Emerging onto the stage one by one -- Crooked I first, followed by Joell Ortiz and then Royce da 5'9" and, finally, Joe Budden -- the members of Slaughterhouse came together like a perfect storm and immediately proceeded to murder the game. Royce da 5'9" climbed a speaker almost straight off and demanded that the lights get turned all the way off, and the crew went into "Sound Off" in the relative darkness, sending the capacity crowd into an absolute frenzy.
Each of the four members of Slaughterhouse is a force in his own right, so to see them come together so seamlessly as a group is pretty incredible to witness. They introduced each other with the gusto of sports announcers, and as they rocked hits from their self-titled full-length, the MCs left plenty of room for each other.
On "Not Tonight," the guys backed each other up in perfect rap harmony and highlighted the Slaughterhouse rhyme skills to the fullest, and the crowd -- which the group interacted with like old friends -- ate it up. Slaughterhouse's major debut dropped in 2009 -- a lifetime ago in the world of hip-hop -- so it was great seeing fan reaction to their lyricism with serious recognition of the songs.
Taking a moment to let each individual member's work shine, Budden performed "Pump It Up," and when Royce's turn came up, he chose to let Eminem's track, "Lose Yourself," play for a little longer than was comfortable (it's long been rumored that Royce has ghost-written for Eminem, so this moment was interesting). Em or no Em, the crowd lost their minds.
The most memorable moment of the night came when Ortiz took a moment to sing over Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgetting," at the behest of his bandmates, while the crowd grooved and cheered at the old-school moment. Ortiz seemed to play the most solid facilitator, effortlessly backing his group members up with his fierce rap voice. Budden was standoffish and slightly moody, perfect for his character, while Crooked I was so comfortable he could have rapped to the adoring crowd all night.
Earlier in the evening, Foodchain otherwise turned in the most impressive set of the evening. If you've seen the act's set as many times as we have, it was easy to see where the guys have added in new elements and tightened up their live show. From the opening to the closing, there were little perks and quirks that made their live show better than ever.
Flowalition, meanwhile, kicked rhymes that were revolutionary and pretty insightful and were most definitely a favorite among the crowd. We've seen them rock before, but this is the first time we've really gotten to watch their set. The music is definitely tight. At the beginning of the night, Mr. Midas did what he could with an early stoic crowd, while SP Double got them moving a little more. Chants of "Loyalty Honor Respect!" ricocheting throughout the venue during his set.
Personal Bias: Slaughterhouse!!!! I love rappers.
Random Detail: Yonnas of BLKHRTS was moving through the audience shrouded in black.
By The Way: Foodchain should add the intro of each MC into the dynamic closing part of their show. P.S. -- Mic Coats, I see you.
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