Slum Village - Villa Manifesto

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Slum Village never got the chance to make an album when all four members were alive and on on good terms, but Villa Manifesto is not only a great, sentimental note for die-hard SV fans to end things on but one of 2010's better albums.

Before you even talk about a Slum Village album, you have to discuss the elephant in the room. Two of the group’s founding members have passed away, and the two remaining members have differing opinions about the future of the group. So if you’re a die-hard fan who had a scratched up Fan-Tas-Tic Vol. 1 copy when some of these Dilla bandwagon-riding hipsters were still listening to Sisqo, only one question can definitively be answered when you start listening to Villa Manifesto. Is this a fitting swan song for SV or just another one of those pieced-together albums groups do to get one last advance before they end up like The Fugees?


Villa Manifesto is further proof of T3’s mastery of assembling people who can replicate the intangibles that make a Slum Village album. He’s got his finger on the pulse of what SV fans want, and gives it to them. About a third of the album is devoted to chasing the fairer sex—no surprise, since this has been an SV trademark dating back to “Climax.” It never gets redundant due to the realistic dichotomy between hilarious, raunchy locker room talk and things you can actually say to a woman in public without the threat of getting slapped.

One example is “Scheming,” with Jay Dee comparing his desired female to his Jeep and asking, “Can you do what Lil’ Kim did with the Sprite bottle?” and T3 alternately admitting “You the only reason that I show up at my job / I know that you’ll be there and my heart’s in overdrive / I wanna say / Hi hey hello but can’t say much / Butterflies in my stomach got me feeling fucked up…” When Posdnuos and Phife Dawg join in, you get a 2010 version of the type of banging, quasi-love songs like “Buddy” and “Find A Way,” which laid the foundation for Slum Village.

Young RJ handles the bulk of the production, with Dilla, Hi-Tek, Mr. Porter, Khrysis and Dave West filling things out. Much like his better-known, former BR Gunna production partner Black Milk, RJ’s sound is an evolution of the Dilla template with his own touches added in. You’ll still hear Dilla-inspired, purposely over-crisp snares and the substitution of a lower frequency drum kit for a hi-hat. The familiar sound of a dusty loop, or at least making a completely new creation sound that way are also present on “Schemin’,” “Lock It Down” and “2000 Beyond.” Fans of music from the Midwest will also appreciate the Dance/Electronica influences on “Dance” and “Where Do We Go From Here.” After all, Detroit had the “Errol Flynn” down to a science long before rappers were trying to grab their glowsticks and David Guetta beats to cash in on the current dance trend.

Lyrically, the chemistry between T3, Baatin and Elzhi is the best it’s ever been. Tracks like “The Set Up” offer a glimpse of what could have been. The continuity is a vast improvement over the Trinity album, which was the last full offering this particular incarnation of SV was found on. It belies the fact that the album is probably a mix of unreleased material from the late Dilla and Baatin added to what are likely verses e-mailed back and forth between Elzhi and T3. The brutal honesty from each member on “The Reunion Pt 2” sheds more light on the topics of the group’s break-up than any interview likely ever will. It’s unfortunate that the Slum Village never got the chance to make an album when four members were alive and on on good terms. But Villa Manifesto is a great approximation of what it would’ve sounded like. In addition to being a great, sentimental note for die hard SV fans to end things on, it’s should easily be appreciated by casual fans as one of the year’s better albums.

 

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54 Comments

  • fredostarr

    It's a great album and just knocked Eminem Recovery out my #1 spot for my top albums of 2010. Like another poster said, stop putting your personal feelings about the Elzhi beef into your rating of the actual work and production of the album. The album is banging from start to finish. Elzhi is still on 7 tracks and is still the first voice you hear on the album when it starts. The track that he isnt on still has great production and great vibe to them. Stop complaining, 5 stars!!!!!

  • THEREAL#1STAN

    striaght GARBAGE cop Eminems Recovery instead, trust me.

  • NoLie

    its a cool album but why cut Elzhi out

  • Soulful Beats

    This new site design sucks, go back to the old format. As for the Slum joint, I fux with it.

  • elesgee

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  • TELL THE WORLD MY NAME

    THIS ALBUM IS ALL OVER THE PLACE & KINDA SLOPPY, BUT FOR WHAT ITS WORTH, THE MUSIC ITSELF ISN'T BAD AT ALL & ITS A NICE ALBUM. SOME OF THE SONGS ARE REALLY SHORT & ITS ALMOST OBVIOUS WHICH SONGS ELZHI WAS REMOVED FROM. THIS SHIT HAS ALOT OF SONGS FOR BITCHES LIKE THEY USUALLY DO, AND IT HAS A MIXTURE OF THAT TRADITIONAL SV VIBE MIXED IN WITH A LITTLE BIT OF A NEW VIBE. THIS SHIT IS ALRIGHT 3.5/5

  • MVProductions

    Slum need to get off this bullshit drama and just make the damn music they capable of making. Elzhi shit on T3 anyday, if anybody carrying slum right now its him and they tryin to disrespect him like that, its a damn shame.

    • LoGreen

      I agree, they really shitted on Elzhi and he was the by far the best artist in the group next to J Dilla. It's cool because we know Elzhi can have a solo career. These other niggaz on here can't because they don't have what it takes but I don't understand the hate pushing you to the point that you take your boy off of songs and fuck up a legacy that you created together. I'm not buying it just on the strength of that alone.

  • Cody Quinn

    Dude, Illa J was given those beats after his bro died.. All Dilla gems that to that point were in a vault. T3 upsets me because this whole album should of been an SV album, more tracks like 'The Set Up' / 'Bare Witness' and less 'Um Um' / 'Dance' This AB guy is not SV and he is almost on the album more than El Elzhi shouldn't of had ANY verses cut because anytime he or Tin was on was the best part of the album.. Imagine if Tin didn't die and we saw an LP like the EP :(

  • Kay W

    it has its moments but so damn forgetable , 2,5/5

  • THE REAL#1STAN

    fuckin garbage EMINEM RECOVERY IN STORES NOW!! I COPPED 18 COPIES

  • FINAL GRADE FOR THIS ALBUM

    WHEREEVER ELZHI IS ON THIS ALBUM DOESN'T BOTHER ME, HE IS A LYRICAL DUDE, BUT THE WHOLE ALBUM IS STRONG IMO. I DIDN'T FEEL THE NEED TO PRESS THE SKIP BUTTON REALLY AS ALL THE SONGS FLOWED NICELY AND ALWAYS SOME GOOD CONTENT. THIS IS PROBABLY THE LAST SLUM VILLAGE ALBUM EVER LIKE THE LITTLE BROTHER...SO ITS FAREWELL TO ANOTHER STELLAR GROUP...HIP HOPS BEEN DEAD AND OUT FOR A GOOD WHILE NOW....ITS JUST NICE TO SEE SOME GUYS DROP ONCE EVERY BLUE MOON WHICH SOONER OR LATER WILL BE RARE. RIP HIP-HOP

  • Magnum Opus

    Cutting all those Elzhi verses for personal reasons dropped this from a potential classic to just another album peeps will listen to for a month then forget about.

  • BONKEIRA

    This is good shit, the setup is the lick, but i wont lie, the dilla beats are my favorite joints on the album

  • Doc Hol

    T3 cut 7 Elzhi cuts from this album, dude recorded verses for 14 tracks n T3 actin like a bitch cut 50% of them n we ALL know that in no way was anyone elses verse doper than the cut Elzhi ones who made the album. T3 didnt even tell elzhi bout the reunion pt2 video plus gave him no say in who else was on the album jus coz El got new management which is bullshit. Personally I wont even be listenin to another T3 project from here on I dont fuck with cats like that.

  • Graabeklis

    In my opinion very weak album. Liked only 1 song of it. Beats are ok, but the there are no hits.

  • Def One of 2010's Gem's... So Far

    This album really deserves a 4.5 or a 4.25, but I'm rating it a 5 because people are including their own personal issues into why their not satified with it. It's def their most complete work since Fantasictic Vol. 2 and Illa J is only on one song, so quit catching feelings over it. Dude's wack (as proved by his solo that DILLA DIDN'T PRODUCE, the tracks were given to him because the higher ups at Delicious Vinyl had them in their stash for the longest and thought it would be a cool idea and way for him to pay homage to his BROTHER). Yes they had leftover Dilla vocals, but who cares - the shit fits. The only thing's I have complaints about is whether I'm going to see Elzhi on stage if I go to one of their shows (because T3 seems like he's on some other personal shit), and why they left that "Actin' Normal" track they released a video for off both the EP and LP (one of the main joints I was looking forward to). Other than that, this album knocks from beginning to end, was well worth the purchase and a great way to close out the legacy of SV if it really is "over." Shit's better than that "Left(over) Back" Little Brother album filled with throwaway crap... SV - TURN IT UP!!!

  • jack johnson

    *waits for the trolls pretending to be soulja boy fans to rate it 1*

  • Zillz82

    To me, this might be the most complicated album of the year to listen to. Thinking about all the stuff that has happened to SV, I applaud T3 for going through with with album [though I would have liked to have heard an earlier version of this album, just to hear how different the two are]. There are however some things I question about this album. 1. Why was Elzhi not on "The Reunion Pt.2", "Where Do We Go From Here" or "We Show You"? 2. Why was Illa J on "The Reunion Pt.2" when he was never in the group at any other point [until now I guess]?. 3. Why is Illa J even in Slum Village [If Dilla is MJ, Then Illa J is Randy]? 4.What Happened to that dope Baatin joint "Actin' Normal" [they made a video for it an everything, and it doesn't even show up on the album and I was feeling that joint]? 5. What is the REAL reason behind Elzhi no longer being in SV? 6. Why so much Young RJ & no Black Milk? 7. What Happened to that Pete Rock track they were talking about? Anywho, I'm happy to see a new SV album out. Support real Hip Hop!!!!!

  • D-what?

    SV, dilla, baatin, elzhi, t3 Forever. You rock homies.

  • BOZNIAN NIGGUH FROM DETROIT

    CLASSIC SHIT CONANT/HAMTRACK 313RD ALL DAY BITCHESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  • Arya

    Fantastic volume 2 forver. best album evaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • on 2nd thought

    The group's last album was better... and had no Dilla, no Baatin and no Illa J. Was it needed? No. Appreciated? I think so.

  • cdoakes

    This is a solid album. Well-crafted and much appreciated. Um Um is dope and Scheming is too.

  • iLoveTaint

    This album is nice don't get me wrong but @I'm At Work And Bored is right. Even tho the music is good it does not feel authentic. J Dilla could have been left off this album and there could of just been a tribute song or production alone. illa J is not his brother and it is kind of gay that he is almost being promoted as "the new J Dilla of SV" he did not need to be all over the album. I can't speak on T3 and Elzhi's status cause i don't know what their deal is. It's fine if Baatin has a couple verses if he worked hard on this while alive but this should just be promoted as an Elzhi and t3 album like the SV or Detroit Deli album with some credits to the fallen members and less illa J. The cover is deceiving packaging it like its a complete SV album which any die hard fan would know its not. These guys were not vibing in a studio. Two members are dead and the other two members haven't even talked to each other I hear. I am still pissed about illa J being anointed a new member. Oh well other than that there are some solid tracks but id take Fantastic Vol.1 or Vol.2 any day over this.

  • tazb

    Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Its music like this that I can proudly still continue repping a hip hop head

  • Na$ty Pee

    disjointed and it shows.

  • Whoolio Gee

    Dope production and good lyrics. I'm pretty sure Dilla and Baatin would be proud!

  • hahahahahaha

    shit cost me 16 bucks and i have to say it wasnt worth the purchase...but the album as a whole is okay...its listenable but not their best work

  • i'm at work and bored

    God damn it man. I just watched this disgusting video. How the hell is T3 calling this a reunion when he's the only one left in the video? And I don't care who his brother is, Illa Gay is Wick wick Wack son! There's a reason why Dilla never put his brother on, cause his flowing with wack juice. Literally 2 days after Dilla passed, this guy pops out of nowhere like he's Dilla's replacement or some shit. I have a older brother too, and I will be damned if I tried to ride his coat tails instead of making it on my own. I rather kill myself first. T3 = Otis Williams of Hip-Hop

  • on 2nd thought

    I agree. Not fucking with Illa J. Illa J - his beats = dude that should be doing other shit, away from music.

  • 10hustle

    sound tuff peace um um is FUCKING BONKERS Im buying it.. two times

  • Charles ExSavior

    Lyrically I like this album a lot, and the production is dope. 4.5 for me, but why not a 5.

  • Blaque Ali

    Reading this review is depressing man!!! Like 4real! Slum Village was my favorite group along with Little Brother, now both have split. No downloadin this one, I'ma buy 2 copies!!!! S. Villa Forever!!!

  • i'm at work and bored

    ahahahaha, he has the nerve to put Dilla, Baatin and Elzhi's name on the album cover? Wow. Fuck T3.

    • i'm at work and bored

      @ Above Yeah? Well the feeling is mutual dumb ass. How the fuck are u gonna join the group that your brother left? That is some sucka shit. Elzhi will do just fine without that fat ass.

    • Jmaes Yancey

      im at work and bored is fucking stupid. elzhi left the group, he wasnt kicked out. Baatin contributed as much as anyone else on this album. J dilla's estate gets paid, money his mom and kids need. j dilla obviously supported his brother, he produced all of his album dumb ass. and hes not worthless

    • read a book

      mama Yancey gets paid off the album. Most likely Baatin's estate will too. T3 said he's already spoke with both families and they were both cool with the album. stop saying what you think you know, when in fact you're clueless.

    • d79

      LOL, seriously.....No, seriously, THIS IS A "FUCKING-ABOMINATION".....WOW, shaking my head at T3.....Yea, I have enough music to remind me of Slum Village....The actual members and I would have coped this album, if, J-Dill and Baatin's name was not under it...

    • i'm at work and bored

      Illa J is NOT DILLA I heard Eminem's brother raps. If Em died, u think D12 will replace him with his brother? I seriously doubt it

    • on 2nd thought

      I think Illa J's involvement means the Yanceys will be paid.

    • i'm at work and bored

      Phat Kat called out this T3 clown live on the radio and this T3 piece of shit didn't know what to do.

    • i'm at work and bored

      yeah, but 2 of them passed away and Elzhi was kicked out of the group, so who's going to get paid from this album, ummm, Who's left?

    • Charles ExSavior

      @On 2nd Thought: SV used unreleased J Dilla lyrics, and yes Baatin did technically work on the album but he died before its release. Dunno why dude is buggin' on T3.

    • on 2nd thought

      Nah. THEY ALL WORKED ON THIS ALBUM, no?