Joe Budden & Royce 5’9 Review The Rise & Fall Of Slaughterhouse
Earlier this month, on March 11, Kxng Crooked and Joell Ortiz released their second collaborative album as a duo. While 2020’s H.A.R.D. was recognized for two elite MCs representing one-half of Slaughterhouse coming together, 2022’s LP was far more provocative. The Rise & Fall Of Slaughterhouse arrived with new information about one of the most exciting Hip-Hop groups of the late 2000s and early 2010s, and created a house divided. Since late February, Joell and Crook have positioned themselves apart from former band-mates Joe Budden and Royce 5’9. Promotional videos that symbolically ended the group prompted arguments on social media, and now the album itself gave way to Joe and Royce reviewing the final product.
Royce 5’9 traveled to join episode #517 of The Joe Budden Podcast. At 21:00, Budden defends his decision to retire from Rap after his 2016 Rage & The Machine album and says he wishes two of his band-mates respected his choices. “I’m sad—not about nothin’ creative; ni**as could do whatever they want to do. I’m sad that that was the end of the movie. I ain’t expect to see that end of the movie, and that’s what it is.” In the last month, it’s been revealed that the four MCs liberated their brand and contract from Shady Records during 2021. The Crook and Joell album was recorded months after calls, meetings, and discussions transpired about issues ranging from merchandise strategy to a major label offer (brokered by Kxng Crooked) that would bring Budden out of retirement and release a third album from the quartet. There are differing views over whether the discussion of deal points meant rejection. While Joe requested additional information, Royce reportedly rejected a counteroffer that would extend Slaughterhouse’s legacy as a three-man group.
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Royce chimes in, “I’m real big on my time [and] people valuing my time. When I seen that sh*t, and I heard that music, it’s the end,” Nickel says of the Joell and Crooked’s 2022 album. “The life of Slaughterhouse flashed before my eyes—all of the memories, all of the time, all of the sweat equity. It’s everything that we put into it. It was a lot of work, man.” Moments later, he alleges, “We’re all taking the same L here, bro. I have no reason to turn something that you’re bringing to the table, in a situation that I helped build with you—we own together. Why would I go away from that? If it was just about money, with me, then I could have been like, ‘Peace y’all. I’m gonna go over here and be Mr. Bad Meets Evil.'” After Slaughterhouse’s first album, Royce reunited with Eminem to make a B.M.E. full-length at Shady Records that earned Royce a gold plaque and mainstream accolades. However, months after Hell: The Sequel, he rejoined Slaughterhouse for their own Shady Records LP, welcome to: Our House. Royce also adds that liberating Slaughterhouse’s brand from Eminem’s label during 2021 inevitably complicates matters for his longtime personal relationship. “How’s that work, when Marshall finds out, ‘Yeah, well Royce wants to take the brand off the label’?”
Joe mentions the timing of the album. “You go through all of those things to not even let a year go by? I’m not dealin’ with these stupid-ass fans, ‘Aw, y’all sat around for a year.’ Do y’all know what happens in a year?” Royce also rejects comments made in the March album that Slaughterhouse could reunite to diss opponents, including 2021 Royce opponent Lupe Fiasco. “No, I don’t want to do any of those things,” Joe contests. He also mentions Joell’s verse on “Coastin’,” which Budden alleges is based on hearsay—not facts. “That’s the album that you wanted me to promote? With you sayin’ ‘That’s not my man’ ‘You be on Clubhouse’ ‘You was on Love & Hip-Hop,‘ ‘You ain’t sh*t,’ ‘I was poppin’ when the group got together, you wasn’t.’ All of that’s cool, and that’s your sh*t, but you can’t make your sh*t be mine.'” In early March, Joell accused Joe and Royce of failing to promote his solo and joint efforts with Crooked during a tense Instagram Live chat that ended with harsh words.
Joe Budden, Royce 5’9 And Joell Ortiz Argue About Slaughterhouse & It Ends Badly
At 31:00, Royce expresses frustration at Kxng Crooked for his attitude towards the deal that never reached an agreement. “He acts like he was our connect to the labels or something. Ni**a, we can go to talk to anybody at any label, bro. We hadn’t even went and spoke to anybody.” He proposes that the quartet could have ignited a bidding war or self-funding the project in the current climate. Moments later, he says, “Stay away from me” to his former band-mates. “Joell, Crook, just stay away from me with that energy. Don’t come nowhere near me.” Royce mentions elsewhere in the podcast that he has provided studio time and verses to both Joell and Crook without asking for a dollar. “Who is you playin’ with? Why are you playing with me? If you’re mad at Joe, play with Joe—don’t f*ckin’ play with me.” The segment bleeps name-calling (as did the audio version).
At 39:00, Royce speaks about how important acquiring the brand was to his life and career. “Anything I’ve ever chased in my life, has ran from me,” he says, likely alluding to rushing out a group album with the deal Crooked I brought to the table. “I must live in the center of my truth. My name is the only thing I’ve ever had—outside of Slaughterhouse. Slaughterhouse is the first thing that I owned in this business. Other than that, the most important thing to me was always my name. My name is my name, and it’s very important that you speak it a certain way, and I’m in control of how you speak that.” The statement comes after a 2021 where Lupe Fiasco and then Mickey Factz both dissed Royce 5’9—using his name as a weapon in the verbal warfare. The Detroit, Michigan native is upset that after being respectful towards others, he is told to chill when tensions escalate. He admits that he is emotionally invested in Slaughterhouse before venting that he has publicly praised Kxng Crooked’s rapping talent for years.
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Royce then moves into the economics of Slaughterhouse. Responding to allegations that he treated Crook with inferiority, Royce says, “You know how you treat somebody less than? You pay them less.” He points out that Slaughterhouse has never paid itself. Whereas Wu-Tang Clan has been public about its tiered pay scale, Slaughterhouse was treated something equally divided by four artists. “They can say, ‘Yo, Joe’s the biggest one.’ That’s subjective, bruh. That’s energy, that’s numbers, that’s a lot of [subjective opinion]. We’re all being paid the same. That’s the brass tax facts.” Royce responds to allegations of lack of support, “Let’s pull up some tracklists.” In 2018, he appeared on “Timberlan’d Up” from Apollo Brown & Joell Ortiz’s Mona Lisa album, which added Crooked I for a noteworthy remix. “Show me a screenshot of an email where you sent me something and I didn’t rap on it. Please. Name a time—name a time I built something outside of the paradigm of Slaughterhouse and I didn’t include ni**as.”
Royce also admits that he has had issues with Budden over the years. However, the two men come back together. “If he stabs you, it’s gonna be from the front—right in front of your face. If he goes public and he speaks, he’s gonna speak for him; he’s not gonna speak for me. He left the group plenty of times, but he left the group. He didn’t take it upon himself to tell the world that the group is over—without talkin’ to the group. That’s some h*e-ass sh*t to do. If he did that, it would be world war 5, and the fans would be behind ni**as because he would be easy to go against. These ni**as is playing the victim now, and it’s hard to believe they would just lie like that. So it just makes us look liars. To me, I take that as disrespect. That’s literally like [shooting up] a shed with me and him sitting in it, and you’re intending on hitting him, but I’m getting grazed with all kinds of bullets. And you just [say], ‘You didn’t die though; did you die?'”
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Joe’s podcast co-hosts, Ice, Ish, and Parks state that they encouraged him not to respond. The popular podcast offers promotion to the independent album. “It’s a troll-out,” notes Parks, who worked extensively on the unreleased Glass House album, as well as solo material from the group MCs. “Don’t drag me into goofy sh*t, bruh,” Royce charges.
Joe and Royce also discuss over a month of documentary video footage surrounding the making of Glass House. After Royce asks where it is, Joe says, “We can’t release that footage.” Royce asks why not. “We can’t tell ’em why not.” “Yes we can,” Nickel charges. “Crooked didn’t want us to release the footage. Because…who the f*ck cares why? He didn’t want us to release the footage. So that’s why we didn’t release the footage. It’s just that simple. I wanted it to be out. If I had it my way—if I felt like it was fair for me to take it upon myself and just do some sh*t and ‘speak my truth,’ I could just release the footage. But I didn’t, because I love Crooked and I have integrity. Whatever we get from that—whatever’s gonna come from the fans seeing what’s perceived, for me, as my truth, is not worth what it’s gonna do to our relationship.” The point is used to contrast The Rise & Fall Of Slaughterhouse, and its promotional videos. “[Kxng Crooked] turns around and does the same sh*t that he’s been complaining about.” Moments later, he elaborates, “Bro, you turned around, and you filmed four webisodes—four videos—and an entire f*cking album and didn’t answer your phone while you were doing it, and blindsided us.”
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Royce argues that he is within his rights to opt out of the three-man version of Slaughterhouse, assuming that Joe would not have agreed to an album offer. He then speaks to Kxng Crooked, “And I [am taking] the same L as you still. Because the album is garbage; [there] ain’t gonna be none of the numbers that you’re looking for—and you just threw us all under the bus, and we all take the same L. Congratulations.” Moments later, he says, “All of this sh*t has been a curve-ball with me, because this isn’t the first run-in I’ve had with ‘friends.’ Like my name has just been associated with this type of sh*t. The difference with the Lupe sh*t: I respect Lupe, because he took a position and he stood on it—and I still disagree with that position. But at least he was like ‘f*ck you’ about it. ‘Whatever, ni**a; I ain’t speakin’ to you no more.’ And I feel like he was wrong. And I feel like I played a part in it; some of the things I did was wrong—he ain’t owning none of his [mistakes], and he ain’t tryin’ to own none of his sh*t. Bro, I can respect that; I can move on from that. Fine. But to like make everything everybody else’s fault and to be the victim, I can’t do that—not from a real one. Nope nope nope.” Budden chimes in, “And I don’t want to no relationship that’s only there for what they can gain from the relationship.” “It never was that before,” Royce says.
In the closing moments, Royce wants it official. “If the position is [that Kxng Crooked and Joell Ortiz] are relinquishing [their] rights to Slaughterhouse, can we put that on paper? Put your John Hancock with that, big dog. You and Joell. Sign over your rights to the group. Do that for me. You do that—you finish speaking your truth, you get this off, you bask in whatever glory that’s comin’ from it—and I hope you’ve been able to feed your family off of it because, ni**a, I’ll risk our friendship for you to feed your family…that’s just based on me loving you. If I gotta take that L for you to feed your family, I’ll take that L. But yeah, make that official on paper, though. ‘Cause we can come behind you and clean all this up. This is fixable, just not with you ni**as.” Seconds later, “As bad as y’all want to be away from us, we want you ni**as away from us just as bad. So sign off on that, and I guarantee you that nobody will miss you. I’m gonna make sure of it, with the art. I’m gonna show you the right way to do what you were trying to do.”
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After Royce’s deadpan point, Joe smiles and sings, “Sorry for the part I played; my bad” in the closing moments of the one-hour clip.
Last week, Kxng Crooked promoted a snippet from an upcoming episode of Crook’s Corner with Joell Ortiz. Royce previously guested on the platform. Since March 11, the two MCs have released a deluxe edition of The Rise & Fall Of Slaughterhouse, with two new songs. At press time, it does not appear that either artist responded to Royce’s request surrounding ownership.
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#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads‘ What’s The Headline podcast offers a comprehensive timeline of Slaughterhouse’s rise and fall, leading up to Joell Ortiz and Kxng Crooked’s album: