Slum Village

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Slum Village
Young RJ et T3 (Slum Village).jpg
Slum Village (Young RJ & T3) performing at the Nouveau Casino, Paris, in September 2014
Background information
Origin Detroit, Michigan,
United States
Genres Hip hop
Years active 1996–present
Labels Barak/Capitol
Members T3
Young RJ
Past members J Dilla (deceased)
Baatin (deceased)
Illa J

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.[1][2]

Formation and early years[edit]

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.[3][4] It was here in the early 1990s that they formed the group, which originally went by the name of Ssenepod ("dopeness" spelled backwards).[3][5] Around this time the group would hone their skills during open-mic nights at Detriot's Hip-Hop Shop along with a young Eminem.[6] Ssenepod was renamed to Slum Village in 1991.

From 1996-1997 the group recorded their first album Fantastic (Vol. 1),[3] however it was not officially released until 2005, 8 years after original recording.[7]

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.[4] 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.[3]

J Dilla era[edit]

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.[4] In 1998, Slum Village opened for A Tribe Called Quest, on their farewell tour.[1] 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.[3]

J Dilla passed away on February 10, 2006, after being diagnosed with TTP and Lupus.[8] 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.[9]

Slum Village's 2015 album YES! features songs that were produced by Dilla before his 2006 death.

Baatin era[edit]

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.[10] 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.[6]

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:

Suffering from mental illness and a drug problem, Baatin left the group in 2003.[12] He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.[5] 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.[13] He also held the group's label responsible. In an interview he stated:

After leaving the group, he began recording as a solo artist. During this period, he went by the name "Baatin the Slumlord."[14] In 2008, the dispute was resolved and Baatin reunited with T3 and Elzhi, and worked on the group's sixth album Villa Manifesto.[2]

Baatin died on July 31, 2009 at the age of 35. He was found in his home on Anglin Street in northeast Detroit.[15] 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.[2][16]

Baatin was survived by a son, Michael Majesty Ellis, a daughter, Aura Grace Glover, and a sister, Tina, all of Detroit.[6]

Elzhi era[edit]

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[citation needed]. 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":

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.[18]

Solo work[edit]

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)


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions
<>US Ind
2000 Fantastic, Vol. 2
  • Released: June 13, 2000
  • Label: GoodVibe
  • Format: CD, digital download
180 44
2002 Trinity (Past, Present and Future)
  • Released: August 13, 2002
  • Label: Barak, Capitol Records
  • Format: CD, digital download
20 5
2004 Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit)
  • Released: June 29, 2004
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • Format: CD, digital download
37 6
2005 Fan-Tas-Tic (Vol. 1)
  • Released: 2005
  • Label: Counterflow
  • Format: CD, digital download
26 2
Slum Village
  • Released: October 25, 2005
  • Label: Barak Records
  • Format: CD, digital download
80 33
2010 Villa Manifesto
  • Released: July 27, 2010
  • Label: E1 Records
  • Format: CD, digital download
2013 Evolution
  • Released: June 25, 2013
  • Label: Ne'Astra Music
  • Format: CD, digital download
2015 Yes!
  • Released: June 16, 2015
  • Label: Ne'Astra Music
  • Format: CD, digital download


List of mixtapes, with year released
Title Album details
Dirty Slums
(with Mick Boogie)
  • Released: March 27, 2012[19]
  • Label: Synchronization
  • Format: Digital download
Dirty Slums 2
(with Mick Boogie)
  • Released: January 29, 2013[20]
  • Label: Synchronization
  • Format: Digital download


Year Album
2009 Villa Manifesto EP
  • Released: December 15, 2009
  • Label: Barak
  • Format: CD, digital download
Year Album
2014 Vintage EP
  • Released: July 1, 2014
  • Label: Ne'Astra Music Group
  • Format: Vinyl


Year Album Peak chart positions
2000 Best Kept Secret (under the alias as J-88)
  • Released: July 31, 2000
  • Label: Groove Attack
  • Format: CD, digital download
2002 Dirty District
  • Released: 2002
  • Label: Sequence Records
  • Format: CD, digital download
78 25
2005 Prequel to a Classic
  • Released: 2005
  • Label: Barak Records
  • Format: CD, digital download


Year Song Chart positions Album
US Rap
1999 "Get Dis Money" Fantastic, Vol. 2
2000 "Climax"
"Raise It Up"
"Players" 32
2002 "Tainted" (featuring Dwele) 87 31 20 Trinity (Past, Present and Future)
"Disco" 93
2004 "Selfish" (featuring Kanye West and John Legend) 55 20 15 Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit)
"Do You"
2005 "EZ Up" Slum Village
2009 "Dope Man" Villa Manifesto EP
"Cloud 9"
"Actin' Normal"
2010 "Faster" (featuring Colin Munroe) Villa Manifesto



  1. ^ a b "Slum Village". iTunes. Apple. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Pete Tosiello (May 2, 2015). "It Takes a Village: The Tragedy and Triumph of Detroit's Slum Village". VICE. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Official Slum Village Bio". Slum Village. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Vladimir Bogdanov (2003). All Music Guide to Hip-hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip-hop. Back Beat Books. p. 234. ISBN 0879307595. 
  5. ^ a b Aaron Foley (August 1, 2009). "Baatin of Detroit's Slum Village dead at 35". mlive. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Valerie J. Nelson (August 2, 2009). "Baatin dies at 35; rapper co-founded progressive hip-hop group Slum Village". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Fan-Tas-Tic Vol. 1". Genius. 
  8. ^ "Jay Dee | Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  9. ^ "BET Experience 2015: The Roots, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes & More Pay Tribute to J Dilla". 2015-06-288. Retrieved 2015-10-25.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ Brian Musich. "Slum Village | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ Amy Phillips (August 2, 2009). "R.I.P. Baatin of Slum Village". Pitchfork. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Todd E. Jones (September 2003). "Baatin". MVRemix. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "events". Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  15. ^ [2][dead link]
  16. ^ "Baatin death ruled accident". Detroit Free Press. 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  17. ^ Burgess, Omar (2008-12-17). "T3 Talks Slum Village Reunion, Solo Projects And More | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHopDX. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "iTunes - Music - Dirty Slums by Slum Village". 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  20. ^ "iTunes - Music - Dirty Slums 2 by Slum Village". 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 

External links[edit]