Release Date: Jul 2, 2013
Record label: Traffic Entertainment Group
Slum Village :: EvolutionSlum VillageAuthor: Steve 'Flash' Juon"Too bad you didn't believeTold you nigz I had a trick up my sleeve - here it isNew team - new soundWhole different flavor - take a taste, pass it aroundTastes good don't it? I'm killin my opponentsI know I'm gettin on your nerves like serotoninDon't it? Run your mouth I hear the chit-chatterI'm too big for small talk so y'all don't matter" - "The Line" Practicing amateur psychology while reviewing a hip-hop album is a risky proposition. If I had to define what Slum Village is saying on "Evolution" though, the group is feeling anxiety about their hip-hop stature. On the surface that would be unnecessary given that they've been around a decade, but on closer examination 2 of the original 3 have been stricken by ailments and returned to their spiritual essence.
What was supposed to be a celebratory reunion of sorts for ground-breaking rap group Slum Village their last time out ended in a bit of turmoil, with Elzhi being unceremoniously removed from the group. With new disc Evolution, part-time producer Young RJ and Dilla's brother, Illa J, have been elevated to full member status, as T3 has decided to soldier on under the SV moniker into the group's next phase. On the strength of the solid and often load-lifting production from Young RJ, built largely upon crisp, lively drums, vibrant piano and synth-laced backdrops, the disc's MCs go to work, offering up a fair amount of lyrical variety that finds the mark in fits and starts throughout.
Though Detroit's Slum Village has suffered many hardships, their music, for the most part, has been consistent: 2002’s Trinity: Past, Present and Future had a few positively soupy J Dilla productions as strong as anything he did for the previous material, while 2004’s Detroit Deli had star power, including a contribution from Kanye West. But fast-forward to 2013 and things look almost entirely different: Baatin and Dilla having passed on in the past half-decade, the core unit carrying on the legacy is T3 (the only founding member remaining), Illa J, and Young RJ. With just a single original member, it seems wrong call this project Slum Village.