Can Slaughterhouse catch a break? No group has endured more music industry drama over the years than Joe Budden, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, and Royce Da 5'9". The crew navigated their way through pretty much every major label in the biz (Interscope, Def Jam, Universal, Sony) before joining forces to release their successful indie debut last summer. With deals on independent labels like E1 and Amalgam Digital, it seemed like the crew had finally figured out how to make the system work for them.

Except now the crew wants to go major again, with a rumored Shady Records deal looking like a real possibility. But after months of behind the scenes negotiations, the struggle to sign a new deal finally spilled out into the public eye this week. It seems as if Budden's solo deal with Amalgam Digital and Joell's solo deal with E1 are preventing the group from signing a new contract with Eminem's label. Between twitter outbursts, leaked photos, and incendiary accusations on both sides, it's been a seriously drama-filled ride since rumors of the deal started about six months ago. We went back and created this handy guide to catch up on the soap opera that has become Slaughterhouse's career...

THE RUMORS BEGIN...
[September 22, 2009]
THE DRAMA: When a screengrab showing the crew standing behind Eminem in the "Forever" video hit Rap Radar, rumors about a Shady/Slaughterhouse collabo were inevitable. The next day, MissInfo shed some light on the situation, claiming that the video cameo was in fact "a non-verbal announcement of the contract negotiations going on behind the scenes." Okay, we're intrigued.

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ROYCE CONFIRMS SHADY NEGOTIATIONS
[September 28, 2009]
THE DRAMA: In an interview with MTV released a week later, Royce spoke about negotiations, saying, "I've been speaking to Em and Paul for a long time...I think it's a good marriage. Like I said, I just hope it can happen." He didn't hint at the source of his uncertainty, but the lack of news about the negotiations over the next 5 months should have been a sign that something was holding it up...

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JOELL ORTIZ GOES IN ON E1
[March 21, 2010]
THE DRAMA: After complaining about E1's half-assed marketing suggestions, Joell really let the label formerly known as Koch have it when he kicked off this memorable twitter rant. He implies that E1 is refusing to let Slaughterhouse sign a new deal with Shady until Joell puts out a Khaled-friendly album to their liking. But he also admits that one other "bozo" is holding the deal up, which is probably a reference to DJ Next from Budden's label Amalgam Digital, who would soon get a chance to say his piece...

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BUDDEN, BENZ, OR BUDGET?
[March 23, 2010]
THE DRAMA: In a scathing set of Twitter DMs that leaked to the public, Amalgam Digital founder DJ Next accuses Joe Budden of misusing label funds, lying to his Slaughterhouse group members, and sabotaging the sound quality of his Escape Route album. True or not, Budden clearly has some loose-ends to tie up at the indie label before he makes any moves. But the most entertaining part of the rant had to be his assertion that Budden spent his budget for the long-delayed album The Great Escape on a Benz for his ex-girlfriend Tahiry, which she showed off in an internet video called "my first benz!!!"

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CROOKED I: SILENT BUT DEADLY?
[March 23, 2010]
THE DRAMA: Slaughterhouse's West Coast representative has been curiously quiet during the drama, despite the fact that he has some serious experience with getting stuck in label limbo. In the above video interview with Real Talk NY, and his DVD Life After Death Row, Crooked has always always been extremely diplomatic when talking about his issues with Suge Knight, for whom he recorded two albums that never saw the light of day. But despite his even-tempered attitude, the recent drama does seem to be getting to him—he tweeted this little gem about the goons coming to see record execs just after the E1 and Amalgam situations came to light.

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BUDDEN BREAKS IT DOWN
[March 23, 2010]
THE DRAMA: Joey's response to DJ Next popped up on the JoeBuddenTV.com message boards, where he explained his side of the story in-depth (click here to read the whole thing) and broke down all the behind-the-scenes steps that led them to where they are today. He also said he and E1 had offered to pay Amalgam $14,000 to $20,000 to sever ties Budden, to which Next replied "Not that I believe he even has that kind of money, but who in their right mind wouldn't take that amount? ..and the 200K? that's news to me. hey..done deal! ;)"

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