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Slum Village is a hip hop group from Conant Gardens, Detroit, Michigan.
The group was formed by three members, rappers Baatin (1974-2009) and T3, plus rapper and producer J Dilla (1974- 2006). J Dilla left in 2001 to pursue a solo career with MCA Records. Elzhi joined in his absence, after which Baatin also left due to health complications. Following J Dilla's death in 2006 and Baatin's death in 2009, T3 remains the sole surviving member of the original lineup. Over its history the group has been through several line-up changes, which once included J Dilla's younger brother Illa J, but now the group currently exists as a duo of T3 and producer Young RJ.
Formation and early years:
Rappers Baatin and T3 along with producer J Dilla grew up together in the Conant Gardens neighborhood of Detroit and attended Pershing High School together. It was here in the early 1990s that they formed the group, which originally went by the name of Ssenepod ("dopeness" spelled backwards). Around this time the group would hone their skills during open-mic nights at Detriot's Hip-Hop Shop along with a young Eminem. Ssenepod was renamed to Slum Village in 1991.
From 1996-1997 the group recorded their first album Fantastic (Vol. 1), however it was not officially released until 2005, 8 years after original recording.
Slum Village signed their first record deal in 1998 with the now defunct Barak/A&M records. Due to internal politics with the label, the group was forced to release their 2000 album Best Kept Secret under the alias "J-88". Best Kept Secret featured remixes and leftover material from the heavily boot-legged Fantastic, Vol. 1. That same year Fantastic, Vol. 2 was released on GoodVibe Recordings, which featured appearances from Busta Rhymes, Common, D'Angelo, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Pete Rock, Kurupt, and Q-Tip.
J Dilla era:
Fresh out of high school, the group steadily became popular in Detroit's underground hip hop scene. However, by the mid-1990s J Dilla was already a well known hip-hop prospect, with a string of singles and remixes to his name, working on projects with Janet Jackson, Pharcyde, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, and Q-Tip among others. In 1995 he was invited to become a member of a production team known as The Ummah, which produced the two last A Tribe Called Quest studio albums, as well as hits for a number of R&B and hip hop musicians. In 1998, Slum Village opened for A Tribe Called Quest, on their farewell tour. In 2001, J Dilla left Slum Village to pursue a solo career, however he frequently assisted Young RJ with production of the group's later albums.
J Dilla passed away on February 10, 2006, after being diagnosed with TTP and Lupus. In light of his game-changing impact in the world of music production, many high-profile artists mourned and paid tribute to him following his death.
Slum Village's 2015 album YES! features songs that were produced by Dilla before his 2006 death.
Titus Glover (March 8, 1974 - July 31, 2009), also known as Baatin, was an American rapper who emerged from the mid-1990s underground hip hop scene in Detroit, Michigan part of the rap group Slum Village. Baatin started rapping as a student at Pershing High School in Detroit where he went by the names Scandalous-T, Eazy-T and Al Nuke among others.
In the early 1990's Glover adopted the name Baatin. He claimed the name (which is Arabic for 'hidden') was chosen to reflect a newfound spirituality.
Baatin remained as an active member of the group until the early 2000s. In 2002, shortly after the release of the group's third album, Baatin began to experience health problems, which interfered with the group's music and touring performances. In regard to his health problems, he said:
The confusion started verbally. I would be angry and lash out and go crazy. I was like: Do I got demons? I couldn't control it. It was a learning experience. They said I have depression, schizophrenia with bipolar tendencies. It was bipolar when I was responding to 12 different impulses. I didn't hurt nobody.
Suffering from mental illness and a drug problem, Baatin left the group in 2003. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. Baatin stated that he was "kicked out while in hospital", receiving a termination letter that was signed by both T3 and Elzhi, while in the hospital. He also held the group's label responsible. In an interview he stated:
When we got off the tour with Floetry and India.Arie, I was dealing with a lot of mental issues... Not enough rest... Jet lag. I underwent physical ailment. I came home and said I wasn't gonna do it no more. When I tried to seek some attention, they took it like I was leaving the group. I was in a coma for a day. When I came out my coma, all my stuff was out of my condo. I lost all my cars, lost everything. And I got a termination letter from the group.
After leaving the group, he began recording as a solo artist. During this period, he went by the name "Baatin the Slumlord." In 2008, the dispute was resolved and Baatin reunited with T3 and Elzhi, and worked on the group's sixth album Villa Manifesto.
Baatin died on July 31, 2009 at the age of 35. He was found in his home on Anglin Street in northeast Detroit. Following a homicide investigation, reports released by the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office, state the cause of his death was cocaine abuse and the manner of death was listed as accidental.
Baatin was survived by a son, Michael Majesty Ellis, a daughter, Aura Grace Glover, and a sister, Tina, all of Detroit.
For the 2002 release of Trinity (Past, Present and Future) on Barak/Capitol Records, T3 brought in Elzhi to join the group as J Dilla left to focus on his solo career. The album was a moderate success and contained the single "Tainted", produced by Karriem Riggins and featuring Dwele. Also in 2002, Dirty District, a compilation of songs by Detroit rappers largely produced by T3 and "Young RJ" Rice, was released.
The group then became a duo consisting of T3 and Elzhi, when Baatin became sick while touring in France shortly before the release of their 2004 album, Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit) and departed to seek treatment. The album included the hit single, "Selfish", produced by Kanye West and featuring John Legend. The song samples a part of the intro to the hit song "Call Me" by Aretha Franklin. After parting ways with Capitol Records in 2005, they released Prequel to a Classic, a mixtape of mostly previously unreleased material, followed by Slum Village "Self-Titled" release in October of the same year.
In a 2008 interview, T3 announced that Slum Village had reunited with Baatin and had added Illa J to bring a "Dilla effect":
I'm incorporating Baatin, and I'm putting Illa J in -- not to take Dilla's place, but just to have that essence of Dilla on this new project. I'm pulling together all the producers that we've used before -- Young RJ, Waajeed, Karriem Riggins, Pete Rock and all the people who have been down with SV from day one.
Villa Manifesto was released under Koch Records on July 27, 2010, featuring Baatin.
In July 2010, Elzhi decided to pursue his solo career and left the group. In recent interviews, T3 stated that he had not talked to Elzhi since he departed the group.
Slum Village released YES! on June 16, 2015, an album made with unused J Dilla beats, produced mostly by "Young RJ" Rice.
After his leaving the group c. 2000, J Dilla had a successful solo career before his death in 2006.
Elzhi has released four mixtapes: Witness My Growth, Europass, The Leftovers: Unmixed tape and Elmatic and one album, The Preface, which was released on Fat Beats Records in August 2008. A demo tape with Dwele titled The Breakfast Club has also circulated.
Baatin's album Titus: Chapter 10, Verse 13 was to be released on the label Operation Unknown but has not yet seen official released.
T3 released a mixtape in 2006 titled Olio.
J Dilla's brother, Illa J, released an album titled Yancey Boys for Delicious Vinyl in 2008, as well as a collaboration album with Frank Nitt titled Sunset Blvd in 2013.
Collaborated with Robert Strauss on track 'Girl' in 2007 released on Robert's Album 'Mr Feelings' (BBE)