Slum Village / Black Milk Distrikt, Victoria BC, March 31

Slum Village / Black Milk  Distrikt, Victoria BC, March 31
Photo: Kim Jay
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The King's Court Tour was billed as a tribute to Slum Village co-founder and guy-who-changed-hip-hop-forever, J Dilla. And while the spirit of the legendary producer ran strong through whole night, the show became a testament to the musical power of Detroit. Flanked by fellow Detroit powerhouse Black Milk and secret weapons in both Phat Kat and Rosewood 2055, Slum Village reminded the criminally small (but enthusiastic) crowd of the power of good, real hip-hop.
 
Black Milk took the stage behind the decks and laptop and started his set at a slow burn, picking up the mic only to explain that he was doing something different and just wanted to play the crowd beats, like we were all chilling in his living room. While that was a bit of a sting when he said it, his beats and production are so damned good that it's hard to complain. It didn't take long before he grabbed that mic again, said "I wasn't supposed to be rappin' but fuck it," and launched into "Cold Day" from his stellar Glitches in the Break, much to the pleasure and relief of everyone. I couldn't help but feel lucky to see watch such a talented MC and producer at the top of his game, showcasing bits and pieces of all the talents he's armed with.
 
That T3 is still out rapping, keeping the legacy of Slum Village alive despite losing Dilla and Baatin, and it never comes off as contrived or a cash grab, is an amazing thing. It's reflective of the lasting power of the group's music that people still get crazy when "Raise It Up" comes on the speakers, or the sexy boom-bap of "Selfish" slides through the room. It's always a good sign when heads are bobbing just as hard to the new stuff and "Fantastic/Love Is" from last year's Yes! is a head-nod banger that rattled the speakers in wonderful ways. An abrupt ending and no encore wasn't the most satisfying finish, but it did little to damper an all-out display of top flight hip-hop and an ode to one of America's great music cities.