How the internet ruined Slaughterhouse for me
So for the past 15 months, for the first time in my career, I’ve been regularly discussing football at work with colleagues who support the “big” teams (for the purposes of this argument, a “big” team is any one that has more prestige, history or fanbase than, say, Plymouth Argyle. High standards, I know). And you talk to these champagne charlies, and you realise they’ve missed out on a lot from not following football at the sharp end. You miss out on local radio personalities hosting the half-time raffle while a crowd of 3,912 vocally questions their sexuality. You miss out on all that time you spend pestering your mates who went to legal school for what the various stages of administration are, and at which one you become 100% fucked. You miss out on the amount of fag ash they include in the hotdogs at the Kassam Stadium. And you miss out on the chance to drink in the same bars as your squad’s first time.
Oh sure, if you support a Crystal Palace or a Sheffield Wednesday, you can drink “in” the same bars as your heroes, but as soon as they get in, if they’ve got first team appearances to their name, they’re getting snuck off to the VIP to be blown by a bunch of slappers while drinking Red Bull from champagne coolers. When I first reached drinking age, though, this was the most exciting thing that could have happened to me. In the shitty bars of Northampton - Baroque, Chicago’s, Moon On The Square, Bar Med – I could be within elbowing distance of Dean Peer, Ali Gibb and Christian Lee. These guys were vaguely mythical to me, having gone to see them play every other weekend and tweaked around with their statistic on the Championship Manager data editor. And then, you spend time in these guys’ orbits, you give a shout of “Deano, Deano, give us a wave”, you take stock of the situation and… you realise that they’re just normal fucking guys who are half-decent at football. They’re drinking Sol and rocking Burton’s shirts and they could be sales reps or plumbers out on the lash. They’re nothing special. They’ve been soiled by your close contact with them.
And this is what Slaughterhouse remind me of.
Look, there’s already been enough crotchbleed on the internet about this album as it is, whether it represents some kind of Justice League of rappers teaming up for the greater good to save lyrical hip-hop forever, or whether it’s just the final acid reflux of backpacker rap before we all go off and spend the rest of our lives listening to jerk music. If you want ILB’s opinion, in brief: Royce is dope as ever, if not firing on all cylinders; Crooked and Ortiz both get passing grades from me; they probably should have replaced Budden with Sean Price or Saigon or Chingo Bling or the British chick from the first series of The White Rapper Show; the non-DJ Khalil beats on here are uber “meh”, but “Cuckoo” is one of my joints of the year so far. However, that’s taking the album as a piece of music, and nobody cares about rap in a vacuum anymore.
Twitter just makes me stop caring about rappers, though. Take Royce. Never let it be said that we’re not 100% committed to Nickel Nine back here at ILB, we’ve stanned hard for him before and I still think “Street Hop” will be an AOTY contender. However, I just facepalm when I check @royceDaFive9 and see stuff like:
Niggaz saying we aint move no units while we getting offers from majors……NIGGA #fuckouttaherewitdat …lol
11:32 AM Aug 23rd from web
Cmon everybody! Les make #maballs a trending topic…..Its life or Death
9:51 PM Aug 21st from web
Joey built like the letter “s” He got “joey-osis” lol Im on a roll
6:03 PM Aug 20th from web
And that’s only from the four days I could bring myself to check back, and ignoring the quite frankly tragic moments where he “retweets” messages from random schmucks he’s found on Twittersearch saying “slaughterhouse the truth right now” Now I’m far too young to remember the fan club era of popular music, which is what I assume this is all an attempt to recapture the magic of, but from what I understand it was a top-down affair: you paid your £9.99 a year and got four newsletters and a badge. The stars would talk “at” you, not to you. I’m pretty sure you didn’t see, in 1983, Simon Le Bon bragging in the Xmas edition of the Duran Duran fanzine that “Angela Bradman from South Shields says she is unable to stop listening to ‘Seven and the Ragged Tiger’”.
The problem is one of image, or at least image management. And I know that makes me horribly shallow, but if we’re gonna clown Rick Ross for fronting like a drug dealer when he was actually a prison guard, surely we can feel a little betrayed at Slaughterhouse members when they put themselves forwards as these great linguistic masters of the English language, when in fact they’re actually the kind of guys who, in the case of Joell Ortiz, say stuff like “Breakin’ the rules right now… I’m leaving a “free agent” in the bus toilet bowl… :-)” when they’re in public.
And a lot of what people don’t like about Joe Budden is a distillation of all this. Budden is a man who has mind of a 21-year-old bipolar bitch on Livejournal who has had to drop out of university due to “issues” placed into the body of a third-tier “New York may or may not be coming back, idk” MC. People’s problems with him: the inability to pause and think about what the great statement he’s about to make and whether it will piss anyone off, the dozens of internet stans he has defending hip-hop from Slovakia and Finland, the attention whoring: these are all symptoms of the man’s disease of living in the internet age.
I mean, zing Diddy for quite clearly employing ghostwriters for his Tweets all you want, but at least that implies some level of quality control in the product he’s putting out to the public. Slaughterhouse, on the other hand, just come across like a message board after the moderators have collectively said “you know what, fuck it”. In a dial-up era, this album would have been a classic. Nowadays, it’s just there.