Friday, August 21, 2009

Laughter House

David D. of The Smoking Section just wrote an interesting piece in which he basically pointed the proverbial finger at the online hip hop community for failing to step up to the plate to pick up Slaughterhouse’s debut album at record stores. The main premise of his article is that money equals power (to music execs that is), and that our abandonment of Slaughterhouse (on a financial level) crystallizes the argument that internet hype may not after all be the barometer by which the industry estimates success. He’s got a point. But on the flip side of that coin, I have a few points of my own – namely ways in which Slaughterhouse, for lack of a better word, fucked up. A lot of it has to do with Joe Budden. I know that at this point I’m beginning to sound like A) a hater, and B) a broken record when discussing Joe Budden’s role in the hip hop world, but just hear me out. First and foremost, as I noted in a TRU Brain Trust post, Joe Budden is the weakest link of the group for various reasons. First of all, his on-again, off-again girlfriend’s ass has a bigger buzz than he does (word to Inspectah Deck), and honestly, I don’t feel like shelling out my hard-earned dough to a guy who’s already lucky enough to be hitting that. Again, call me a hater. Whatever. Next, and most importantly, is the fact that Budden has proven himself to be cut from the bitch-made cloth. He kicked off 2009 by “battling” Saigon (who just so happened to be releasing an album on the same label in the same time frame as Budden). Next, he dissed hip hop legend Grandmaster Mele Mel. And then he went after Wu-Tang members! Crazy! Now when I dropped that nerdy post last week, I was asked to drop some venn diagrams too. Here’s one:

Of course this is just an estimate, but I’d say a large chunk of the online hip hop community also consider themselves to be nerdy Wu-stans. How do I know? Because I’m a self-described nerdy Wu-stan. As I expressed on Twitter, Budden’s 2009 beefs, particularly with the Wu, deflated my anticipation for the album. I know I wasn’t the only one because I received A) retweets, and B) replies in agreement. I’m sure you know someone with a Wu-Tang beanie or t-shirt. I’m sure they didn’t buy Slaughterhouse’s debut album.

Another problem I have with Joe Budden is that he has horrible (really, really horrible) beat selection. I’m sure he was in charge of this during the Slaughterhouse process because one of the album’s tracks sounds nearly identical (with the same corny-ass Christmas interpolation and everything) to the intro track on Padded Room (another album with yawn-inducing beats). For some reason, his beats always seem to need to have some rock element attached to them. Totally unnecessary. And repetitive. Slaughterhouse’s album would have benefited greatly by more organic boom bap soundscapes. Just my thoughts.

So now that you know how I feel about Budden, let’s discuss the group in a broader sense: First of all, their lead single was corny as fuck. I mean, the verses were alright and all, but the chorus was transparently poised to reach pop-oriented audiences. Not a good look. Then Crooked I got a misspelled tattoo. Not a good look. Then the album leaked over a week in advance. Reaaalllly not a good look!

If you’re like me, you downloaded the leaked copy. You played it. You either really liked it, or you felt lukewarm about it. Either way, by the time the release date came around, the album had already been out for so long that it wasn’t even getting heavy spins in your rotation anymore (if you even bothered to play it more than once). Right? Right! So… blame it on the album leak; blame it on group members’ (i.e. Joe Budden) retarded antics; blame it on the general mediocrity of the album; blame it on the online hip hop community’s recession-era wallet-consciousness. David describes Slaughterhouse as a blogger’s wet dream. He’s right. But maybe that’s what’s so unappealing about it. It feels fabricated, manufactured. It feels like a ploy. Give me something more out of the box and spontaneous. Locking four monster emcees in a room to rip up the mic is great; for a mixtape. For an album? That just won’t get the same kind of love. It doesn’t even matter which genre we’re talking about. An Audioslave album is great. A Rage Against the Machine or Soundgarden album is epic. But let’s stick to hip hop: historically, which super-group sold really well? eMC? Nope. 213? Nuh-uh. The Firm? Don’t make me laugh. Maaaaybe Westside Connection. But as a general rule, I think it’s well established that rap supergroups never really bloom into anything more than a one shot album deal.

Still, I have one more bone to pick with David D.’s point of view, and here’s the most important part of my argument:

Pushing 18,000 units is a blessing in 2009. Little Brother, a group which I believe is a bit overrated (though I still enjoy their music), released their album Getback in 2007. Hyped by blogs the web over, LB only managed to move a little over 9,000 albums in their opening week! It took them an entire month to get to 18,000! I shit you not! How about Asher Roth earlier this year? Sure, he made a killing in comparison, but his numbers were so underwhelming that it’s no wonder why his voice has been all but completely wiped off the radio to this point. So again, Slaughterhouse must recognize that they’re blessed to be pushing those numbers. And critics of the online fan base who failed to buy the CD in its opening week must understand that a group like Slaughterhouse isn’t built to make money off record sales. They do it by touring the country, going to Detroit to holler at Royce’s fan base, bouncing over to Jersey to kick it with Budden’s soldiers, riding to the birthplace of hip hop to speak to Joell’s fans, and of course going back to Cali to let Crooked I fans and dub-raisers get rowdy.

Folks who know me know that I’m an avid listener of Adam Carolla’s podcast (what’s up, Bol). He went from a decent audience on a radio show with early hours to having one of the biggest podcasts and subscriber bases in the world – all in just a few months! So here’s how I see it: rappers, just follow the Adam Carolla model and you’ll be alright, ya got me? Better yet, we can call it the N.W.A. model (perhaps more apt for Slautherhouse). At the end of the day, I could give a fuck less what record execs think. I could give a fuck less, in the age of iPods, if a release is packaged as an album, a mixtape, an EP, a “digital package” or whatever. As long as the music is good, and you’ve got a firm reputation on the internet and the streets (still very, very important… sorry poindexters) you’re a-okay. That, or you could ditch Joe Budden and pick up, oh, I dunno, someone like Freeway, Saigon, or Termanology instead. Think about it.

P.S. Wu-Tang Clan still ain't nuthin' ta fuck wit'!


  1. Budden has become an internet 'personality'. He's a part-time rapper who is more interested in getting page views for his video blogs.

    And people only tuned in for his girl.

    And he got punched live on the internet.

    And blogged about it with an ice pack on his face. Instead of taking care of the situation.

    If he focussed more on his music , rather than his net buzz, then maybe people would care.

    He's not a good enough rapper to hold your attention over average production. He isnt that nice.

    You say Budden is the weak link but in terms of sales and mainstream appeal he is the biggest member. Nodoby gives a fuck about Crooked I and Ortiz. They kinda know Royce but they remember Joe offa Pump It Up.

    Us internet types know about these guys but we are the ones who download everything. We aint buying shit unless its hella dope. Which Slaughterhouse isnt.

    And Joey, there's more to being a rapper than just being a hot MC. You need lyrics, concepts, hot production, and well crafted songs that actually have more than a 2 week lifespan.

    Also Meth >>>> You, just because you're a twat and he's part of a legend. Fuck the skills.

  2. Also, they don't play live. Atmosphere is out there touring all the time and their last album moved 36,000 units the first fucking week. There was no real-world anticipation.

    And seriously...seriously.

    WHO the fuck is really saying you can do anything with online hype? Teh Internets is PART of an equation that involves many OTHER PARTS. Just about all of which were ignored by the Slaughterhouse promo push.

    Anyways, co-sign on beat selection, at the end of the day I didn't buy it because they just weren't good tracks.

  3. Agree with you guys on the Budden situation. Instead of bloggin about it, he should've decked Raekwon and snatch that nigga chain.

    Budden made a bi*Tch move when he made peace with Saigon but went after Prodigy....Prodigy in jail, he can't defend himself.... Saigon went on record to diss Budden and his kid but this stupid nigga flips the script and makes peace with him?!?!?

    Does anybody feel me on this?

  4. Ivan, I'ma tell you why your post is bullshit even with your personal dislike for Budden with 3 examples: The Alchemist, Mos Def and The Wu.

    The Alchemist's album took a month to reach SH's first week sales and it had a fucking EMINEM feature on it along with Blu, Lil Fame, Oh No and other rappers commenters would call "real" music.

    Fuck online "fans of real hip-hop".

    Mos Def put out an INCREDIBLE album. Did it move units like it should have? NO!

    Fuck online "fans of real hip-hop".

    The Wu's "Chamber Music", which has really dope collborations on it. Did it sell out because Wu-fanatics stampeded the stores? NOPE! For a really really good Wu album the sales are laughable.

    Fuck online "fans of real hip-hop".

    I'll even throw in a bonus for you. J-Dilla's album's sales were ABYSMAL and that album just might be the best release of the year. Fans of "real hip-hop" did not support.

    Fuck online "fans of real hip-hop".

    You know who's selling? Maino, Ace Hood, Flo-Rida and Fabolous's R&B ass coaster of an album.

    So you can dislike Budden ALL you want Ivan. The problem isn't SH at all. SH didn't fail to keep up their end of the bargin, FANS did. It really is the supposed "fan of real hip-hop" because these "fans" aren't supporting ANYTHING. We have failed time and time again this year so I 100% agree with Dave D.

    You have to look at the big picture to see we are failing our independent artist and good music pushers. I will bet you any amount of money that Rae's album doesn't hit 150k, maybe not even 100k.

    Oh and out of all the "real hip-hop" albums I just named, I've bought them all plus more. Fuck y'all.

  5. Even as a Budden fan, I do agree that his antics hurt the buzz for both his solo LP and the Slaughterhouse one.

    Funk Doc said it best: "If he focussed more on his music , rather than his net buzz, then maybe people would care."

    I still listen to the majority of what Budden puts out, but I've become less and less excited as the years go on. At least Joell and Royce ripped the LP enough for me to spin it.

  6. @ Justin Boland

    SH has been on tour with Rock The Bells for half a year now. They've hit Cananda and most of the US. They performed at Paid Dues. They've done Hot 97, Sirus XM, local radio stations, XXL, The Source and other magazines and countless online interviews. They had a freaking media day that Budden broadcasted live.

    How can you say they neglected the other venues?

  7. Honestly. I'm too broek to be buying all these records. If I had the money--I would. But I dont think you need record sales to prove anything. A Good album/good music will be recognized by listeners. Fuck getting shit on the radio/on top 40 lists.
    There's no way the masses are gonna stop buying Fabulous's albums to listen to some real shit---not in this day in age.

  8. @Cannon

    Then I am totally wrong on that and I definitely appreciate the correction.


    Just caught a weird detail -- why are you saying The Firm never sold well? It went platinum. It hit #1 on billboard. That's not a successful supergroup? Granted, they never did another album...but their one album, it did pretty well.

  9. Wait Ivan--- didn't you feel the Mood Muziks? I basically agree about Joey's beat selection and I do prefer Ortiz's content.

  10. @Catalyst

    Maino posted the exact same opening week numbers as Slaughterhouse, 18k units.

  11. I bought the Slaughterhouse album just to support those dudes and I was dissapointed. I'm a fan of Joell really out of all of them. I don't pay much attention to Crooked I even thought I know he can spit. As for Joe, he can spit too but I just don't care for him. Royce is a beast but is monotonous as shit lyrically.

    I agree, these "supergroups" are stupid ideas because the albums come out with no focus or purpose. In other words, no chemistry. Whatever. I'd rather just hear Joell solo personally.

    I went back and listened to that Marco Polo and Torae joint in the whip and realized how good that shit really is.

  12. Cannon you name all those albums, but did they get any promotion?? The only way people heard about these albums is through the net. Lets be serious all those albums you listed did not have a video or just a had 1 promo video. Slaughterhouse was getting mad buzz on the net and people in reality were actually talking about them.

  13. @ Justin, The Firm struggled to go Platinum because after their first week sales everything went abysmal after that. With the huge buzz the firm had no one expected them to struggle to hit platinum because the labels thought with nas, foxy,az,nature,(cormega before he left the group), they had huge buzz that it was expected of them to go multi platinium.

    Going just platinum does not equal success for some artists or groups.

  14. @cannon, after reading your post, i see what you mean disregard my early post.

  15. Some points about The Firm.

    Dre called it a flop.

    1 mill in those days wasnt great. Puffy did 7m I think. Pac did. Biggie sold 10m of LAD.

    In the years afterwards, every decent rapper could break even 2 million. Dudes like Luda and Busta.

    So 1x Platinum can be called a flop in that case, seeing as you have a CD with input from Nas, Foxy and Dre who could all push platinum on their own..

    In '09 1 million is frankly amazing. Going gold is no longer a weak showing, its quite an achievement.

  16. I may have disagreed with what the Smoking Section had for a few reasons. But this post is just stupid.

  17. Listen

    REAL OR FAKE FANS, you guys don't buy albums, that is the plain and simple truth, you guys do not buy albums, whether it is good or not, but if it is great, or could of been great, than people buy, that is just the facts.

    No one of the Internet Erkels have gone on to do anything, look at Asher, I mean, did he go gold yet, Fabolous will sale because people, real people that go to clubs and ride in cars and hang on corners and blocks and at other real people house, actually like the music, I can bang Fab all day, imagine listening to half these get high dudes, that what they are, get high dudes, they suck, most of them really suck and would never have gotten signed in 85, 95 or even 05, now the barrier for entry is so low that, a small buzz on your you tube page can get you an invite, and the people that work at the labels are all nerds, been to an industry party lately, wonder why you see, straight corny dudes with hot girls, plain and simple the nerds run things

    But the only problem with that is, they don't buy anything, they are frugal, barely shop and when they do it is at vintage stores, salvation army, old navy, tight pants and t's, that is what hip hop has become full of, corny ass dudes, and thats the reason records are not selling

    People are tooooooo busy speaking on music than listening, "the beats were not bangin" who did the beats, who scored the album, who plugged in the amp during the first studio session, who gives a f..k

    When did it become a soap opera, people listed all the things that Joey did that made them not listen to his music, the dude Kramer is a racist, does that make Seinfeld any less funny, we didn't know about rappers lives, KRS and Ms. Melody been broke up, did we care, no, whatever keep it moving, did we care if Kane or Ra, or G Rap were a holes no, G Rap was wooping Superhead ass (according to her) did that make Streets of NY any less dope, NO

    Stop worrying about whether someone sneakers are official, from a freaking Asian sweatshop, they all come from the same place, just because one doesn't have the marketing associated with it.

    A talented shoe designer does a one off for Pay less, if it was Nike you dudes would be around the corner waiting, idiots, but I love ya'll

    Sunday HH Times

  18. Way to generalise us all Sunday.

    SH didnt sell cos they're nothing special.

    Great music still sells. SH aint that great.

  19. Do you really care about these rappers lives that much? 2pac got his damn testicle blown off, Jigga fucked Nas' girl, ______ got his chain snatched, P was a balerina, yada, yada, yada...... if the music is good, its are just another stan, wu has not dropped a dope album since 1997. let me repeat that......1997. they all fell off. only built 4 cuban linx is a classic, but naming some shit part 2 and thinking its gonna sell....whatever..the tracks i heard are ehhhh my copy to bang in the whip

  20. leave it to the critics to live off of controversial topics and little to no substance.

    you who wrote the article is an idiot. thanks for wasting my time hoping you had relevance.

    it really doesn't matter if you sell... cause the fans still bumping your shit and any artist with integrity just wants to be heard. all this industry and record sales shit is for the birds. any good artist will make more money on ticket sales/touring(not some pop tour but touring most of the year around the world) while making small records and collabs with those you meet along the way and collecting almost all profits personally...otherwise your just caught up with some b.s. you'll never understand.

  21. I'm probably the least controversy-riding blogger in the game so...

    But to respond to your comment: Like I always say, the opinion of anyone who confuses "your" with "you're" is usually worthless.

  22. Can't we just blame it on the al-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-cohol and call it the day.

    Oh yeah, the album was not bad but hte beat could have been better and Joe's f-ery really has held down the groups momentum. Oh well, back to getting in trouble with Google Blogger's Po-Lice.

  23. nay, it is the person that holds onto and points out that your and you're are often confused when lightly thinking over a blog post. what is rellavant are the points, not the grammar. take the loss on that note and address the points and how you actually agree or better put feel the same way about touring. or be a grammar queen as if it matters to some one that knows you know what they mean and could care less about being on point in a e-comment section.

  24. Wow, I completely agree with every point in this post. That rarely happens.
    Personally, I can't stand Buddens. I might have given him another chance, but he just had to say that Wu fans were idiots in one of his fag laced rants.
    I didn't even get all the way through the Slaughterhouse album.
    Not my cup of tea, beatwise.
    Just basically, Motherfuck a joe Buttons!
    Makin Jersey look bad n shit.

  25. Lots of Joe Budden hate in here. You can't be a fan of Wu, AND still like Joe, or Slaughterhouse? Too conflicted? (Really, walking and chewing bubble gum at the same time don't require that much brain power.) Granted, it may have hurt the group a little. (Not 18k worth.) No matter. Either way, it's a sad time for Hip Hop. Not many records are selling. Lyrics fail to move units, and bullshit prevails again. The same ol', same ol'. I thought the beats could have been a little harder, but the Slaughterhouse album was still pretty damn TOUGH. But if it's mediocrity you clowns continue to want and PAY FOR, then that's what you get. Eat up. Wash it down with a cup of OJ the fuckin Juiceman.


  26. How about this: The album blows. Plain and simple. And the term 'supergroup' apparently is used more liberally than it should be. Budden has never been anything other than trash. Crooked I, as dope as he really may be, has never managed to imppress many, and his time came and went nearly a decade ago without his cashing in. 85% of Royce's dopeness comes from his Preemo beats, since he suffers from beat-selection-itis on par with Budden's. The only reason to even check the album is Joell Ortiz, who is quickly f-cking his situation up beyond belief. If Joell's current trend continues, he'll be able to bite Poet's supposed upcoming album title "The Best That Never Did It" at some point during the next decade. And here's an idea to just about everyone: Internet Hip Hop heads don't really exist, at least not in the single mindedness that some people would like to present them as. I mean, who DOESN'T use the internet to check up on hip hop in some form or fashion in this day and age? And tryna pretend that even the hardest of the hardcore online heads have similar taste is ludacris. The only people who could genuineley believe this are small-minded youngsters.

    So in conclusion, f-ck the Slaughterhouse album and anyone who couldn't see their lack of success coming from a mile away. And when dissecting why it didn't sell well or why 'real heads' don't like it, don't forget to cite as one of the contributing factors the fact that the album is blander than bland, and that the 1 sub-par, 2 mediocre, and 1 quickly-fading emcees in the group were outdone in their lacklusterness only by the beat selection.

    DJ Premier, do us all a favor and get at Joell Ortiz to revive his potential career!

  27. WoW at above comment

  28. damn...i like the SH of the better discs after Mos Def this year...don't care what Joe Budden does on camera as it doesn't color my headphone's funny that all the points that Ivan (really enjoy your site, man) brings up are addressed in Budden's "Who pt1-3"...rap fans have grown used to the bootleg price and fantasy rap leagues

  29. I really don't think Wu fans had much to do with this. Am a wu FAN-ATIC but still appreciate SH and still think Rebel INS's diss was WEAK and Rae's alleged punch was silly!! Was joe thinking about platinum sales??? I guess not,dudes shud be happy they got 18K units in this time and age!! By the way,I need to cop me the

  30. This article was on point. Im a real hip hop lover who digs nothing less than classic material. Slaughterhouse is not classic material. The beats sucked the subject matter or lack of subject also sucked. Joe Budden should stop video bloggin so much and get in touch with music . Come with some original music with style and concepts. Witty wordplay is not enough put some knowledge and culture in those tracks . Say something besides I was poor.

  31. Someone should point out that even if it was 1997 these fucktards couldn't sell even more. Of course there is a lot music which is just great and never sold anything recognizable. (for example: Real Live, School of Hard Knocks, devin the Dude...). But I see a scary trend of celebratining the biggest losers as "underdogs". I mean Joe Budden "Pu-Pu-Pump it up"??? WTF? And If I here the term "spit" ever again I will vomit.What about doing just ONE recognizable song?? Practicing your craft? Instead they pump diariah-like mixtapes into the world with no direction at all and expect us to buy their weak ass subprime albums. To quote Soprano's HHersh: "If it's a hit, it's a hit! And these fools have no hit at all. Learn perhaps from East Flatbush Project. One Single (Tried by 12) 12 years ago. Still a great record today. Slaughtahouse -> not only commercially but artitically irrelevant

  32. SH is tight.The beats weren't so bad.The lyrics were above par to me and I could listen to it all day.Lets kick the joe budden personal ish to the curd and focus on the real talent within this group.Don't let the BS blind our judgment.STay sharp

  33. i couldn't care less about "real" hip hop dying....i fucking hate that term.
    SH might excite a few nerdy bloggers but their MUSIC is trash...plain and simple.
    there are gazillions of better albums that have dropped in 09 that aren't getting half of the amount of hype these trashbags have that's something to cry about

  34. I'm an older head. I used to buy a lot of albums when they came out back in the 90's. Nowadays it's way to saturated. You have the MTV rappers getting play then the underground blog rappers giving away free music. It's way too much to even keep up with. I didn't download the leak but I heard some of the tracks and I didn't think it was worth me giving my hard earned money to. If it's dope then I'll cop it. For me if I know I'm not going to listen to it over and over and it's not classic at this point it's just wasting money. As far as caring about personal lives... budden is the one putting it out there. Back in the day KRS and Ms. Melody weren't out on front street telling everyone their business. Also Asher Roth sucks... that is all

  35. I'm a wu fan that tried so hard to remain unbiased and give slaughterhouse a listen mainly because i love joell ortiz. it was a solid album. but any rapper.....and i mean ANY RAPPER dissing melle mel even as a publicity stunt doesn't deserve my support. maybe when he grows up i'll go out and cop a slaughterhouse album.

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