Slum Village

Villa Manifesto

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With the release of Villa Manifesto came rumors that it would be Slum Village’s final album. Following the death of Dilla in 2006, T3 stopped making music completely. After a significant mourning period, he reluctantly continued on, only to see his remaining founding partner, Baatin, a recovering schizophrenic, fall prey to the same fate during the recording of Villa Manifesto in 2009. Slum Village was put to rest with no expectations of re-forming before T3 decided that his musical brothers would want him to carry the torch. Villa Manifesto addresses the issues of death and the reasons for the group’s hiatus, which makes for an outing that delves into darker territory. However, the subjects of overcoming odds and urban plight have always been commonplace for SV -- which are almost as frequently discussed as their abilities on the microphone and in the bedroom -- and when you come from Detroit, you develop a thick skin and a quick healing factor. Elzhi and Illa J assist T3 in the catharsis and mine J. Dilla’s vaults to find some unreleased beats. Along with Dilla’s sparse but tasty, “Lock it Down” and “We’ll Show You,” the album jaunts from classic-sounding hip-hop to lush, synthesized departures filled with buttery D’Angelo-ish hooks. While the album doesn’t sound much different that Detroit Deli, or their self-titled 2005 release, producers Young RJ, and Dave West deviate from the SV norm with a two-steppin’ nod to early Prince ("Dance"), and a kazoo-tooting bassline ("Earl Flinn"). These quirkier moments balance out the heavy reminiscing in “The Reunion, Pt. 2” nicely, while guest spots by veterans De La Soul’s Posdnuos and Tribe Called Quest’s Phife make “Scheming” a standout serenade.

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