There seems to be an unwritten rule in groups, no matter what genre: That once a key member either leaves or passes away, the morale of the group is never the same and usually for the worse. Look at the evidence: Left Eye dies, TLC isn’t the same. Poetic dies, Gravediggaz isn’t the same. Proof dies, D12 isn’t the same. Biggie dies, Junior M.A,F.I.A. isn’t the same. Freaky Tah dies, Lost Boyz isn’t the same. The list goes on, even the almighty Wu-Tang Clan aren’t the same without Ol’ Dirty. Very few will argue that.
All of the aforementioned groups lost one member. But Slum Village lost three: Baatin, Elzhi & J Dilla. While Elzhi left due to business decisions, Baatin & Dilla returned to the essence. Anyone would think that Slum Village were finished as a group for sure. But Illa J & T3 refuse to let that curse effect them. Can Slum Village survive??? An emphatic – YES! YES! YES! YES!
The striking difference between the groups past efforts post 2009 and this one, is that this newest project is produced entirely by J Dilla & Young RJ, and the album has the official seal of quality stamp approved by Ma Dukes herself, on the Yancey Media Group imprint. If Busta isn’t going to use the plethora of beats Dilla left him, why not have his esteemed group use them? We can’t let Dilla’s work be in vain???
The album’s intro isn’t as epic as in previous projects, like ‘Giant’ from the self titled album, or the Detroit Deli opening, but this is a minor, as this intro sets the tone of that classic sound that fans have wanted since ‘Fantastic’. But you know what ‘Love Is’…it’s NOT bullsh!t as Bilal joins in on this latest chapter. The nostalgic vibe continues with a vintage hook in ‘Tear It Down’ featuring Jon Connor. Ess-Vee keeps things ‘Bonafide’, 20 inch rims on the ride!
The Detroit Duo has always had their ‘Expressive’ ways with the women…bringing in BJ The Chicago Kid in for the hook.. only for the grown and sexy. If you’re 18 and a big fan of say… Miquel, THIS TUNE IS NOT FOR YOU!
Switching it up, the guest appearances in this project are those that Dilla would work with, it’s a fact that fans have an issue with certain artists on Dilla beats, even those that they respect in high regard. Phife Dawg brings the aura of A Tribe Called Quest in ‘Push It Along’… but the album’s highlight may go to the ‘Windows’… T3 & Illa J assault a thunderous Dilla track tailor made to cause a riot at a jam, then J.Ivy just had to go and put his epic poetry over it at the end.
The track ‘Yes Yes’ originally appeared last year for a mixtape. Picture a Detroit branch of the ‘Bad Intentions’ hotel…and that’s essentially what this track is. Dr Dre and Knoc’turnal would be proud. Throughout the album Ess-Vee are out to give ‘Right Back’ to the fans… give them an album the fans crave for, but they can’t do this without the assistance of De La Soul.
‘Where We Come From’ is a good ol’ ‘reppin’ yo’ city’ track… complimented with live drums riding the beat out. This continues into a story of meeting the girl of their dreams in the ‘Big City’, where the sex is compared to the ‘World Series’…
‘What We Have’ goes into the deep intimate sexual thoughts… this is straight classic Dilla, midnight maruaders music… you gotta close the eyes and ears of a young person with your hands. Again, if you’re an 18 year old who loves artists like French Montana, Young Thug and the like, THIS SONG AIN’T FOR YOU!!!
The album reaches it’s end with ‘Just Like A Test’. Don’t you think Ess-Vee should have started testing the instruments first before going in? The tempo goes from the slow midnight maruaders tone of What We Have and goes into a frantic drums. Those who heard the stream of this will notice that two tunes were omitted from the physical release. ‘Too Much’ Featuring Keely and the Black Milk produced ‘We On The Go’. Reasons for the former are not known which is a real shame, however reasons for the latter might be because of the Black Milk aspect of production and the song’s initial release.
Somewhere in the heavens, Baatin & Dilla are proud of what the surviving members have created here. They truly continued to keep it them while rummaging through Dilla’s beats…giving the fans a true representation of what brought Slum Village to the dance and brought it into 2015. This album is sure to continue the YES! movement that WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan started. The question remains: Will the ‘bandwagon’ Dilla fans support the project??? Bootlegging Dilla should be a criminal offence in Hip Hop.
Slum Village 2015 tour dates:
July 4 Ericeira Portugal
July 5 Den Haag, The Netherlands
July 7 Corsica France
July 10 Washington, DC
August 7 Leicester, UK
August 9 Croatia Soundwave festival
August 10 London, UK
August 22 Singapore
August 25 Manila, Philippines
August 28 Seoul, Korea