Published Sep 23, 2010Slum Village are closing up shop. Or not, depending on how much the people dig Villa Manifesto, notes founding member T3. Probably the most successful Detroit rappers not named Eminem, the legacy of Slum Village has been purportedly tainted by internal friction. Rumours of Elzhi being wilfully scrubbed from half of the project are true, or false, depending on perspective. Founding members J Dilla and Baatin have departed this mortal realm, leaving T3 as the one repping the original crew. Elzhi and Illa J fill in where needed and it's no surprise that Villa Manifesto is dark and filler-free; indeed, a "through the fire" vibe permeates, with all past and current members appearing on the 13-track project. "Bare Witness" is classic SV and Dilla's handiwork shines on "We'll Show You" and "Lock it Down." The Young RJ-produced "Scheming" (featuring Posdnuos and Phife) whispers of the past and future ― more solid hip-hop from the D. And even a seemingly out-of-place track like "Faster," featuring Colin Monroe, hangs tight with a shiny electronic vibe. If this is indeed the Slum Village finale, it caps a victorious underground career running more than 13 years, six studio albums and an indelible connection to the late Dilla.
When we're talking about Slum Village over the years, do you feel like you accomplished everything you set out to do with the group?
T3: I think that we definitely laid down a legacy. I think we changed the face of music, in the sense that when we came out, it made a lot of people change their music just a little bit. And when Dilla did his thing, he also had his own legacy by himself. I'm going to still do my solo stuff and still produce and Elzhi is still doing solo stuff and Young RJ and Illa J, but I don't know what the next chapter of Slum is going to go, as far as that two members are gone. The only way I can see [doing] another album is for the response to be just overwhelming for us to just come back.
What was the overall vision for the album?
It has all of Slum on there, past present and future. The vision of the album is to do things in light of what people have come to know Slum as throughout the years. We worked with producers and artists that we have a relationship with already and that's how we started building this album.
So, this is potentially the final album. What are your hopes for the record? And is Elzhi still is a part of SV?
He's still a part of Slum. If Elzhi has not put out an official statement himself that says he's not in Slum [then] I don't understand why people are saying he's not. I talk to Elzhi and we cool. And when we do shows, you'll see him there. And that's that. (E1)