Slaughterhouse w/Flatbush Zombies
Best Buy Theater
Thursday, March 29
Better than: Spending the next few nights in the bookings alongside Joe Budden.
There’s Joell Ortiz. Here comes Crooked I. Royce just bopped onstage… but where’s… uh oh. “Where’s Budden at?” shouted the tipsy Nets hat next to me. Two songs into last night’s Slaughterhouse show at the Best Buy Theater, Joey’s glaring absence was addressed. Royce announced that the police had arrested Joe Buddens just prior to him coming on stage due to a warrant from an “unpaid ticket from 2007.” Jersey had came ready to rep, and people started chanting, “Joey! Joey! Joey!” after the announcement. The NYPD waited over five years to execute that petty warrant; you’d think they would’ve at least waited until after this momentous night in Budden’s career to place him under arrest.
The night started off like a weekday morning, with Cipha Soundz keeping the Jersey fanatics and Brooklyn heads laughing. He complimented the six or seven women sprinkled through the crowd for their good taste in music and gave props to their boyfriends for dating “girls who keep razors under their tongues…”
The energy started to wane when The Bronx’s Par City got onstage; they almost got booed off halfway though their second song. They plowed onward but didn’t really sow much due to the dryness of the crowd. After a forgettable, but thankfully brief set, Cipha—this time joined by Peter Rosenberg—returned to crack a few more jokes about the lack of women attending the show (“Ladies and gentlemen… but mostly gentlemen”).
Ciph summoned Brooklyn’s Flatbush Zombies to keep the momentum going, but they got booed before hardly uttering a single verse, prompting Ciph to come back out and remind the crowd to support New York hip-hop. “If not, don’t complain when all you hear is southern rap on the radio!” With that FZ gave it another go and won a few heads over. But for the most part, the booing continued. At one point Meech stopped rapping to say, “This ain’t the Apollo, motherfuckers!” It didn’t work. The crowd wanted nothing but Slaughterhouse on the stage.
After explaining Budden’s absence, they did their best to rock Joell and Joey’s hometown. “Sound Off” really got the people going but when Joell started doing his solo stuff the crowd went nuts. “You should just do the whole show all by yourself,” joked Royce at the love Ortiz was getting. Royce kicked a song, the Primo produced “Boom” before passing off the spotlight to Crooked I (can you believe the kid next to me was wearing a Circle Of Bosses t-shirt?) who in turn spit an acapella that (surprisingly) caused the crowd to fall silent.
They then got back into the Slaughterhouse records, ripping through “Microphone” and their new single “Hammer Dance.” Ortiz took a break to take a few shots of alcohol and toasted Joe Budden. You’d think he got sentenced to hard time the way the crowd reacted. After a few drunken words and call-and-response routines with the crowd they ran through “Sky Full Of Lighters” and a mini-tribute to New Jersey (really just two Naughty By Nature songs and “Pump It Up” for the “Free Joey” movement).
Taking a page from the “Niggas In Paris” book, Slaughterhouse performed “Hammer Dance” twice more and let the infectious beat serve as the backdrop to their goodbyes. Crook crip walked; Royce and Joell Ortiz did the Kid N’ Play routine. And just like that, they were gone.
Critical bias: A good show is difficult for “lyrical” rappers, but the onstage chemistry between these guys is entertaining enough that it makes me a fan of their concerts too.
Overheard: “Damn, the NYPD really hates Hip Hop events.” Doy.
Random notebook dump: You’re wearing the t-shirt of the band you’re here to see? Don’t be that guy…
Real Hip-Hop (Joell Ortiz)
??? Acapella (Joell Ortiz)
Life In The Fast Lane (Royce)
Rich Get Richer
Sky Full of Lighters