Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Album Review: Slum Village- Yes!

Slum Village
***and 1/2 out of *****
The Detroit Hip Hop institution Slum Village has faced its fair share of trauma with the death of original members J Dilla and Baatin but the group continues to release easy bouncing hip hop that, while not as retro as it's cover art, would be just as at home in 1995 as 2015.

Built around the beats of J Dilla, who posthumously produced 9 of the 12 tracks here also appearing with Baatin rhyming on tracks. Releasing hip hop after people have passed is common place but the beautiful part of Yes! is that it never once feels forced, things flow expertly which is a testament to Young RJ working to match the present with the past.

Opener "Love Is" is a smooth sex rhyme while the better "Tear It Down" actually performs the title trick by deconstructing the beat halfway through then chanting the refrain building the track back up with a distorted verse. The beautiful bouncing bass on "Expressive" is classic J Dilla and makes a fairly common R&B track pulse vibrantly alive.  

"Push It Along" brings in Phife Dawg from the original and that mid 90's Tribe vibe is clearly alive. To ram the point home De La Soul show up "Right Back" bringing back the classic flow, reminding long time fans of the lush sound that made alternative hip hop an actual thing.

Other guests like Black Milk and Frank Nitt help out "We On The Go!" while the current day anger with police tactics is addressed in "Windows" with the help of J Ivy. While the retro appeal is clear the current day players on tracks like "Where We Come From" is just as vital to the overall feel and tone.

The album easily breezes by where other hip-hop full lengths can struggle and drag, usually bloated with dumb skits or throw away tracks. In this case the conclusion of Yes! comes too soon.
Support the artist here, buy the album here, and peep some video below:


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