T3 is tired of the anonymity, tired of the confusion, tired of the searching. Four years after Slum Village’s incredible Fantastic, Vol. 2, and on the heels of their distinguished follow up LP, Trinity, the Detroit natives are still looking for acknowledgment, respect and fans. “I’ve heard people comparing us to J5,” says one of Slum’s fine MCs with warranted disbelief. T3’s right, because while SV is indeed golden, the similarities to Jurassic 5 end there.
However, Slum Village is neither angered nor upset by the confusion. The closest the group, collectively, has come to negativity is frustration, yet that has served to motivate Detroit’s best hip-hoppers, and Baatin, Elzhi, Jay Dee and T3 are currently hard at work on what T3 thinks will be the group’s magnum opus – an album that will announce SV’s arrival, define their sound and attract a real fan base.
Part of that process includes rocking live shows, and tomorrow night Slum Village and Athletic Mic League will be setting things off at the Blind Pig. In preparation for that event, T3 spoke with The Michigan Daily about Slum’s music, future and sound. So read this and peep tomorrow’s show because no longer will excuses be tolerated; no longer will pleas of unintended ignorance stand accepted; no longer will SV operate in obscurity.
The Michigan Daily: What’s going on with Slum?
T3: Right now, we’re working on a new album. The new record will have all four of us, and me, my partner, Jay Dee and some other Detroit cats will be producing. The sound will be somewhat like Vol. 2 but kind of more uptempo, and there will be a little club to it, but nothing too over the top. If you can imagine it, there will be a little old with a little new.
TMD: Will there be songs that facilitate Slum getting put on, because right now it seems like people are sleeping?
T3: I think so. I think that the radio will be drawn to this (new stuff). The only thing (from Trinity) that will be incorporated on the new project will be Elzhi.
TMD: What’s the biggest hurdle that’s stood in your way when trying to gain recognition?
T3: I don’t think people really understood us or what we were really about. On one hand, people thought we were hip-hop, and on the other, people said that the lyrics weren’t hip-hop.
So, we haven’t gotten complete love all the way in the commercial or the underground, because the things we talk about are more street oriented. We talk about ladies and cars and shit like that, and most “hip-hop” guys don’t talk about that. So, the fact that we weren’t “conscious” or talking about our people made it hard for the hip-hop world and the commercial to accept us.
We are still dancing on that line, and we’re still going to be in between both worlds because that’s just what we are. We’re kind of commercial but we’re kind of underground at the same time in terms of our sound. I think that the stuff that we talk about is just regular stuff that people like.
If you listen to a Vol. 2, you will hear a song like “Get Dis Money,” and that’s a song that most hip-hop cats wouldn’t make. And I don’t think that people understood what kind of guys we were.
We’re like ladies man type of guys. We’re real Detroit guys, and we’re just going to make things clearer. We’re going to put all the pieces together, having Jay Dilla, Baatin, Elzhi and me, and we’re going to come with a classic.
We’re going to spell it out and define ourselves. We know who we are. We’re street guys – not like selling-drugs street – but street guys as in we came from a rough neighborhood but chose the path of making our music. We were automatically pushed into a category with Tribe without people listening to our lyrics. So, we just want to redefine our (niche).
TMD: Would people better recognize SV if Eminem and D12 hadn’t already claimed the Detroit streets, rappin’ about guns and drugs?
T3: I don’t think they have taken the streets; they’re still somewhat comedic as well. I respect Eminem and what he does, and D12, but I don’t think that they represent the side of Detroit that we come from. We’re from in the streets, and they don’t tell our story. We come from (Conant Gardens), Seven Mile, you know?