Slaughterhouse, ‘Slaughterhouse’ (E1)
Even if the industry wasn’t totally FUBARed, this feistily gifted MC foursome — Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5’9″, and Crooked I — would be a hard sell. Each comes with a mixed bag of previous releases and a history of nagging fallouts and feuds. Their rhymes tend to feed off settling scores rather than giving pleasure, and as a result, this group debut favors punch lines (“I ain’t shabby with the nouns / I ain’t shitty with the verbs / When I reach heaven, I want the nigga Biggie to be, like, ‘Word!'” belts Ortiz) over crafted songs. Still, the single “The One,” which emits a stanky, rock-starry panache, could be an edgy crossover hit if such a thing still existed.