Although born in New York, Rap grew up in 313.
As we continue to celebrate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, it would be a sheer sin to exclude Detroit’s legendary group Slum Village from the conversation. This OG trio absolutely dominated the late 1990s with their debut album “Fan-Tas-Tic” and the current group continues to shape the music today.
The active duo T3 and Young RJ was recently released powerful single “Just Like You” and we’re sure to have a spectacular album soon.
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to both of them about this week’s “Renaissance Man,” in an episode that is not only a walk down memory lane, but also a taste of what’s to come in hip-hop.
Like many bands, Slum Village has seen personnel changes over the years and sadly lost two of its three founding members, J Dilla and Baatin.
The third of that original crew, legendary rapper T3, recalled how the group became a meteoric success like it was just yesterday.
“I remember when J came to one of the first shows – because J started at the back as a DJ and then we moved him up front,” T3 recalled of his late friend and musician, who ended up taking over the mic.
“When I saw how we resonated with the show and the chemistry between us, I was like, ‘Okay, you know, maybe we can do this for a bang.'”
T3’s theory proved more than successful when Slum Village entered the studio. Thanks to J Dilla’s powerful influence, it didn’t take long for them to catch on big names like Busta RhymesQ-Tip, Questlove and Erykah Badu compete for coveted recording sessions.
“It was so inspiring for us to be able to bring that back to the city,” T3 said of their many successful collaborations. “It really got us going. It took a long time for anyone to get there [during that time period] because it was all word of mouth. We had no outlets.”
Doing it for Detroit was also an incredible motivation for Slum Village.
The group did not view their leap to fame as just a personal gain, but rather viewed the fame as an evolution of the Motor City’s incredibly illustrious musical history.
“It’s a melting pot. “It started with Motown when I saw the legacy they left in the city,” said Young RJ.
“At some point everyone was trying to find a way to do techno with all these different influences. The radio was also very different… we had no choice but to be original with the style because we had so many influences that could be heard around town.”
After reflecting on their true heyday, the dynamic duo behind the modern slum village have expressed great expectations for the next wave of emerging hip-hop artists.
Young RJ stressed that the genre needed “fresh, new creative ideas,” and T3 doubled down on his opinion.
“My hope for a new generation is simply keeping them fresh — keeping them original and ignorant,” he said. “Musically, I think hip-hop is just going to grow. I heard some things [new] Things that are still brewing… so, yes, stay creative. That’s what I’m saying.”
Detroit native Jalen Rose is a member of the University of Michigan’s iconoclastic Fab Five that disrupted the college basketball world in the early ’90s. He played 13 seasons in the NBA before blossoming into a media personality. Rose was executive producer of The Fab Five for the ESPN series 30 for 30, is the author of the best-selling book Got To Give the People What They Want, is a fashion trendsetter and co-founder of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy , a public charter school in his hometown.