Slum Village began out of a dream from three Pershing High School classmates living in the Constant Gardens section of Detroit, Michigan. J Dilla, Baatin, and T3 would organically garner attention in the mid-1990s. At the same time that Dilla (as “Jay Dee”) was sought out to produce for A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Pharcyde, and Mad Skillz, his group’s “fantastic” bootleg circulated across the industry and among Hip-Hop Heads. By Y2K, the group was dealing with major label love, two heralded albums, and a hand on Motown’s baton.
However, Dilla and Baatin both exited the group during the early 2000s. While T3 held the reigns, both artists stayed loosely involved (including Baatin’s full-on return for Villa Manifesto). Meanwhile, T3 carried the torch with Elzhi, an esteemed lyricist. Young RJ (and for a time, Black Milk) handled lots of production. While fans always held the original trio’s work on a pedestal, Slum Village continued supplying dope Hip-Hop from The D well into recent years. Although the lineup shifted, T3 always was the rock—even through J Dilla’s death in 2006, and Baatin’s passing in 2009.