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Slum Village Greatest Hits Vol. 1

Slum Village

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Album Review

Plagued by record label drama and a revolving door for members, the scrappy Slum Village somehow overcome and deliver an album that's straight to the point, filler-free, and hungry like a debut. Self-titled just like a career kick-off, the album references the past and dues paid but makes an argument that the Village were a collective before and a real group now, with T3 and Elzhi the true players. They have every right to record an album of believable "we're back" and "our struggle" tracks, but their Prequel to a Classic mixtape that appeared earlier in the year allowed them to exorcise some demons, move on, and make this proper album incredibly well rounded. The crunching "Set It," club-worthy "Ez Up," and spirited "Call Me," with its Isley Brothers samples, all represent the versatile, radio-friendly side of the group, while the more heady numbers prove former member Jay Dee wasn't entirely responsible for the more Tribe Called Quest moments in the band's past. Production whiz Jay Dee deserves all the respect he gets, but some more should be thrown the way of Black Mail and Young RJ, the producers behind the meatiest moments of Slum Village. Looping the oddest bit of King Crimson's "I Talk to the Wind," the team concocts the fantastic daisy-age track "Multiply," while the soul-searching stunner "Can I Be Me" offers a brittle, shuffling beat with which few MCs would blend. Recalling Ghostface at his most ambitious, "05" is their best lyrical moment, both a triumphant anthem for Slum Village phase two and a sentimental goodbye to troubled and departed member Baatin. Still, you don't need to be well versed in Slum Village's history to enjoy this well-built album, but it's so good you'll be coaxed into exploring it. [Slum Village was also made available in a clean version, with all explicit material removed.]

Biography

Formed: Detroit, MI

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Rising from the rugged streets and rich musical tapestry of Detroit, Slum Village were poised to carry on the old-school, funk, and soul-filled hip-hop torch of genre pioneers A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and the Pharcyde. Growing up in the Conant Garden neighborhood of Detroit and forming during high school at Detroit's Pershing High School, MCs Baatin, Jay Dee, and T3 quickly garnered praise and recognition in the local underground scene. In the mid-'90s, Jay Dee became part of the hip-hop...
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Slum Village Greatest Hits Vol. 1, Slum Village
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