Rhyme Report

Published on May 19th, 2024 |
by Jameelah “Just Jay” Wilkerson

From the intimacy of J Dilla’s basement in Detroit’s Conant Gardens to the top of the Billboard charts, Slum Village’s innovative sound has helped shape Hip-Hop for generations. After nearly a decade hiatus, founding member T3 and rapper/producer Young RJ continue the seminal group’s legacy as a duo and mark their triumphant return today (5/3/2024) with the highly anticipated album F.U.N. Blending the nostalgic grooves of Disco with Jazz and modern Hip-Hop, the new album reflects Slum Village’s evolution over the years while paying homage to their origins with fresh new energy. T3 explains that the creative process for this album “began with collecting old Disco records”. RJ adds that they “wanted to just try something new, so we focused on making Disco-inspired music.”

With the help from star-studded guest features such as Robert Glasper, Cordae, Eric RobersonLarry June, Sango, and many others, F.U.N delivers a dynamic listening experience that pushes boundaries and serves as a testament to the power of experimentation and creativity in modern music. This one is for the day-one Slum fans and contemporary music enthusiasts alike.

Slum is still here. We’re still relevant and we’re still trying to push the envelope… Sometimes people put too many rules on music, and without sounding cliche, we wanted to just have fun with [this album]. So, in three words: Fuck U N***as.” – T3

F.U.N serves as the first new Slum Village album since 2015’s critically acclaimed Yes! and is now available on all major digital streaming platforms via Ne’Astra Music / Virgin Music Group. Stream/purchase the album here.

Currently wrapping up their 28 date FUN Since 92 Tour, Slum Village is set to join Rakim and Talib Kweli for Panic In La on May 15. The duo will also join SZA and Jack Harlow in Louisville, Kentucky for the Gazebo Festival on May 26.

Born from the vibrant energy of Detroit’s Conant Gardens, Slum Village is more than just a group– it’s a brotherhood bound by friendship and music. Founded in the early ’90s by T3, Baatin, and the legendary J Dilla (a.k.a. Jay Dee), the group debuted as “Ssenepod” on 1996’s Fantastic Vol. 1, before blossoming into the iconic name we know today. Their early recordings, crafted in the intimacy of Dilla’s basement, pulsated with the raw energy of the Detroit underground. By 1998, their talent landed them a deal with local label Barak Records, thrusting them onto a path of critical acclaim. Backed by the underground imprint, Slum Village released their seminal 2000 album Fantastic Vol. 2.

While Vol. 2 was a significant breakthrough for the group, it wasn’t until Barak and Capital Records teamed to issue Slum Village’s Trinity (Past, Present and Future) in 2002 that the group saw mainstream success. With the Dwele-assisted hit “Tainted”, the album remains the group’s highest-charting album to date. Though J Dilla left the group to embark on a solo journey in 2000, his influence remained deeply ingrained in Slum’s DNA through his protégé, and now Grammy-nominated producer, Young RJ, who served as co-producer and engineer for much of Slum Village’s transitional work.

Slum continued to push boundaries, scoring their second commercial smash “Selfish” (featuring Kanye West and John Legend), from their 2004 album Detroit Deli, which peaked on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 2004. After 2010’s Villa Manifesto, Young RJ officially joined Slum Village as a rapper. RJ and founding member T3 reinforced Slum Village’s legacy as a duo with two critically-acclaimed albums, Evolution (2013) and Yes! (2015)– the latter of which features posthumous Dilla production. Together, T3 and Young RJ have continued to carry the torch for 12 years, honoring their group’s original vision while continuing to evolve its legacy with infectious enthusiasm.

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