Slum Village is a hip hop group from Conant Gardens, Detroit, Michigan. The group was formed by three members: rappers Baatin (d. 31 July 2009) and T3, plus rapper and producer J Dilla (1974–2006). J Dilla left in 2002 to pursue a solo career with MCA Records. Elzhi joined in his absence, after which Baatin also left due to health complications.
Baatin, T3, and J Dilla grew up together in the Conant Gardens neighborhood of Detroit and attended Pershing High School. The group steadily became popular in Detroit's underground hip hop scene. J Dilla also became a member of the production team known as The Ummah, which produced the two last A Tribe Called Quest studio albums, as well as hits for a number of R&B and hip hop musicians. Slum Village's first album, 1996's "Fantastic, Vol. 1", was not officially released until 2005 but highly sought after in underground circles. In 1998, the group opened for another hip hop trio, the above-mentioned A Tribe Called Quest, on their farewell tour. Originally signed to the now defunct A&M record label, the group was forced to postpone the release of their official debut album due to label politics, but in June 2000 they released "Fantastic, Vol. 2" on GoodVibe Recordings. Also that year they released an album called "Best Kept Secret", under the alias J-88, which featured remixes and leftover material from "Fantastic, Vol. 1".
For the 2002 release of "Trinity (Past, Present and Future)" on Barak/Capitol Records, T3 brought in Elzhi to join the group as J Dilla left to focus on his solo career. The album was a moderate success and contained the single "Tainted", produced by Karriem Riggins and featuring Dwele. Also in 2002, "Dirty District", a compilation of songs by Detroit rappers largely produced by T3 and "RJ" Rice, was released. The group then became a duo consisting of T3 and Elzhi, when Baatin became sick touring in France shortly before the release of their 2004 album, "Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit)" and departed to seek treatment. The album included the hit single, "Selfish", produced by Kanye West and featuring John Legend. The song samples a part of the intro to the hit song "Call Me" by Aretha Franklin. After parting ways with Capitol Records in 2005, they released "Prequel to a Classic", a mixtape of mostly previously unreleased material, followed by a self-titled release in October of the same year. "Villa Manifesto" was released under Ne'Astra Music Group on July 27, 2010, featuring Baatin.