Slum Village Slum Village

You can’t fault Slum Village for being persistent. The Detroit outfit have survived rampant bootlegging, the loss of two original members and a parting of ways from a major label; these events seem to have only made them stronger. The fact that this self-titled effort is their best overall album since the beguiling Fantastic Volume II was released around five years ago is a bit of a surprise given the increasingly patchy output demonstrated on their last two albums. However T3, the sole original member and lyrical wizard Elzhi have put together a stellar effort that addresses the questions that have been circulating around the group through their upheaval. The ever-improving production work of Young RJ and Black Milk answers the query whether SV could survive without J Dilla. The chemistry between T3 and Elzhi has improved immensely. Elzhi’s battle-ready style often made him sound like a guest MC rather than a group member in the past, but here the duo have finally found a balance, addressing whether they could overcome mystical wordsmith Baatin’s departure. On top of addressing the past, the group have also managed to push forward sonically and wisely avoid trying to replicate the Detroit slump sound they built their rep on. Instead they successfully push their rugged yet soulful approach in new directions while continuously reflecting on the arduous path that got them to this point. This record suggests it was all worth it. (Barak)