Slum Village Slum Village

It isn’t very long into this fourth disc from Detroit’s personification of hip-hop resilience that the new Slum Village mission statement comes screaming out of the speakers. As far as T3 and Elzhi are concerned, it’s time to close the door on all the past drama and bullshit nostalgia and finally take the SV seriously, and the fresh step forward they take on the aptly titled Slum Village should finally put their troubled history to bed. Production on the record is handled exclusively by Young RJ and Black Milk, who bang out cut after cut of neck-snapping fierceness that offer by far the group’s tightest and most convincing sound since the fabled days of J Dilla. Speaking of which, SV set aside two particularly poignant moments to set the record straight, touching on issues still up under their skin on album opener "Giant,” then airing it all out in telling detail on "Def Do Us,” opening up fully about the labels, the producers, the critics, and lost member Baatin. The duo return to their old girl chasin’ ways on "Hell Naw!” over a cleverly dissected guitar lick and slick old school break, and team up with Dwelle on a reworking of the Isley Brothers’ "Footsteps In The Dark,” completing a record that’s the total result of the drama that Slum can now say they’ve overcome. (Barak)