DX: We have to ask about Slaughterhouse. We’ve spoken about the fulfilling sides of working as a group. What has been the most frustrating aspect of recording this project, welcome to: Our House?
Crooked I: The most frustrating thing, bro, to be honest with you, is that some people, not the fans, but some people show resistance when Slaughterhouse doesn’t do 80 bars, seven-minute songs. We all have individual lives. We all want to create music that reflects our lives. We can’t just go in and do 60 bars apiece every time. You can’t do that on every song. With certain people, if you give them a song that reflects how we feel in life or whatever, just some regular shit, they’ll say, “Nah, this ain’t Slaughterhouse! I want to hear you slay sucka emcees in a battle rap.” No, dog. We are artists. We make music for people to relate to. That’s the most frustrating thing, when people try to put Slaughterhouse in a box. “This is the only thing we want to hear from you guys. If you don’t do that, fuck you.” That’s basically how some shit is. They really feel like that. Why come I can’t express how I feel? I go to strip clubs. I can’t make a song like [Tyga’s] “Rack City?” I’m in strip clubs all the time. I’m a fuckin’ strip club aficionado. I’ve been in clubs all over the world, not just in America, and they know who I am when I walk in. I have fun. I can’t make a song about that? That’s part of my life. I thought I was rapping about my life but “Nah, we don’t want to hear that from Slaughterhouse. We want that lyrical, miracle.” That’s the most frustrating part.
DX: On this mixtape, there is a lot of diversity. How do you approach the group album and then this solo project, in terms of what you want to provide for the album?
Crooked I: The group album is about four people coming together saying, “What if we do this?” If we all agree, we do it. “What if we do this?” If we don’t agree, we don’t do it. Solo shit is like, “What if I do this?” And you do it! You hit and miss. It ain’t all gonna be fly shit. With the group it’s much easier for me too. All I have to do is contribute to 33.3% of the song [laughing]. I don’t gotta do 3 verses, possibly my own hook, an intro and outro. I just have to come in, we figure out what we want to rap about and bang, I go and do my job. If it’s not up to par, I go back and do it again. Still, that’s only two verses. Even if I have to redo some shit, that’s only two verses! Opposed to when you’re solo, the pressure’s on you to make that shit hot. You have 3 minutes and 45 seconds to keep the listener’s attention, solo. If you don’t, they’re gonna fry you on the Internet [Laughs hard] So, I love being in Slaughterhouse.
DX: Creatively, that’s gotta give you a different perspective too. That has to keep things interesting.
Crooked I: Yeah, because in your own mind, you have created your own world. You know what you wanna rap about and what you wanna do. But in the minds of four different people, what if this guy says, “Let’s make a rap about this,” and you’ve never thought about doing that in your whole life? So, now you’re sitting there like, “How would I approach this?” That’s the challenge but that’s the dope shit. I think artists should challenge themselves. I think everyone should challenge themselves. But it’s a beautiful thing. Slaughterhouse is one of the greatest things to ever happen in my career. To me, I’m a Hip Hop fan, first and foremost and I believe that Slaughterhouse –the group itself, fuck the music – the group has brought Hip Hop together. You have different regions together, unified. That symbol of unity is big in itself. Before we even make one fuckin’ song, you’re tellin’ me there’s a group with east and west in it? That itself is big. Then the music is coming out the right way so I’m like, “This shit is dope.” As a fan, sometimes, when we’re doing a show, I just wish I could be in the crowd, bro, to just watch that shit as a fan of Hip Hop. It don’t have to be Slaughterhouse but as a fan to see people coming form four different cities, grouping up together, unifying, having a good time on stage and representing one thing: Hip Hop. I would love to see that shit.
DX: What has been the most challenging cut you had to sit down and analyze before writing?
Crooked I: Well, “Move On” was challenging. It challenged us to say some real shit that was uncomfortable. It was early on in the group. Right now, if somebody said, “Let’s do this concept,” we’d be like, “Alright. Cool.” Right now, we’re brothers. We started off as people who respected each other, graduated to friends and graduated to brothers. But at that time, when “Move On” was introduced, we didn’t know each other like that to just go in the booth and spill our hearts out and shit [laughing]. That was very interesting. When we did the XXL cover with Em, they played the “Move On” joint. I think that was the first time Em heard that shit. He had heard the album and all that but I think that was the first time he heard that shit. You know, there’s some sensitive things being said in “Move On.” I could catch him looking. I was looking at him. He was like, “Yo! I love that song!” You know? That’s the dope part. If you express yourself for real, for real, people will receive it, even if you think you’ll offend somebody. I could have easily offended people with my verse. I said something about people waiting on Detox and Interscope [Records] and now I get my checks from Interscope. You know? That’s how I was feeling at the time. I always say, “Go with your feelings. Don’t be disrespectful. Just be truthful and honest.”