Kxng Crooked Is Brutally Honest About The Breakup Of Slaughterhouse (Video)
Today (March 15), Drink Champs released its episode with Xzibit. Notably, another Southern California-based lyricist also guested on the show. Kxng Crooked (aka Crooked I) joined N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN’s round-table alongside Mr. X-To-The-Z. In a two-hour discussion, the show played host to some of Crook’s most revealing thoughts surrounding the 2018 disbanding of Slaughterhouse.
Just under one year ago, the Long Beach, California MC made an announcement that shocked some fans. “I’ve been sober for two years. Let me tell you a secret: sober Crook likes to rap. [Slaughterhouse] ain’t rapping [together] no more and that’s fine. It was fun while it lasted,” Crooked I told fans in a video published last April. He also addressed the group’s third album, which had been in the works for years. “Glass House, I have no clue. All I can tell you [is] it exists. If it comes out, I’ll retweet it. Other than that, it’s all love. Everybody who supported me in Slaughterhouse, thank you.”
In the days that followed, Royce 5’9 confirmed that the quartet was done. Joell Ortiz addressed the disbanding on his Mona Lisa album with Apollo Brown late last year, including some insight during an interview with AFH TV. However, since 2018, of the four members of the group, nobody has had more to say than Joe Budden.
Budden’s outspoken nature on his media platforms may have played a very significant role in the timeline of events. On December 13, 2017’s Everyday Struggle episode, Joe Budden declared, “[Eminem’s song] [‘Untouchable’ is] trash. One of the worst songs I’ve ever heard.” Elsewhere in the program, he called the song “disgraceful,” and laid blame to the Shady Records team. A week later, on episode #141 of The Joe Budden Podcast, the veteran New Jersey-based MC doubled down on that opinion. Notably, Joe’s podcast co-host and co-creator, Rory Farrell, also appears briefly on the newest Drink Champs episode, seated across the table from Crooked I. Rory was not planned to appear, but happened to be in the audience and was invited to join the discussion.
Kxng Crooked joins the Xzibit conversation at the 1:03:00 mark. At 1:11:00, Crooked I is asked about Joe Budden’s impact on the group disbanding. The guest begins addressing Budden’s late 2017 remarks that eventually led to a high-profile beef with Eminem. “I just felt like [Joe Budden’s] approach was wrong. If you don’t like something, ‘It’s not for me,’ [or] ‘Yo, I don’t like it,’ [or], [Eminem’s] the homie, [but] this ain’t for me.’ But when you say something is ‘trash,’ you sh*t on Paul Rosenberg’s rollout, you’re taking it a little further.”
The guest continues, “And then I know the backstory; I know that there were some issues that [Joe Budden] felt against the label. You’re not giving [Eminem] a fair critique now, ’cause now you’ve got malice behind what you’re saying; it’s personal. My whole thing was like, just keep it a buck.”
Last year began with Eminem making a “Chloraseptic (Remix)” including new lyrics that many—including D12’s Bizarre—believed were in response to Joe Budden’s words. By last August’s sneak-attack album, Kamikaze, Eminem left nothing to suspicion. Less than a week after the release, Em showcased the “Fall” video, containing the bars, “Somebody tell Budden before I snap, he better fasten it or have his body bag get zipped / The closest thing he’s had to hits is smackin’ b*tches.”
In response to the album, Joe Budden released a fiery episode of his podcast. In addition to unpacking a history of tensions between he and Marshall surrounding the marketing, assistance, and creative input of Slaughterhouse, the retired MC alleged that he’d been a better rapper and than Eminem for the last decade. The host yelled his points throughout the episode, stating that he’d be willing to respond to Em’ in a song, if his opponent gave him something worth responding to.
Back on the new Drink Champs, Kxng Crooked points to that September podcast as evidence that these feelings had been seeded for some time. “Eventually, it came out with, ‘I felt like I was better than Em’ for [the last] 10 years,’ [and more].” Crooked asserts that Joe’s anger towards Em’ and label head Paul Rosenberg was not used in context for his scathing Revival criticism.
At 1:14:00, N.O.R.E. says that he possibly questions the merits of Budden’s argument regarding Rap superiority over the last decade. In response, Crooked I says, “Every MC is supposed to feel like they’re the best, so I’ll give [him] that. Now that you’ve said that, I think you’ve got to back it up with more than just a statement. ‘Cause Em’ came at you, where you at, Joe? You said that you was better than him for the past 10 years. He gave you a few bars. You gotta back it up now; you just said this. If you don’t back it up, I don’t think even you believe [it is true].” Xzibit, who has worked extensively with Eminem adds, “You can’t just say [you are not responding because of] retirement. All bets are off.”
Crooked I continues, questioning Joe Budden’s appreciation and loyalty to Eminem and Shady. “I feel like Joe forgot [about the helping hand] when he was saying what he was saying. I don’t forget solid sh*t; that’s just not how I’m cut.” He suggests that earlier, Budden needed help that Eminem and Shady provided. To further illustrate, Crook’ recalls an early 2000s meeting with Suge Knight and N.O.R.E. in a Manhattan recording studio. He says that he forever remembers Noreaga’s help in a time when the Death Row co-founder and star artist wanted to make sure they were safe on the East Coast. “I never forget solid sh*t. So I would think as long as Em’ and Paul didn’t cross him in some type of way, I would think [Joe Budden] would have enough respect to be like, ‘Yo, I ain’t gon’ step on the gas on this one.'”
At 1:18:00, Kxng Crooked reveals how Joe’s 2017 words ultimately botched plans for Glass House. “It definitely affected Slaughterhouse. Because me and Royce [5’9] was working behind the scenes, trying to get the [Glass House] album out to the people. [The ‘Untouchable] critique] was like a grenade; he took the pin out and tossed that b*tch,” says the guest with a chuckle.
Addressing Joe’s podcast points from last September, Kxng Crooked also defends Eminem’s input. Budden was critical of Eminem not giving the group the proper push, compared to 50 Cent, D12, and earlier Shady successes. “I believe we came in at a time on Shady where Em’ didn’t have to do so much sh*t. He was used to having one formula to make things rock. But that formula was changing with the times,” explains Crook. Last year, Joe was also critical of Eminem’s production, beat choices, and creative input on a group that had released one album before signing with Shady. In an interview with Sway Calloway produced by Shady, Eminem responded to those charges.
Crooked I seemingly agrees with Marshall. “So what Em’ did, he said, ‘Okay, that first round [with welcome to: OUR HOUSE], that’s on me. Y’all go back in and make another album, and I’ma just let y’all rock. Whatever y’all wanna do, handle it the way y’all want to handle it. Roll it out how you want to roll it out, just do you.’ We all agreed and went back into the lab.” It is here that the C.O.B. founder says he is most frustrated. “That’s my problem [with what happened]: if you agree to go back and record another album and give it another shot, why is we still talking about [welcome to: OUR HOUSE]?” Kxng Crooked seemingly suggests that Budden remained displeased with the group album, instead of seizing the opportunity surrounding a follow-up album. Moreover, the California veteran says he relocated to New York City for six weeks to work on that unreleased LP. “Then the team broke up.”
N.O.R.E. asks if the guest considered the group of four solo MCs “a brotherhood.” Kxng Crooked responds, “I thought it was. Then, at times, I say, ‘I don’t think it was.'” Moments later he says, “I’m just cut different; I got three Slaughterhouse tattoos. When it was goin’ down, if anybody was in trouble, I was there with ’em. It was just a different scenario.” N.O.R.E. and Crooked I bring up Joe Budden’s late 2000s beef with Wu-Tang Clan. Kxng Crooked admits that fallout from that short-lived beef involving a physical 2009 altercation with Raekwon, cost him relationships with his circle.
At 85:30, N.O.R.E. says that after witnessing the 2018 breakup of Slaughterhouse he has faith for a reunion. Royce, Crooked, and Joell worked together on the remix to “Timberlan’d Up” late last year. “I don’t think it’s over,” says the Capone-N-Noreaga co-founder. Quickly, Crook’ puts those notions to bed. “It’s a wrap on that one.”
At 1:03:00 Rory enters and joins. N.O.R.E. asks the new guest if there will be a Slaughterhouse again. “This is an ambush; I want to get this on record,” responds The Joe Budden Podcast co-host who previously worked at Def Jam and Sony Records. “I saw Crook’ outside; Crook’ is love all day. This is a total ambush; I just want to make that clear…Slaughterhouse is none of my business. Why would y’all ask me about Slaughterhouse?” He charges that Crooked I and Joe Budden’s relationship is an isolated situation. “I can’t objectively talk about Slaughterhouse. One of their members is family to me. That’s their business.”
Ten minutes later, at 1:13:00, Kxng Crooked brings up that the loyal fans will always ask about the group that nearly lasted a decade. “People want to know, that’s how strong the Slaughterhouse brand was.” “Not was, is,” corrects Rory. Moments later, the MC born Dominick Wickliffe reflects on his group. “I don’t know why it’s gone; I know the Em’ sh*t played a big part in it…” In the next breath, Crook’ affirms his loyalty to Eminem, who he worked with nearly a decade before Slaughterhouse.
At 1:55:00 N.O.R.E. asks Rory if he thinks Joe went too far with his Eminem criticism. “I think a lot of the things that Joe [was quoted as saying] were made up, if you go back and look at what he [actually] said on Everyday Struggle. I think it got blown out of proportion. I think a lot of sh*t went to [headlines].” He adds, “Just knowing Joe personally, and how much he loves Em’, and respects him, sh*t got blown outta proportion, dog.”
As Rory speaks, Xzibit shoots Crooked I a look. The LBC native interrupts, “He used the word ‘trash,’ and I think that was—” Rory interrupts, asking about the context of the word. Kxng Crooked states that it was in reference to “Untouchable.” “[Joe Budden] said, ‘It’s trash, throw it in the rice,’ or some sh*t. You know what Joe be sayin’. But yeah, I mean, that’s going too far.”
In response Rory aligns with his podcast co-host’s opinion. “I don’t think he was buggin'” Kxng Crooked interjects, “Well, I think he was. I know you don’t want to have that conversation, yeah, but my whole thing is, like I was sayin’, dog, if you got a lil’ issue with somebody, pass on the critique of their album and their singles. Because, how can you be fair? How can you come from a place where you’re just listening to it [while] setting your personal feelings to the side? I don’t think so.”
Crooked I continues, “See, me and Royce, we were very hands-on with Slaughterhouse. From the beginning to end…we really went in the trenches for Slaughterhouse. You get me? So when you go in the trenches like that, if you got a communication line with your brothers, then you talk to your brothers. ‘Yo, this is what I’m about to do. Is this gonna harm anything that you guys are doing to try and get Glass House out right now? ‘Cause I don’t like my time to be wasted. If I’m flying from Cali’ to New York, sittin’ in them offices, fighting for this Glass House sh*t, on my own time, let me know if you’re gonna throw a grenade at [somebody]. Just let me know, and I won’t get on that plane. You feel me?”
As Kxng Crooked finishes his sentence, Rory gets up and exits the room without a goodbye. With a belly-laugh, Kxng Crooked claims, “It got awkward.” Seconds later, the episode ends.
Earlier in the Drink Champs episode, Crooked I makes a powerful point about his former boss, Suge Knight. The once feared record exec, who is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence for the killing of Terry Carter, made the MC his flagship artist between late 1999 and the mid-2000s. Despite that tenure, Crooked I never released his Say Hi To The Bad Guy debut solo album while signed to the legendary label. Like Kurupt and Michel’le, he was also offered an executive position by the Compton, California native.
At 1:53:00, Kxng Crooked says, “He wanted to give me an exec job, at one point. I know Kurupt had a job.” N.O.R.E. suggests that Dame Dash bit from Knight when he appointed Cam’ron to be Roc-A-Fella Records’ president. “Suge is like this: ‘I’m gonna go meet with Lyor [Cohen], and I want you to learn the game and get your business IQ up, so I’m gonna take you with me. So you can just soak up game.’ That’s how Suge was. He wanted to do retirement funds for artists, he wanted to do [healthcare for artists]. But every time he tried to do something on that level, he got resistance from the powers that be. And sometimes that resistance comes in the form of the Feds knocking at your door.”
In 1996, the FBI reportedly investigated the label founded by Knight and Dr. Dre. The L.A. Times reported the probe the same month that label star Tupac Shakur was fatally wounded in Las Vegas, Nevada. Knight, who was with Pac during that incident and also hit with gunfire, was eventually sentenced to prison for violating probation that night. After Knight was released, in the early 2000s, the FBI raided Death Row’s Beverly Hills offices, and various properties, including Crooked I’s home.