Slum Village Announce Reunion And New LP, "Fantastic Volume 3"

Exclusive: Just in time for Dilla Day, T3, Young RJ and Illa J announce the return of the Villa and announce a third installment of their "Fantastic" series.

Back in 2010, things were looking grim for Detroit trio Slum Village. Only two years after reuniting with his partners T3 and Elzhi, founding member Baatin suddenly passed away in the middle of recording the group's sixth commercial release, Villa Manifesto. Then, just weeks before Villa Manifesto's release, T3 announced that the LP would be the Slum's final release. And things only got worse looking for the Conant Gardens crew from there; Elzhi went on the offensive at his Slum Village brethren even calling them out in his version of "Verbal Intercourse, Pt. 2" from his acclaimed Elmattic.

HipHopDX: After Villa Manifesto dropped in 2010, it looked like there wasn't going to be any projects coming from Slum Village. What brought about the return of the group?

T3: To be honest, for me, I really didn't want to do it. Thing that made me want to do this Slum Village thing again was probably [J Dilla's mother] Ms. Yancey and Illa J the legacy that [the group] is, and I kinda know this and I was really hesitant to do any Slum thing, but as of recently, I've kinda been soul-searching and I still…you know, Slum Village has been around a long time and we've had a lot of member changes, we had a lot of things going, and I kinda feel like it was just time for us to get together to do music. As of now, I've wrapped my brain around it and I'm ready to tackle that, and probably about the end of this year we'll probably drop a record. At first, you know, Young [RJ] - he's always been on the production side of Slum Village since Trinity, so we're talking a lot of albums, and Illa has grown up with Slum Village from when he was a young lad, and even now in being in Slum Village, so I mean, it's natural. There's nothing about it that's not natural, I feel like it's just time for us to kinda do it.

DX: Like you mentioned, Slum Village has gone through a few line-up changes due to riffs in the group or deaths of members. You guys have obviously been deeply involved Slum Village since the beginning, but how do you make sure to uphold the intact group's initial spirit despite these changes?

Illa J: It's just like T3 said: it's natural. [Young] RJ's been around since the beginning, I've been around since things began, 'cause I know some people think I popped out of nowhere…nah, I've been [working] T3, he taught me the moves. It's fam. I was watching a documentary on the Foo Fighters and…they asked [Dave Grohl, front man], "Why are you making music like you was making with Nirvana?" He was like, "''Cause, that's the type of music I make. [Laughs] This is what we do," so it's like natural like that; we just go in the studio and do it. The chemistry is there, we've been rocking these shows and it's just natural.

DX: Absolutely, and to kind of speak on J Dilla and Baatin's legacies, with it being Dilla Day this Friday, how important is it to uphold both their legacies and remind of Slum Village's importance in Hip Hop?

T3: Number one, Dilla, it's like…the thing about Detroit Hip Hop the other day: I was like, if [J] Dilla was from New York, he would probably be [DJ Premier]. Now, Premo has worked with everybody from New York, right? Detroit is a little different because we've had to fight for ours, and I think the hardest part was [listeners] giving us our respect; the love the music and the artists - we've gotten more respect from [other] artists than we did the fans…what I'm saying is, coming from Detroit made it harder for us. The reason why I'm saying that is because we still have to rep Dilla because Dilla is so much [a part] of Hip Hop that I feel like you can give him his just due. [He's] made over 300 songs for a bunch of different artists - you would think his name would be everywhere. I feel like we still have to rep that. We still have to rep Detroit, I still have to uphold Baatin, I've still got to uphold Dilla and I've still gotta get Slum Village to where we need to be.

With the Dilla thing, it's just because that's my bro and I love, it's a respect thing and I think that's something that we will always do and we've always got to represent. We're still fighting to get our just due, or at least we feel like we are, and that's something that we're going to have to do for life. Any time there's something like [Dilla Day,] it's really big for us to host a Dilla event and doing it. It's going to be great for Hip Hop. A lot of people talk about Dilla, but we actually lived [with] Dilla, and that's apart of our blood so we will always rep that.

DX: Exactly, and kind of speaking on reaping the D, you have a new Dirty District project in the works -

T3: We've got a Dirty District [project] in the works, but this Dirty District is not just Detroit though [with] this one. This one we're kinda doing just with a variety of folks. We hit Atlanta, we've got [Rapper Big] Pooh, and then it's, and we've got Chicago. It's not just Dirty District, like, locally. This Dirty District is a little bigger than that.

Young RJ: The whole concept with this Dirty District is that it's family-based. These are all people that we have a chemistry with, that we've been working with and feel like are dope musically. We've got Focus..., who came out the Aftermath [Entertainment] camp…he dropped his record and it was a dope, solid record. You have Pooh, who dropped Dirty Pretty Things…you know he's coming with solid stuff…you've got other artists that we've got incorporated on there, so it's not like just let's through a bunch of people on here and do a random Dirty District; this project was kinda thought out, something that me, T3 and Illa kinda thought out on what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it, and the project is crazy.

Illa J: This project is crazy, and how it came together, it's crazy. Like he was saying, we didn't plan it like, "Okay, we need this kind of a single." No, we literally just did it. Everybody did they're thing, sent us the joint…everybody pushed each other [on the music] 'cus everybody wasn't there [while we were recording], so it's like have to be at the top of your game or your verse isn't going to make the song…if it ain't up to par, then it's deleted.

DX: Another project that you guys have in the work is the third volume of Fantastic. It's been 10 years since Fantastic, Volume 2 dropped, and both previous installments really had a specific sound. How did you guys get back into that mode or style of recording after a decade away from it?

T3: The big thing about Fantastic [Volume 3] is this: number one, I said I wasn't going to do another project unless the people asked me to do this project. I've been asked to do Volume 3 by three different random folks, people that I respect, from Mick Boogie to my [manager] Ty [Cannon], just all the folks that told me, "Yo, why don't you just do Fantastic Volume 3?" It ain't like I haven't never thought of it, but it's just the fact that at this day in time somebody asked me to do that - like, really? So I feel like it was destined for us to do it. I'm not reinventing the wheel; I'm at what feels natural and what works. For [these requests] to come up so randomly and at the same time, it makes me think that this is something that I should really do - [it's coming from] people that I really respect. It's just time; it's a natural thing.

Young RJ: Sonically, the record is gonna be what you would expect: groove-based, yes there will be some Dilla, yes there will be some Baatin. There will be involvement from both of them and my goal is to bring the cats back from Volume 2. That's my goal - to bring the all-star lineup. I want to bring back as many people [featured on Volume 2] as possible, from Q-Tip all the way down to Pete Rock. I would love to have their involvement in it. You know it's not going to come out if it's not dope. If it's not right, it's not coming out. As a person that loves Slum Village and a person that grew up on the movement - I'm talking about since '92…I know sonically what it's supposed to be, and I've got a couple of producers that I've got in mind that I'm reaching out for to make sure it's all the way right.

DX: I think for a lot of fans and for Hip Hop in general, a Fantastic Volume 3 is going to be really important. How is this album going to re-establish your legacy and place in the Hip Hop scheme of things?

T3: I think if you keep dropping music and getting it to the forefront, I'd like to see it re-establish itself. But what happens with Slum Village, sometimes we disconnect from a lot of people and we get into our own little world, but I think when we do this next album, we're gonna reach out and that's gonna give us that edge that we need to re-establish that. I think people respect Slum Village and the legacy, but sometimes it's better in the dark. It ain't done in the light, it ain't brought to the forefront, I can get on the phone and people tell me how much they love Slum Village's music, but it hasn't been brought to the forefront. Detroit has…to fight to get our respect and I think it'll come out. Locals have a respect for music that is intellectual and [is just] natural only. Also on the next level, I think we don't we have a problem. Eventually, it's going to come to the forefront and it just is what it is.

Illa J: Honestly…music is just like sports to me. You have a championship team one year, then another year, a couple of different players on the line-up, but you know…in my mind, we gotta do it…they've been sleeping…we're doing it right. It's already done, we've gotta do it. That's how I feel…musically, we're there, and it's natural. Ain't nobody forcing, it's in Focus's blood, it's in my blood, RJ's and T3's. Our whole squad is just natural, we just do it and that's what the edge is - we're not thinking, we're just doing it in the studio.

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70 Comments

  • Jason

    Personally I feel when you dismantle something its never the same. Not that it won't be better; its just the fact that we as people miss certain things the way they were. Slum village's fantastic volume 2 was impressive to hear as a young 19 year old just coming up and gradually understanding hip hop music back then. Vol 1 considering the fact that it was the first installment and was relased 7 years after was equally as good. Now we have to be carefull as to how we portray slum village as to saying things like it won't be the same without dilla etc. Ten bla bla, well thats obvious because thats their chemistry and you will never have what the initial group had, or i should say could bring. This does not mean that the new line up of slum village or any line up in a matter of fact in the future could not bring the same or even better results than their predecessors. Nah, that be like saying lakers would never win a ring again without Kobe. Dilla is a great legend and always will be remebered for his signature sound, because of his legacy you will now find as you do dillarets (lol) truly inspired by this man that one day you'll be wondering if the man's still alive. Just like jackson took after brown, kobe after jorden, you will get whoever after dilla, it will come, iv'e heard close , and belive me alot closer than young RG, this new project will be truly based on the line up of producers. The project could swing either way now because of this circumstance. I truly hope it swings in the direction that true SV fans are looking for. peace jaysun

  • Anonymous

    Personally I feel when you dismantle something its never the same. Not that it won't be better; its just the fact that we as people miss certain things the way they were. Slum village's fantastic volume 2 was impressive to hear as a young 19 year old just coming up and gradually understanding hip hop music back then. Vol 1 considering the fact that it was the first installment and was relased 7 years after was equally as good. Now we have to be carefull as to how we portray slum village as to saying things like it won't be the same without dilla etc. Ten bla bla, well thats obvious because thats their chemistry and you will never have what the initial group had, or i should say could bring. This does not mean that the new line up of slum village or any line up in a matter of fact in the future could not bring the same or even better results than their predecessors. Nah, that be like saying lakers would never win a ring again without Kobe. Dilla is a great legend and always will be remebered for his signature sound, because of his legacy you will now find as you do dillarets (lol) truly inspired by this man that one day you'll be wondering if the man's still alive. Just like jackson took after brown, kobe after jorden, you will get whoever after dilla, it will come, iv'e heard close , and belive me alot closer than young RG, this new project will be truly based on the line up of producers. The project could swing either way now because of this circumstance. I truly hope it swings in the direction that true SV fans are looking for. peace jaysun

  • Dyvine

    Im a huge SV fan but this doesn't sound like a good idea at all the Villa Manifesto was suppose to be a reunion album. Illa J just is not a good rapper i bought the yancey boys instrumental album cause i didn't like the rapping on it. SV was always a production driven group to me.

  • Caj

    I think after reading this article, you can see there were issues with ego's. The bigger issue is when you cant back your ego up with skill and thats where all three of these guys are at. None of them are worth listening to another album for. All three have not so great solo projects that remove the trust of real fans in another CD. Its a shame to the legacy.

  • SMH

    how can y'all say that T3 is milking Dilla's legacy or riding Dilla's coat tails when they BOTH started this Slum V shit together?! Have some respect, this goes back to 1992, most of you cats only know SV from when T3 & Elzhi were the only members (around 2003). T3 is the only living member left, think about if your two bestfriends died and everyone claimed that you were just living off them. The fuck is wrong with you internet retards

    • Anonymous

      What has happened is, T3 knows that making music under the group name SV has now become a scrapegoat (easy way out) for putting out lacklustre releases. He knows and understands that people respect the Slum Village name because of J Dilla's input. This is why there is anger. There are people that will defend Villa Manifesto to death and then there are people that know It was one of their worst releases (in terms of cohesion of sound/sub par writing). So what is happening now is those people that dont want the hard work of J Dilla (or Baatin) tarnished any further are protecting the legacy. Saying T3 has the rights to do all kinds of shit is like saying Waajeed should step in and officially announce the end of the group. It just wont happen. The best move now is to do what De La is doing, use an alternative name! That is the true test of peoples motives and agendas. If you can succeed without the legacy of SV, which is what Elzhi is doing. While Elzhi might not be essential to the SV sound that shouldnt detract from Villa Manifesto being their worst album to date.

  • IT

    too much fucking negativity. I'm all for a new SV record. The last one was mad underrated. Didn't you fuckers read the interview? RJ talking about getting Tip and Pete Rock on the album, plus features from baatin and dilla, maybe even a couple unreleased dilla tracks like the last album. shit I'll buy it the day it drops. El is an amazing emcee, but he's not absolutely necessary to the SV sound.

  • P.Pull

    I dunno what the hell half of you people are on about. Elzhi is good but you guys are giving him way too much praise. Baatin is better than Elzhi, and T3 is dope too. Fantastic Vol. 1 & 2 are better than any shit that Elzhi will ever drop and T3 is one of the 3 reasons they're dope albums. SV can be without Elzhi!!!!!

    • Bill Bixby

      @KillaCali: Ever heard of Lynrd Skynrd? The Temptations? Kool & The Gang? All groups outside hip hop that had fans react negatively to group changes because of members deaths or problems within group. You might want to do you research before making high and mighty statements. I guess we are all a&r's when we have people like you beating a dead horse.

    • KillaCali

      im tripping looking at all the Post I guess we all are A&Rs & shiit Now! from what i see T3 is the last Founding member who is still alive. Alot of people have to Just fall back & respect that!.I can care less who in SV only ppl hate on dumb sh like that is Rap Fans.Rock fans dont do it & Neither does Soul,Country western fans Just our Goofy asses. We are so Simple makes no sense.

    • Bill Bixby

      SV can be without Elzhi If the real fans can bring Dilla and Baatin back to life. Stop being delusional, this is not SV. Heres an idea, how about they form their own group and stop milking the name.

  • KillaCali

    Whats so Funny i remember back when i was in College EL joined SV The People Shitted on EL said he wasnt Real SV now Niigaz holding his Wood ! Yall WHITE BOyz are too Simple Damn EDOMITES aka CAVEMEN.....

  • def

    the best thing about SV was always jay dee's production...none of those dudes could really rap until elzhi joined.

  • bswift77

    Without Elzi, SV is wack!!! I'm not supporting this. Sad to say, but T3 and the rest of them can't live off Dilla's coat tails forever. Elzhi was by far the strongest lyricist and it was straight BS how they basically cut him out of the last album. Without Elzhi, I'm done with SV.

  • Anonymous

    Elzhi won't go anywhere, reminds me of Crooked I.

  • honest truth

    Elzhi dilla and baatin was the dopest out of slum village not t3 he was ok at best with his lil scat style he's lucky elzhi didn't roast his bitch azz for that last slum album

  • yoyo

    @HHDX: Stop fucking removing comments! Go onto twitter and you will see T3 is blaming you directly for twisting the article up. So your shit is 10x worse than mine.

  • kennyken

    this looks good. illa j isn't dilla though.

  • Anonymous

    Elzhi is talented as fuck, but it seems that he not only shares the skills with Nas, but also his business sense. His complete lack of work ethic kills any buzz he might've built before with a release.

    • Anonymous

      lol, dude wasn't even supposed to drop elmatic anymore. he was workin' on "the feed" already and dropped the "the leftovers" with songs that wouldn't make it to the album like he did with the europass before the preface. elmatic just came out 'cause even after fash's "ode to illmatic" came out, the fans were still hopin' he would drop his illmatic tribute and he did it pretty fast considerin' the intrumental flips and shit. dude offered one of the best pieces of music from last year without a record label, just fatbeats for distribution, he's doin' all on his own and i'm glad he left sv, it just brought the best out of him. i mean, the man has a vevo, how many underground heads can say that? just sayin' though, this new sv ain't shit without elzhi and j dilla/black milk beats.

    • Anonymous

      Word. Dude doesn't have enough drive, sorry to say that, but he seems to be a waste of talent. Some people just don't have it.

    • Anonymous

      very true. he spent years making and hyping a free mixtape where he redid illmatic songs. shoulda spent the time making new songs to sell. preface is incredible, but thats years old and hes done next to nothing since. very slow working, needs to step it up. he has the talent to be a fixture but he doesnt push hard enough.

  • Anonymous

    The only way this works is with elzhi and blakc milk producing the whole album

  • D1NY

    THIS IS SAD.... These guys are desperate...and are trying to keep saying the word LEGACY.... but all there doing is fucking the SV Legacy up. My GUT say's DILLA Would not be apart of this BS. Put out some solo albums...move on...... I'm been a fan for years.... but this is so sad.....it's turning into the temptations. We are not supporting this. We waiting on the ELZHI LP

  • SV Fan forever

    THIS IS NOT ABOUT SV VS. EL....ITS ABOUT THE LEGACY OF SLUM VILLAGE. THIS IS NOT SLUM VILLAGE. TO TAKE THE NAME AND MAKE A VOL. 3 IS JUST THE DRAGGING OUT OF THE NAME AND DILUTING THE LEGACY OF A LEGENDARY GROUP. THE TRUTH IS THAT THEY SHOULD MOVE ON.

  • Anonymous

    slum village - j-dilla = wack, boring group slum village - elzhi = wack group with wack raps slum village - elzhi and j dilla = wack group with wack raps and wack beats jay dee made these guys and hes gone they need to get a hint and go away. slum village makes lil dap and malachi seem dope. they always been bland, boring, wack rappers that got good beats. illa j is awful, t3 is a delusional hack with no fans and no talent.

  • Anonymous

    Loooool as soon as I saw this article, I came straight to the comments section looking for beef between Elzhi fans, dockevoc type punks and Post Elzhi Slum fans. The truth is Its over, Im saying that respectfully as a fan of Elzhi and Fantastic vol.1 & 2 Slum. Illa J is not good enough, T3 is also not up to scratch and Young RJ's beats are not on par with Black Milk's. All that combined makes for a good dragging out of the legacy. The situation should just be left alone because It only gets worse and worse. R.I.P. J Dilla & Baatin.

  • obatron-one

    Been a Slum fam for a while and a Dilla/Ummah fam before that. I appreciate Slum trying to continue the legacy I just hope that they hold their music to the standard Dilla did. Fantastic Vol. 1 and 2 and J-88 knocked.

  • James

    Slum will ALWAYS be good with or without El. SV 4 LIFE!!!

  • Sammie

    I LOVE Slum. I Can't wait for the Dirty District album & Vol. 3. Hopefully Slum & Elzhi work it out but if not T3 is a founding member of the group so I have to roll with him! Much love brothers!!!

    • whitenizzl

      watevs man. I think villa manifesto was dope (couple wak joints) but overall, a good album. But yea, Im not tryna hear this. Illa J is a wak mc he wouldnt be nowhere if his surname wasnt Yancey. T3 is not a good person. RJ beats are aight... Overall? Id be very surprised if this album is any good

    • R.Pgh

      @ Anonymous - I see what you are trying to say, but I'm not sure if that's what the intention is. Wu-Tang has 9 founding members and it's almost always been 1 guy making the decisions.

    • Anonymous

      There were 3 founding members, unfortunately If one were to take the decisions of 1 of the members (as the bottom line). It would be an injustice to the original legacy. If you're a true fan, you would definitely not want any new music from SV, especially after the last failed hard.

  • arrogance

    without slum el has no career he hasnt done anythings since he left and wont do anything with his no talent ass his music is garbage and so is he. slum will go on

  • yoyo

    mannnn FUCK A ELZHI!!...i live in LA...that nigga had 75 people at the Key club that this new slum village yall dissin sold OUT!!!...so how he dope pullin 75 people 2 his show,NO ELZHI NEED SLUM...stop holdin that lil midgets dick!!.

    • Rob

      Sounds like someones mad about Elmatic appearing in alot of top 10 mixtape lists, while the 3riller ep and Villa Manifesto got used as weed plates.

  • Anonymous

    El doesn't need these fools, he's destined to do greater things. Nigga has all time great talent.

  • tresdemayo

    How do you reunite with Elzhi not taking part of it ? And btw you shouldn't drop a sequel to fantasctic after Dilla's passing, even with his no talent brother

    • whitenizzl

      COSIGN. The term "fantastic" does not deserve to be used by this . And ILLA J cant rap. Dude needs to practise more (cos he aint half as raw).

  • yaboyabe

    "The Set Up" on Villa Manifesto was an example of the set up of the group. T3 made the song average, Baatin made the song good, Elzhi killed it and made the song amazing. Slum Village with no Elzhi= FAIL.

  • lilkandy

    Wait wait wait.... NO Elzhi??????? What are they trying to do? A Slum Village with only T3 rapping??? Weak... Work yo s**t out people, you need Elzhi in Slum Village.

  • Mmm.mmm.mmmmm

    Sean They got you to agree to avoid questions of Elzhi, in order to get the interview huh? Fu***ked dauuuup! Son in the skiiiiiy you know how I feeeeeeel breeeeeeeeeze driftin on by youuuuuu you know how I feel.

  • wow

    Something is deeply wrong in this group. Elzhi says it's the manager. Illa J clearly has dreams of rapping/producing but doesn't have the talent. This is some real Lynrd Skynrd shit... bringing in family members. Villa Manifesto was a cool album, thanks to Elzhi. I just don't get it... and that "Fantastic" brand should NEVER be used again. Damn.

  • Anonymous

    NO Elzhi................. COME ON MAN!!!!!!!!!!!! -iz

  • Anonymous

    dillas dead. elzhi is gone. no one cares, wack niggas. slum village sucked, theyd be dropping albums on soundcloud if it wasnt for dilla. all that crying around the last album that was wack, and now its all good. stop.

    • dockevoc

      @whitenizzl: Alone? Check the comments, homey. Most agree that the emceeing in SV is well below average. Why should I bump Mac Miller? To see what faggots like you dance in the mirror to?

    • whitenizzl

      @dockevoc LOL. are u serious? even with all the haters on this post, i think you're pretty much alone with that comment. go bump some mac miller lol

    • dockevoc

      No, I'm not. Slum Village has always been wack, though no one's production could mask their wackness.

    • Wu Tang Clan

      @dockevoc: You're probably one of those Dre/Premo stans. How ironic one retired after doing fuck all and the other has to make beats for mac miller to keep relevant, now thats what I call overrated!

    • dockevoc

      It's true. These guys have always been horrible, even with Dilla's overrated production.

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