Masta Ace Inc.: Welcome to the Slaughtahouse

Masta Ace Inc.: Slaughtahouse (Murder + Death Edit)
From 12″ (Delicious Vinyl, 1993)

Masta Ace Inc.: Saturday Night (L.A. Jay Remix)
From “Summa’ Madness ’93 Remixes” (Delicious Vinyl, 1993)

Both available on Grand Masta: The Remix and Rarity Collection.

With the possible exception of De La Soul, no other hip-hop artist has aged out of the ’80s as gracefully and impressively as Masta Ace. He’s like rap’s Sixth Man, never quite a superstar but while bigger acts flamed out years ago (hint: everyone else in the Juice Crew), Ace has stuck in there, carved out a career that’s featured its share of ups and downs but after nearly twenty years, he’s still making quality music and has become a veteran that you can cheer on without being patronizing about it.

Back in 1993, it was hard to initially gauge where Ace was going to fall. The rest of the Juice Crew was barely limping by, a faint memory about to get further crushed by the impending Wu-Tang stomp. And in the midst of this, Ace reinvents himself, eschews the House of Hits formulas and begins producing his own stuff (remember his cameo on Gang Starr’s “Aight, Chill” skit?) and drops what was one of the first, major backlash rap albums before the indie hip-hoppers picked up the baton (and then promptly wore it to a dull nub). Sure, maybe Ace and company just sounded mad in a post-Chronic era but to me, Slaughtahouse was on the better side of the divide between critical and must plain bitter.

The song itself was a compelling blend of two different tracks – the first parodied the gangsta rap movement, clearly taking aim at N.W.A. (“strictly Raiders and Kings gear” and of course, sampling Eazy E’s “what the f— are they yelling?” off of “Gangsta, Gangsta”) and dropping one of the funniest set of verses this side of Black Sheep’s “U Mean I’m Not.” Then the song transforms midway, bringing in Ace who just crushes the rest of track over the classic Baby Huey “Hard Times” bassline. Here’s the original song off Youtube.

The remix versions of “Slaughtahouse” originally appeared on a Delicious Vinyl 12″ – each half of the original is separated and extended with extra verses added. Tasty. I went through and mixed the two halves back together (and shortened it to boot).

I’ve always liked the L.A. Jay remix of “Saturday Night” (which brings on the entire Inc. for a posse cut) which appeared on DV’s promo-only “Summa’ Madness” remix EP. I was never a huge fan of the original and even though Gang Starr had already put the same loop to work a few years earlier, it’s never a bad look to flip “Les Fleur” as L.A. Jay does for the remix. (I will say, for the life of me, I’ve always had a tricky time mixing it. (I want to say it jumps half a bar at the beginning).

The Grand Masta collection is great in assembling a solid set of rarities (including the infamous “Top 10 List” plus two remixes of “Jeep Ass N****,” two of of “Saturday Night Live” and both “Slaughtahouse” mixes). (I sure hope this is legit and Ace is getting paid off it).