Slum Village Evolution

Slum VillageEvolution
What was supposed to be a celebratory reunion of sorts for ground-breaking rap group Slum Village their last time out ended in a bit of turmoil, with Elzhi being unceremoniously removed from the group. With new disc Evolution, part-time producer Young RJ and Dilla's brother, Illa J, have been elevated to full member status, as T3 has decided to soldier on under the SV moniker into the group's next phase. On the strength of the solid and often load-lifting production from Young RJ, built largely upon crisp, lively drums, vibrant piano and synth-laced backdrops, the disc's MCs go to work, offering up a fair amount of lyrical variety that finds the mark in fits and starts throughout. Headhunting tracks like "Greatness" and closer "RIOT!" hit the hardest, with balance coming in the form of the smooth girl talk of cuts like "Summer Breeze," while the taking-stock sentiment of "Bout Dat" and "Forever" reminds you of some of the things this current group's been through. While not every track bangs, the three managed to create a fairly strong record. Whether the Slum name should continue on is another story. (Ne'Astra)