By Daniel Paiz
— For the longest time, it felt like Rap heavyweights were getting together and following the cue of the NBA: creating super teams, or super groups in this case.
It appears, however, that Rap super groups are indeed a thing of the past (again) and side projects are about as close as we are going to get to super groups.
The most recent example of this trend ending is the fearsome foursome known as Slaughterhouse calling it quits in 2018.
Why Slaughterhouse isn’t truly the end
Royce Da 5’9. Joell Ortiz. Joe Budden. And of course KXNG Crooked (formerly known as Crooked I).
These four have stellar and unique flows that instantly stand out. Anytime you hear one of these four, you’re likely going to have a good track.
However, perhaps there really is something as too much of a good thing.
Because all four of these guys have consistent solo careers (and various side projects) it often was hard to pin the four down for a group project.
It did happen, as two albums from the group have come and gone, garnering interest from a wide swath of listeners. However, it’s been since 2012 that Slaughterhouse had an album, and this May the group was confirmed to be over.
As much as that is unfortunate for fans of the group, the decrease in super rap groups is actually a shift; groups are once again tough to make happen, so side projects are the new rap groups.
Side projects are this generation’s super rap group
DJ Premier and Royce Da 5’9. Smoke Dza and Pete Rock. Khrysis and Elzhi. Big Boi and Phantogram. Killer Mike and El-P (which has become the biggest duo of the 2010s so far).
You can partially blame the shortened attention span of listeners, but you can also blame the gradual shifts in the music industry.
“Albums” are now around 30 minutes in Hip-Hop, and can consist of as few as five to seven songs. If you’re used to nearly 20 tracks from OutKast or at least a dozen from A Tribe Called Quest, it might chagrin you a bit to see what’s considered an “album” or an “EP” these days.
While the length of a project is certainly annoying at times, it really is interesting to see all of these side projects coming together.
In the case of Premier and Royce (also known as PRhyme) and Mike and El (also known as Run The Jewels), tours are a big part of the project.
Because side projects are the new normal, it does bring up the question of whether or not we should expect rap super groups in the future.
“Things go in cycles”
As Q-Tip so correctly rapped years ago, trends come and go. That’s true in fashion, politics, sports, and it’s true in music too.
Perhaps this time in about a decade or so, groups will be dominating the airwaves.
Flatbush Zombies, BROCKHAMPTON, The Internet and other groups are doing well now but weren’t formed in the same way Slaughterhouse was.
In any case, it’s inevitable that super rap groups will return at some point.
The only question is, how much time passes before we see it happen again.