It would be a grave disservice to associate Detroit hip-hop without mentioning word of Slum Village. The pioneering rap group, composed of Baatin (1974-2009), T3, and J. Dilla (1974-2006), rose to prominence in the underground rap scene in the early 90’s after the founding members met in high school. With a strong spirit of constant evolution at the group’s core, Slum Village became reputed for their distinctive artistry, with J. Dilla’s cutting-edge and soulfully minimalist production becoming a fitting foundation for the gloriously simple rhyming style of T3 and Baatin. The trio built up a growing following with their 1997 unreleased demo, Fantastic Volume 1, a project that led A Tribe Called Quest to offer Slum Village the opportunity to accompany their farewell tour. Following sharing the stage with the legendary group, Slum Village officially released their own critically acclaimed debut in 2000, Fantastic Volume 2, a project that featured high-profile guests, such as Pete Rock, Busta Rhymes, and Q-Tip. While the original line-up disbanded following their official debut with J. Dilla amicably going on to establish his solo career and the late Baatin suffering from health ailments and drug addiction the group did take on several forms over the years. Elzhi was next to join the movement, followed briefly by J. Dilla’s brother Illa J. With a current active line-up of T3 and Young RJ, Slum Village has long been praised for releasing a meaty body of work, authentically putting the Motor City on the map in a groundbreaking way.

T3: Yep, what's up? This is T3 in the place to be, 313. Yep.
st paul slim: T3 ... how would you describe your relationship with Jay Dilla? How did that friendship come about?
T3: We basically grew up together [Kona 00:00:45] Gardens. I heard about this cat Dilla ... it was John Doe at the time ... supposed to have beats.
st paul slim: Oh.
T3: And I was like "oh okay, dope" you know what I'm saying?
st paul slim: Right right right.
T3: One of my homeboys introduced me. I was already in another crew, so I heard about them. That's how I initially met Dilla. After that ... the story I always tell is that we met in my Grandmas basement. We invited emcees/djs out
st paul slim: Okay okay
T3: At the end we felt like we was the best of the best. Me, Dilla, and By10.
st paul slim:Okay
T3: So that's when we started thinking about forming a new group. That's how that started. Our relationship got deeper than that. We had temporary jobs together.
st paul slim:Right right.
T3: Coming up, doing hard work. We used to go to temporary service every morning. Me, him, and Proof.
st paul slim:Right. Okay
T3: We had a tight knit family with Dilla, that's how the whole relationship developed. From high school on up through the years.
st paul slim: Okay. That sounds real familiar with some of the cast that I grew up with here on this scene.
T3: All right.
st paul slim: My next question for you would be ... what would you want people to remember about Jay Dilla? About his legacy?
T3: The thing about this is that people throw the word genius out too much, but he actually was a genius.
st paul slim: I feel like that.
T3: I have seen him do incredible things that you couldn't imagine. Like back in the day when he decided to put his hand inside of the tape cassette to know how to speed up the tempo of the thing.
st paul slim: Oh word.
T3: Stuff like that, that's genius.
st paul slim: All right
T3: That's not a normal ... I'm not even talking about how he chopped up sound. I'm not even going to give you the obvious of why he's a genius.
st paul slim: Yeah
T3: How he could just pick any record and find a way to chop it up ... that its unchoppable. We not even ... its just like this (snap). He was one of those guys ... he could pick up any instrument and learn and play it. It was just crazy like that.
st paul slim: Yeah.
T3: You know what I'm saying?
st paul slim: Yeah no doubt.
T3: Crazy times.
st paul slim: No doubt.
T3: When you see talent like that you be like "man, I know I got skills but this is on some other ... you know what I'm saying?
st paul slim: Connecting with the Universe
T3: Right
st paul slim: Word up
T3: What I want people to remember is that ... People for years are going to be dissecting his music because there are so many hidden jewels in there.
st paul slim: Yeah.
T3: We were known for doing the simple complex, and it sounds like it's just simple, but its really more complex then you think
st paul slim: Yeah.
T3: You know what I'm saying?
st paul slim: Yeah I hear you.
T3: So he's hitting you with the simple complex so you are going to sit back like "ah, is that what that sample was? In my face and I didn't even know that was it. Was that just Slick? No no no, was that just Rick James I just heard chopped up-
st paul slim: Right
T3: And I didn't even know that's Rick James?". Stuff like that. You are going to keep finding stuff.
st paul slim: That's what's up.
T3: That's the reason why his legacy, I think, is still going today. Because people, they keep finding jewels.
st paul slim: No doubt.
T3: You know what I'm saying?
st paul slim: I first got acquainted with yall ... I was in the Marines. I was stationed out in Hawaii and I went to Tower Records. My thing back them was to just try to find something new. Whatever it is you know?
T3: Right
st paul slim: And I think I got yours, and See Say, and a bunch of other people that day. I put the CD in. It was the first one, the Fantastic.
T3: Yep
st paul slim: Man, I couldn't put it ... you know what I'm saying ...
T3: (laugh)
st paul slim: I rolled all around the island ... you know what I'm saying? Just with it up loud and just ... you know what I'm saying? I felt the love then.
T3: Right right, okay. That's love.
st paul slim: I want to know what you guys have planned next. What is your next move?
T3: We got more music coming. Me and Jay just finished up our album.
st paul slim: Okay
T3: So the new slum joint is coming. I got a lot of people on there like Ballou, and John Connor, lot of cats that we mess with on there.
st paul slim: Okay.
T3: So look for that next year, we dropping that. We have some tours coming up ... you know what I'm saying? Just the same thing. Grinding
st paul slim:Word
T3: ... States and overseas
st paul slim: Word
T3: We working ... Dilla day, twin cities 2015 we here baby T3 slum [inaudible 00:05:25] peace.

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