Shady Records - XXL Cover, 2011Yes, you did read the title right.

After over a year of speculation and waiting around, Em has finally finalized the ink with Slaughterhouse – the hip-hop super-group comprising of Crooked I, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Royce Da 5’9″. And made known to us now and only now, he’s also signed Alabama MC Yelawolf.

This new Shady Records roster will cover the March issue of XXL, which goes on sale February 8th. Em, had this to say…

Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse, it’s kinda phase two of Shady. It’s the new generation of Shady Records and as we’re trying to rebuild our label, it’s exciting for hip-hop and with all of these forces coming together and with what everybody’s capable of on the mic, it’s gonna be fun.

You’re right Em, this is going to be fun. We all knew that a Shady deal with Slaughterhouse was going down, confirmed from all angles and complicated by elements in the mix, but aside from a few kind words back and forth, nobody had any idea Em would be signing Yelawolf. Now, not all of you may be familiar with Yelawolf, he’s new on the scene and he’s not fully on the public radar yet. He’s also a fine lyricist and technical rapper. Which is why it’s so shocking that Em has signed him, given his previous track record of um, not so fine lyricists (Bobby Creekwater and Stat Quo come to mind).

All of these guys will be good competition for Em, there isn’t a weak link in the bunch, so it should bring out the most focused Eminem we could wish for. Shady Records really will be a tough son of a bitch in the ring of hip-hop if all goes as planned. Not too many can question or stand alongside any one of these guys let alone all of them. The struggle will of course be making them commercially successful as, they’re not exactly catchy, finger snapper rappers. So, that’ll be a real test for Eminem, Shady Records and, what he’s dubbing ‘phase two of Shady’. Shady 2.0.

For those who haven’t properly checked out Slaughterhouse or Yelawolf, have a listen to the following tracks for starters…

Slaughterhouse – Microphone

Yelawolf – Pop the Trunk

It’s been a longtime in hip-hop, in fact… I can’t think of many examples in recent times where such high-caliber lyricists have been swooped and backed by such a, a) GIGANTIC commercial force and b) GIGANTIC lyrical force. Eminem, as everybody knows, is a lyrical, technical god on the mic. But, he’s also been able to balance both – translate his skills into massive public acceptable and sales. Which, let’s be fair, is rare. The only other major example in recent times of this kind of situation is of course, Dr. Dre’s signing of Eminem. And look what happened there.

Royce had this to say…

It’s very exciting for me to reunite with Eminem years after our ‘Bad Meets Evil’ project together. Slaughterhouse on Shady Records will be a force to reckon with.

And Yelawolf this to say…

Considering where I’m from and the shit I’ve been through, it’s hard to put into words what partnering with Shady means to me, my team at Ghet-O-Vision, and my state of Alabama. I can tell you that when you’re willing to give your life up to see a dream through, the reward is great. And now that I’ve become an apprentice to one of the greatest artists in the world, my potential reaches beyond anything I ever imagined. Let’s kill this shit.

So who the hell knows what this means for hip-hop. Think of the great tracks Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf have made already, then amplify it all – put an extremely passionate hip-hop head, worldwide superstar and major-label budget and distribution behind them. They will no doubt be nurtured and advised by Eminem and his camp. They’ll presumebly have Dre / Shady beats at their dispossal and the freedom to excercise their artistic freedom, meaning the possibilities are infinitely exciting.

I don’t think any of us can underestimate how difficult it will be to fully translate all these guys to a mainstream audience however. Not too many can manage it, but if anyone knows how… Eminem does. And if he can pull it off, it’ll be very big for hip-hop. I cannot wait to see what comes out of the mix from Shady Records in 2011. This will be fun.

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