Rap supergroup Slaughterhouse doesn't quantify success in numbers. Following its self-titled debut on E1 Records in 2009, the quartet started work on its sophomore album, "Welcome to Our House." Consisting of Royce Da 5'9", Joe Budden, Crooked I and Joell Ortiz, the group-signed to Eminem's Shady Records in January 2011-believes mainstream acclaim is secondary to what it has already accomplished.
"Eminem is arguably one of the most successful artists in the whole fucking world," Crooked I says. "And he signed Slaughterhouse. You can't get much more successful than being signed to that guy. Wherever the project goes, that's where it goes. Hopefully people will feel the music. I know we put our best foot forward."
On "Welcome to Our House," due Aug. 28 through Shady/Interscope, the foursome builds on its prior projects-including last year's Slaughterhouse EP-with marquee production from No I.D. and AraabMuzik, as well as guest slots from Cee Lo Green, Busta Rhymes, Swizz Beatz and Eminem, the lattermost also producing and mixing the majority of the LP. For Shady Records president Paul Rosenberg, signing the group aligned with the label's respect for rappers who care more about lyricism than scoring a hit.
"The goal is to make a great album and, obviously, if we can get some wider acceptance in the process, we want to do that," Rosenberg says. "I really believe that the [members are] in a group because they are the type of artists they are and make this type of core lyrical hip-hop that not everybody else is making these days."
Under E1, the group had six days to knock out the debut LP, which has sold 77,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and debuted at No. 25 on the Billboard 200. Shady allowed the members to take their time in laying down tracks for the album and have a hand in determining a release date. The four artists scheduled breaks from their solo careers to record "Welcome to Our House" together in a studio, as opposed to shipping verses through the Internet. The benefits of signing with Shady became immediately evident.
"We were just allotted everything with a much greater scale this time," Budden says. "There was much more support and a bigger budget, more brains, more ideas, more people invested." Royce Da 5'9" adds, "This is the first project that I was involved in that I didn't feel was rushed. We made time to get together to record the album together. The fans will actually hear the cohesiveness of that."
Following Yelawolf's 2011 debut, "Radioactive," Slaughterhouse is the first in a line of Shady acts with albums in the queue. In conjunction with Aftermath/Interscope, the imprint has already put out 50 Cent's "New Day," featuring Alicia Keys and Dr. Dre, which precedes the November release of 50's next album, "Street King Immortal." Eminem has begun work on the follow-up to 2010's "Recovery" and last year's "Hell: The Sequel," a collaboration with Royce Da 5'9" under the name Bad Meets Evil. There's a deal in place with Casio and G-Shock in connection with Slaughterhouse and Eminem (both acts kicked off G-Shock's 30th anniversary with a special show in New York in early August), and the label is considering the possibility of a Shady 2.0 tour for next year as long as it makes "financial sense," Rosenberg says.
The label's resurgence is part of a rebranding effort known as Shady 2.0, signaling the imprint's return following a prior incarnation that featured acts including D12, Ca$his and Obie Trice. Mike "Heron" Herard, who co-manages Slaughterhouse with Crystal Leslie, acknowledges Shady's efforts to promote the album through an online video series (the group's YouTube channel has more than 1.7 million views) and international touring.
"It's not about spending a lot of money," Herard says. "They're not expensive. But people are caring to put effort into making things happen. You get on these conference calls and endless shit with things never happening. But someone will follow up with you. It's pretty amazing stuff."
Prior to its Shady debut, Slaughterhouse released a comic book to iTunes on Aug. 14, as well as the single "Throw That" featuring Eminem on Aug. 21. The group also released its DJ Drama-hosted "On the House" mixtape featuring all original music. The penchant for releasing free songs speaks to the respect that the group holds for fans' patience. "If we do something today, we feel like it's old. So we want this mixtape to be fresh, and we're getting it done," Ortiz says. "We want this to be the pregame to the Super Bowl."
While members of the group tease focus on solo careers post-album release, the quartet stays unified-but is willing to cut loose along the way. "As soon as the album comes out, you can find me at the local strip club, hanging off of the Hollywood sign," Crooked I says. "We'll probably do some shows, go out there and have fun with the fans. No doubt."