it only makes sense, right? Yeah, we thought so too. So sit back, relax and take notes. The time spent just might change your life.
“We’re really tryin’ to keep it moving and keep hip-hop moving strong.” – Royce Da 5’9″
From his early days cutting records with Eminem as Bad Meets Evil through to his recent resurgence as part of Slaughterhouse and last year’s chart-topping Bad Meets Evil LP, Hell: The Sequel, Royce Da 5’9” has been carving his name into the books for years as one of hip-hop’s most vicious MCs.
What time do you usually start your day?
If I’m on tour, usually about nine in the morning. Now that I’m home, I wake up pretty early as long as I’m not in the studio real late. [But] once I start getting on the late-night studio schedule, I’m getting home six or seven in the morning, and I usually sleep ’til about one or two, you know, so it just depends.
“The beauty of this group is that there are just so many different dynamics, it just works out.” -Joe Budden
The architect of Slaughterhouse, New Jersey native Joe Budden has built his name and his brand on the back of his hustle, his heart and a catalog of independent releases that have made him a legend in his own right. Now he’s brought together a collective that, bar for bar, will repeatedly bury the competition. And then do it again just for fun.
How did Slaughterhouse come about?
I was working on my mixtape] Halfway House in 2008, I want to say. I called everybody and the track got done, and the reception was amazing. The energy was so good, it was unlike anything I had ever seen, and I guess I could say the same for those brothers. It was only logical to continue that, and we never stopped, and then it was a group, and it was shows, and then it was records, and record deals, then it was Eminem…. It was a continuous flow of positive energy and great things happening.
What’s the last thing you think about as your day is coming to a close?
What I need to say to God. I [might] think about what I have to do the next day, but then I have to remember that there might not be a next day, so I talk to God and say whatever I have to say.
“Back in the day, I used to want to make songs in five minutes. Like, ‘Yo, if I could make a five-minute song, everybody’d know I’m the best!’ I’m past that. I just want some good music to come out when I’m done.” – Crooked I
Slaughterhouse’s West Coast rep has weathered several deals, cooked up his own independent hustle and served the streets with mixtape after mixtape. Now he’s caked up and hooked up with Shady, and he’s still on his grind. To hear him tell it, it’s just in his blood. Enter Crooked I…
What do you think about when you wake up in the morning?
Man, I think about the hustle. Every single day, as soon as I open my eyes, I’m up. I grab my phone. I check my e-mails, see if any business is poppin’, see if I got anything on my itinerary—like, as soon as I wake up. People tell me, “It’s okay to be a human being, you know.” They call me a robot, but that’s just what I do. Even when I’m asleep, I dream about different bars and songs and all kinds of stuff. I live this 100 percent. It’s embedded in me. It’s not goin’ nowhere.
“I don’t force music. If I recognize that an idea needs time to reach its maximum potential, then there’s no rush to make good music.” – Joell Ortiz
Joell Ortiz had beefed with Jermaine Dupri and parted ways with Dr. Dre, but with Slaughterhouse and Shady Records, the Brooklyn slick spitter looks like he’s found the right home.
How long does it take you to write a track?
I’ve done a whole song in a couple hours. When I do a random track over someone else’s beat, that’s nothing—maybe an hour of writing. But really, it just depends on how long I want the track to be, what I want the structure of the song to be, whether the subject matter is super complex or on some raw shit. Sometimes the less I think about it, the more my own mind gets out of the way, and I can lay down bars almost automatically.
How important is time when you’re performing?
I try to be aware of time when I’m onstage, because you want to make sure you’re putting your heart into the performance while also switching up directions to keep the audience’s attention and involve them in the show. Knowing what the audience is feeling, what they don’t want to hear, what they might be in the mood for—all of that is a part of keeping your finger on the pulse of the crowd. Their reaction determines how successful your performance is, so if you’re not paying attention to what the crowd wants to hear or what might really get them hyped, your stage presence might mean nothing. When I’m really blacking out on a song though, I have no sense of time. I almost lose consciousness when I’m diving into raps like that, because I’m totally absorbed in the story I’m trying to tell and the images I’m trying to convey, so the present sort of melts away.
All Photography and video Copyright Musinart LLC
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