Slum Village Detroit Deli: A Taste of Detroit

Another album means another new group line-up for the changing cast of characters in Detroit’s Slum Village. With the jettisoning of the spiritual energy of Baatin, the group is now pared down to the duo of Elzhi and the only original group member T3. The absence of Baatin has seemed to have relieved the group of the duty to flirt as much with their esoteric side as they did on their last effort, the uneven Trinity. SV seem to be in the mood to retain the gritty sound that made their name while making it more digestible as the undeniable appeal of the Kanye West-assisted single "Selfish” amply demonstrates. This approach works largely because of the production of BR Gunna, the duo Young RJ and Black Milk who are equally adept at scoring unadorned minimalism and the flooded bass tracks the group is renowned for on "It’s On” featuring Detroit pioneer MC Breed and "Dirty” with inimitably manic ODB. It also works because Elzhi finally sounds like he is in his comfort zone and not like the brilliant outcast he was on Trinity. It’s from this vantage point that Elzhi offers his verse on "Reunion," the most thoughtful prose on the album. The return of J Dilla on the track is overshadowed by "Elzhi's” emotionally wrenching open letter to the obviously troubled Baatin. Unfortunately, even the taut lyricism of microphone fiend Elzhi can’t make up for the lack of consistently compelling content elsewhere, a perennial problem for SV no matter who has been in the group. (Capitol)