Slum Village: The 2000 Lost Interview

slum v_fantasticEditor’s Note: SoulTrain.com contributor Mr. Joe Walker originally conducted this interview with Slum Village in 2000, and is sharing it with our SoulTrain.com family.  Enjoy this throwback interview with T3, Baatin, and DJ Dez of Slum Village!

Thirteen years ago in the summer of 2000: The sun was setting over the waters of Mona Lake Park in Muskegon, MI, bringing the day’s event–an annual all-day festival called Peace Jam–to a close. Detroit-native hip-hop group Slum Village–its members T3 and Baatin accompanied by DJ Dez (third member J Dilla was absent)–was on hand to judge the fan-favorite talent show portion.

The group had just recently returned from touring Europe, and their major label debut album Fantastic Vol. 2 was still fresh on retail shelves. I was leading a rag-tag group of hip-hop junkie online journalists covering the event, and we eagerly awaited our post-show interview opportunity. Once the event concluded and the park cleared of patrons and onlookers, T3, Baatin and Dez joined me, my Internet colleagues, the talent show winner, and underground hip-hop star Chilla Pertilla under an umbrella of leafy tree branches for an on-the-record conversation. As we talked, the winner passed around a couple bags of flaming hot Jays potato chips for all to enjoy! A great time indeed, this interview was somehow lost, buried deep in my archives and never released–until now!

Thirteen years later: T3, taking a break from promoting their new mixtape Slum Village: Dirty Slums 2, looks back on that summer day with fond laughter. “I remember that day, it was the first time we’d ever been there, and the rap cat who won ripped it,” he recalls. Since then Slum Village has released four more acclaimed albums–Trinity (Past, Present and Future), Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit), Slum Village, and Villa Manifesto–and T3 remains the only original member following the passing of both Baatin (2009, cause unknown) and J Dilla (2006, TTP and lupus). The legacy the three friends from Conant Gardens created together, though, still lives on today.

So enjoy this very special and nostalgic SoulTrain.com exclusive in celebration of Black History Month!

So what did you think of Peace Jam 2000?

T3: It was cool, man. It’s nice to have people come out, represent, do their thing and…eat chips and party! That’s always cool.

Tell us what it feels like to perform in another town in Michigan and get a nice reception from the people there.

T3: It’s all love. We really didn’t get a chance to put it down like we wanted to, but it’s still all love. It’s good to come up to another part of Michigan and check it out. I don’t know nothing about Muskegon, but it’s cool.

Dang, Baatin…you’re tearing those chips up!

Baatin: Hell, yeah; these chips is good! Best part of the day, other than Golden Child winning the joint. It’s all love in The Glove!

I’m sure it’s good to be back in The Glove, but what was it like touring overseas? How was Europe?

T3: It’s was beautiful! Man, the women over there…

DJ Dez: Laaaaadies!

T3: …it’s something special; that’s all I can say!

Baatin: And the crowds are more open to groups that are coming up. Groups they’ve never heard of, they’ll give them some love just because they’re from the States. So it’s better than going to any other state and they don’t know you, because they’ll hate on you in a minute. We got a lot of love over there.

What is your favorite place to perform?

T3: We have a couple – Philly, Detroit, umm…‘Tin, what’s another one of our favorite places to do a show?

Baatin: Toronto, Detroit, Paris; we love to rock in Philly with Bahamadia, and we’ll be on the Lyricist Lounge together.

T3: And we’ll be on the Okayplayer Tour with The Roots, too, so we’ll be rehearsing together in Philly.

Who is someone you’re looking to work with in the future?

T3: Well, it’s not so much other rappers. This guy that makes Samba music, Sergio Mendes, we want to do something with him. And maybe Prince, that’s about it. Other than them, we’re tight.

So what was it like working closely with Common?

T3: Splendid, but that’s family–Midwest, man!

Baatin: Detroit is like his second home, you know what I’m saying? He did most of his album right in the studio. He’s one of the realest cats who really supported us when we wasn’t nobody.

T3: We’ve still got a long way to go, but he helped out a lot.

You’ve been around doing your thing underground for a long time, along with a lot of other Michigan artists. But what is it going to take for those Michigan artists to come together like the West, East and South, and work on projects together?

T3: The funny thing about Michigan is we’re all kind of separate; I do my thing over here, you do your thing over there. It’s crazy. I don’t know why it’s like that. It’s good and it’s bad because we’ve all got different styles. You go to different coasts and they’re all together in the same studio, and all of those artists sound the same. But if you’re all separate and you’re all creative…You take Eminem, you take Slum Village, you take Royce 5’9”, we all sound totally different. Nobody sounds like nobody else, but we all know each other! I don’t know what it’s going to take for us all to get together though.

I don’t want to point fingers or sound negative, but how does it make you feel when there are other artists from your home town getting a lot of national attention, and people mention Slum Village to people in those same circles and they respond, “Who?”

T3: It’s all about working and getting out there. Other artists did a lot of work, so I’m not mad at nobody for doing their thing. If you’re getting your respect you must deserve it. When it’s our time to shine it’s going to come around.

Baatin: Exactly. Pay your dues!

DJ Dez: You do have people who come up and blow up quick, but for the most part that’s rare. People try shortcuts and try to get around putting work in. People talk about, “Well, if I don’t blow up in five years…”, but you just never know. These cats have been together since, like, forever! You can’t call it.

What’s the most meaningful song you’ve done so far that really defines what you’ve been through to get to where you are?

T3: I’d say one of the most meaningful songs off this album is “Fall In Love”. It’s got to do with rap cats coming up thinking this is so easy to do, they think it’s quick money…It took us eight years to get a record deal!  I’m not saying it’s going to take you eight years, but it could be.

Baatin: When they get in it they take it so damn serious. It ain’t all that serious, but it ain’t a game. You know what I mean?

Baatin, it looks like those chips ain’t a game!

Baatin: Can’t stop eating those Jays. (Laughs)

Let’s talk about the Internet; it’s doing a lot for hip-hop, but what has it done for you guys?

T3: The Internet is cool. It gets you out there to reach out and touch your fans easier.  I can be at home in Detroit talking to a guy in Japan. You couldn’t do that before without a super long-distance phone bill! It’s cool for that, but that Napster stuff? I’m not feeling that so much! That’s taking money out of the artists’ pocket. We go and sweat, do these shows, I’m expecting people to buy the album, not download it for free. It’s good, but it’s bad. But we gotta eat!

RIP Titus “Baatin” Glover and James “J Dilla” Yancey

For more on Slum Village visit their official website SlumVillage.com and follow them Twitter @slumvillage.

–Mr. Joe Walker

Mr. Joe Walker, a senior contributor for SoulTrain.com, staff writer for Muskegon Tribune Newspaper, and feature writer for City Locs, is an award-winning entertainment and news journalist and columnist published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. Former Editor In Chief of XPOZ Magazine, his work has graced the pages and covers of Notion Magazine, Kalamazoo Gazette Newspaper, Real Detroit Weekly, and MLive.com. He loves to create, loves that you read. Follow him on Twitter @mrjoewalker. Also visit MrJoeWalker.blogspot.com.

 

One Comment

  1. This was really a gift to be able to see Baatins words, I could really see his face and hear his words while reading this. Thanks!

Leave a Comment



Powered by WordPress | Site by Fishbucket