T3, Illa J and Young RJ recently stopped by Shade 45’s Sway in the Morning to reflect on the legacy of the Detroit, Michigan group Slum Village. During the interview, T3 recalled how the trio originally formed after he met J Dilla and Baatin in high school, getting put on after Dilla broke off to pursue a solo career.
“Started out in ’90 something, early. We went to high school together, it was me, it was a guy named J Dilla and it was Baatin. So we started off then and we got our first deal. I guess Dilla got on with the beats first, ’cause we met Q-Tip. Actually the way Dilla got on was our first demo, and he didn’t really like the songs then,” he said. “So I guess a couple years passed, Dilla did beats for this person and that person, [Busta Rhymes] and Pharcyde and all that, and we did the Volume 1. We played it for Tip and Tip went crazy, and then he played it for everybody. We immediately went on the road to do the last Tribe tour, and we toured and toured and did that for a minute and then we came out and got our first deal in ’98. That’s when we did our firs tthhing. Shortly after that album, Dilla left to pursue his solo thing with MCA, and then after that, it was me and ‘Tin and that’s when we did ‘Tainted.’ Dilla was still supplying beats.”
Despite the fact that Dilla left the group, T3 insists that there was no animosity between the remaining group members and Dilla. In fact, the late beatsmith provided the group with production and even appeared on the set of videos. “It’s still love. He still had beats for us. He was still at the video shoot with us. It was still love. That’s when we dropped ‘Tainted,’ which was our first slightly commercial record. After that, my man Baatin, he got sick after that and that’s when I started bringing Elzhi part of the equation. We’re not together.”
As for Elzhi joining and then leaving the group, T3 said that he always wanted to be a solo artist and that there are no hard feelings for his former band member. “Basically, he wanted to be his own artist. Even back then, he was originally supposed to be just a feature in the Slum thing. I think he really just wanted to do his own thing. I don’t have any hard feelings about it.”