Slum Village carry on

Blake Gillespie

slum village

Detroit's Slum Village knows pain and struggle. The group will never get a VH1 Behind the Music episode, but someone needs to tell their story.

I will get you caught up. Originally comprised of Baatin, T3 and Jay Dee, Slum Village was supposed to be Detroit's version of A Tribe Called Quest. Label complications kept its 1996 debut Fantastic Vol.1 off the shelves. It's official debut became Fantastic Vol.2 released on Goodvibe Recordings in 2000, while Vol.1 remained a highly sought bootleg until its release in 2005.

In 2002 Jay Dee left Slum Village. Baatin and T3 carried on, bringing Elzhi into the fold. The trio's 2002 record Trinity (Past, Present and Future) received mixed reviews as the absence of Jay Dee put hardcore fans on the fence of the new pop-friendly direction.

Baatin was diagnosed with schizophrenia and reportedly kicked out of the group, while he was being treated in the hospital. T3 and Elzhi released Detroit Deli in 2004, making waves with the single “Selfish” that featured Kanye West and John Legend. It was “Tainted Love,” the major single from Trinity, but with a bigger budget. The success helped launch Elzhi's solo career. Who knows what T3 was doing.

Jay Dee died in 2006. Two years later Slum Village resolved its desputes and Baatin was back in the group. Today Slum Village dropped the Villa Manifesto EP, its first record in four years. The EP features production by Madlib, Focus and B.R. Gunna (Black Milk & Young RJ production team).

Villa Manifesto EP is out now on Barak Records. The Villa Manifesto LP is set for a 2010 release.

Slum Village, “Dope Man”

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