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Slum Village Biography

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Birth Place: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Years Active: 1996-Present
Genres: Hip Hop

Slum Village was a hip hop group from Conant Gardens, Detroit, Michigan. The group was formed by three members, rappers Baatin (deceased, July 31, 2009) and T3, plus rapper and producer J Dilla (deceased, February 10, 2006). J Dilla left in 2002 to pursue a solo career with MCA Records. Elzhi joined in his absence, after which Baatin also left due to health complications.

Baatin, T3, and J Dilla grew up together in the Conant Gardens neighborhood of Detroit and attended Pershing High School. The group steadily became popular in Detroit' sunderground hip hop scene. J Dilla also became a member of the 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.

Slum Village's first album, 1996's “Fantastic, Vol. 1,” was not officially released until 2005 but highly sought after in underground circles. In 1998, the group opened for another hip-hop trio, the above-mentioned A Tribe Called Quest, on their farewell tour.

Originally signed to the now defunct A&M record label, the group was forced to postpone the release of their official debut album due to label issues, but in June 2000 they released “Fantastic, Vol. 2” on GoodVibe Recordings. Also that year they released an album called “Best Kept Secret,” under the alias J-88, which featured remixes and leftover material from “Fantastic, Vol. 1.”

In 2001 J Dilla left Slum Village to pursue a major label solo career with MCA Records and longtime affiliate, Elzhi, joined the remaining members. Their next album, “Trinity (Past, Present and Future)” was released in 2002. The album went to #5 on the Billboard Rap Albums chart and #20 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

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. He soon went to the hospital and received a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Following this, he was no longer part of the group.

The group then became a duo consisting of T3 and Elzhi shortly before the release of their 2004 album, “Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit).” The album included the hit single, “Selfish,” produced by Kanye West and featuring John Legend. After parting ways with Capitol Records in 2005, they released “Prequel to a Classic,” a mixtape of mostly previously unreleased material, followed by a self-titled release in October of the same year.

Former member J Dilla died on February 10, 2006 after being diagnosed with TTP and Lupus. Baatin died on July 31, 2009 at the age of 35 and his cause of death currently remains unknown

Their album, “Villa Manifesto” was released under Koch Records in 2010, featuring the late Baatin. “Villa Manifesto” served as both a reunion and a memorial album. Two late founding members of the group Baatin and J Dilla appeared posthumously as main artists alongside T3 and Elzhi, and Illa J, J Dilla's younger brother, making it the first Slum Village LP to feature all five members.