Getting Crooked I, Royce Da 5’9, Joell Ortiz, and Joe Budden all together in one room is damn near impossible. It took well over a month for this interview to even happen, and when it finally did, front man Joe Budden was missing in action. When Slaughterhouse formed in 2008, it was with the mission to create good music – and piss off as many people as possible. It worked, and by the time their most recent release welcome to: OUR HOUSE arrived, the formula was a tight as possible. The album topped Billboard’s Rap and R&B/Hip Hop charts, and hit the #2 position on the Billboard 200. Not bad for four horsemen who came from all corners of Rap, each bringing their own unique identity. As 2012 closes out, Slaughterhouse is back to focusing on the next steps in their respective careers, while still keeping each other in mind…and in check. They break down filming a video in an insane asylum, along with their maniacal fan base, and putting crack on their tour rider. That last part’s a lie…maybe.
VICE: So when's the last time you guys all got together? Like when's the last time you all saw each other?
Royce Da 5’9: The “Goodbye” video shoot, which was...what was that, a few weeks ago?
Joell: Yeah, about three weeks ago. Yeah, we shot it over here in New York on Roosevelt Island.
Crooked I: Yup, in a mental ward. So it was some crazy people walking around, you know what I'm saying? Shit was kind of weird though. But it was all good though. What was that, Bellevue?
Royce Da 5’9: Shit the crazy thing is, we was the ones looking like crazy people. They was looking at us like, “Who is these crazies?”
Crooked I: You could pretty much put any one of us in there. Come on now. We all got some issues.
How'd they give you access to that place?
Joell Ortiz: Don't worry about all that man, our boss is Eminem! Now ask the questions!
Oh my God. I'm done. But so, did you get to go in rooms and stuff? Were you in padded rooms like the Jodeci “Feenin'” video?
Joell Ortiz: Nah like, it was really dope ill. Like we were in a functioning, working hospital. There were patients walking past, they were just asking us to keep it quiet and just, you know. It was a functioning hospital. It was really ill. Yo, we was having a little meeting and this lady was just standing there filming us.
Crooked I: Yeah, one of the patients walked up and was filming us with their cell phone and we was saying some real Worldstarhiphop shit, you know what I'm saying? Like that shit would have went bananas online if that shit came out, but I don't know if she knows how to really upload because she was looking like you know, she had something slightly wrong with her though. But yeah, it was funny to see her. I turned my back and was like, “Whoa!” She was filming the whole conversation. That shit would be interesting if it came out.
Wow, was she like an older woman or was she like...
Crooked I: Older! She was like an older mental patient man. Picture a mental patient with a cell phone recording you!
Joell Ortiz: Yeah! When we spoke, we spoke to her like, “Heyyy. You can't really film or whatever...” She just looked at us and smiled.
Royce Da 5’9: Mm-hmm!
Then you go back to her room and she's hugging a copy of welcome to: OUR HOUSE, and you had no idea.
Royce Da 5’9:That's ill man.
Joell Ortiz:That would be real ill.
How are you guys handling the success of the album and Slaughterhouse as a group?
Royce Da 5’9: Well I kind of feel like we're at a point where it's time to make more of a transition. I mean obviously signing the deal, getting together and showing people that actually putting the project out on a major and getting it released, that was one hurdle in itself. Now that we're over that hurdle, we kind of all put in a good couple years straight of just being in a group. It's kind of like a reinvention thing. We got to reinvent the group; we got to reinvent ourselves. It's a whole new task, so this is the fun part.
Your fans are pretty intense. When you encounter them in person, are they equally as crazed?
Joell Ortiz: They got different personalities.
Royce Da 5’9: Yeah, they got different personalities online. When you get online, you will definitely type your true feelings and then some. When you meet them in person, you come to realize that it's nothing personal. It's never anything personal. I sometimes kind of feel like our fans kind of care about us a little bit.
Oh they love you guys!
Royce Da 5’9: Like they care about us as people it seems because like, they give their opinion with so many of their emotions, it almost makes you feel like you're not really disposable, they just want you to do good. So I guess that's a good thing and a bad thing. You got to be willing to listen to the criticism too.
Crooked I: And to build on what you were saying with the question, we have fans who will turn on another rapper fast, you know what I'm saying? They'll go in on another rapper's fans, so it's like the fan wars. Like the Slaughterhouse fans, if they don't like another rapper, then they're going to go hard and they're going to do it all in the name of Slaughterhouse. We don't agree with it but – just earlier today I was telling the guys that I was at the grocery store and this guy kept following me around and then this other guy kept following me around and I was like what the hell's going on here? So I went to the aisle and they both just popped up like, “Yo, we're just huge Slaughterhouse fans and let me pay for that food for you!” or something like that and it's like, “What do you mean pay for my food, bro?” And they're just like, “Oh I can't believe it! And I can't wait until you take out YMCMB!” and it's like, why do our fans always feel like it has to be a good versus evil? It's like, I'm cool with YMCMB. I listen to Wayne, I got a joint with Gudda Gudda. But let me tell the fans that, man! They might blow a gasket.
Joell Ortiz: I need some of them Cali fans, man. Niggas got to come pay for these groceries. They follow me around the store too...but they think I'm stealing.
If you guys got in a boxing ring, who would kick each other's asses?
Joell Ortiz: I'm done acting like I'm not right next to you, girl. I'm about to beat your ass.
Crooked I: I could tell you one thing. I don't have my money on none of us going no more than one round. I'll tell you that.
Joell Ortiz: Yo man, 25 seconds in you're going to have heavy breathing going on.
Royce Da 5’9: Yo you ever looked online and saw the Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden foot race? That's about as much activity as you gonna get out the two of these niggas. And me watching it is the most activity. I was on the fucking sideline winded! I was winded watching them niggas run.
What's on your tour rider?
Royce Da 5’9: Patron, vodka, Jack Daniels. A lot of times it's fruit, and sometimes a deli tray. We need to get more deli trays, man. That's a forgotten art within our dressing room. Red Bull and a lot of water.
Joell Ortiz: Depending on where we at man, I ask for 10 grams of crack. I just like to go on stage happy as a motherfucker. So if you got a missing microphone, I'm smoking. Now get him out of here!
Royce Da 5’9: What would you think was on the Slaughterhouse rider?
Um, I don’t know? A shrunken head? Socks? Video games?
Royce Da 5’9: Condoms.
Royce Da 5’9: I don't play video games really. I need to start back playing video games. I'm not a big video game guy. I don't think none of us are, are we?
Joell Ortiz: Nah, I'm not.
Crooked I: We been working too fucking much, that's the problem! Shit.
Joell Ortiz: Yo my shit too man. Man, I don't know man. But after this interview man, just leave me your number, girl. I'll put you on my rider.
You don't even remember, Joell. I interviewed you like five years ago and you had the flu. You were holed up in a studio in Queens with the flu and I still have that on tape.
Joell Ortiz: Oh I DO remember you! Aw, man! I beat it right?
Joell Ortiz:I'm playing! I totally don't remember but I'll tell you one thing, this was a great ass interview and thank you! For real.