Vinyl LP Record [2LP]
Five years after making his name as a member in Marley Marl's legendary Juice Crew, the battle-scarred Brooklyn underground star returned for his second album with a newly tweaked name and his own supporting crew, Masta Ace Incorporated, a new sound and sharply honed style, and a cynical new outlook on the entire rap game. In fact, a disgusted new outlook might be a more appropriate characterization, as a controlled abhorrence oozes from every pore of "SlaughtaHouse", lashing out not only at easy outside targets (bigoted police, for instance) but also at those shady characters inside the "Slaughtahouse" whose violence is enacted physically (Ace himself places the part of a mugger on "Who U Jackin?") rather than lyrically, bringing the entire community down in the process. A loose concept album, it is at once an intense exposé and a roughneck paean to the Hip Hop lifestyle that broke new ground by merging the grimy lyrical sensibility, scalpel-precise technique, and kitchen-sink beats of East Coast rap with the funk-dripping, anchor-thick low-end of West Coast producers. The classic "Jeep Ass Nigguh" was one of the quintessential cruising singles of the summer of 1993 and "Born to Roll," with its supersonic gangsta bass, is an equally thumping highlight, and can be seen as the most explicit bridge between East and West. But other hectic, relentless tracks like "The Big East," "Rollin' Wit Umdadda," and "Saturday Nite Live" are just as excellent, and Ace's crew, particularly Bluez Brothas Lord Digga and Witchdoc really shine.