Published Jun 01, 2000Originally slated to reach the masses over two years ago, the odyssey surrounding the release of Slum Village's Fantastic Vol. 2 is finally set to end. Victims of the all-too-familiar major label merger shuffle, the Detroit trio has managed nevertheless to create a deafening buzz through word of mouth and the bittersweet reality of being heavily bootlegged.
"I'm not mad about it," concedes Slum Village MC T3, "but y'know, I was mad when there was a point when I wasn't living comfortably and people knew my lyrics. That's kinda messed up. It's happy and sad at the same time because people know you, but they don't really know you."
As well as getting acquainted with T3 and fellow MC and resident bon vivant Baatin, listeners to the official version of Fantastic Vol. 2 will quickly meet the group's ascendant beat chef Jay Dee if they haven't done so already. The Slum Village producer/MC was recruited into the Ummah production team, responsible for the final two A Tribe Called Quest albums after handing Q-Tip an Slum Village cassette. In addition to Tip, past Jay Dee collaborators D'Angelo and Busta Rhymes strolled through to make contributions to Fantastic Vol. 2, but the focus remains unquestionably on Jay Dee's concoctions. Knee-deep in bass, the unorthodox yet addictive tracks weave in intricate, delicate melodies and even make James Brown samples sound fresh, wilfully moulding the trio's spontaneous freestyle bursts. With the obscure and trivial lyrical content, the emphasis is squarely on delivery. Words are constantly, pushed, pulled and played with, oozing effervescent chemistry, making for a hypnotic combination of beats and rhymes.
"But that was the Fantastic sound, Volume I and II," says T3, contrasting the free-spirited mood of the album. "We're done with that after this. I don't wanna sound like I did two years ago." Realising how his comments could be construed as negative, T3 tempers matters. In a half-joking reference to projected album sales, he says, "If you would've asked me when it was supposed to come out I would have said 8 million," he laughs. "At this point, I'm just waiting to see whatever happens."