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Breaking bread with Elzhi

Slum Village: Part Two

[Part 2 of 2]


Here is the second part of the interview with Elzhi of Slum Village.


 

[more:]
Prefix Magazine:
How would you describe the vibe of Detroit Deli?

Slum Village: Part Two:
Expect to hear a more focused Slum Village. Slum has been doing they thing for a long time. It was never quite clear what they was about. Everybody wants to say Slum is conscious rap. I don't want to deny we're conscious, but we're also conscious of what is going on around us. If you go back to Fantastic, Vol. 2, we got a song on there called "Climax" where we talk about threesomes, and we got songs like "Raise It Up," which is harder. We got songs like "Conant Gardens," where we reppin' where we from. We got songs on there with Kurupt, we got songs on there about cats sleepin' on us.

Even when you look at Trinity, we got songs about hoes, but we also got songs where blatantly I state that Baatin was sick. We were still on tour and we talk about a lot of things. On this album, it's no different, but it is more focused. I feel like it's way more personal than any other album that SV has came out with. On "Hold On" we talk about our flaws, bringin' them out to the world so hopefully people can apply it to their everyday lives. We got situations on there where we talk about single parents and how they got their struggles, and we got a song on there called "The Reunion," where we talk about what's goin' on with SV.

I think lyrically we stepped it up, and I think music-wise we're more focused. I don't think Slum has missed a beat. The only thing different is Baatin is gone. I wish he wasn't, but with his situation, he just has to get himself together. Hopefully, he'll be on the next go around.

PM:
Slum Village is in an interesting spot. You're not a mainstream act, but you have broken through the underground. Where do you think SV fits in today's hip-hop?

Slum Village: Part Two:
I think we got a place in hip-hop like Outkast got a place in hip-hop. Slum is always going to push the envelope. One thing you can say about Slum is you're never gonna know how the next album is going to sound. You don't know if they're gonna come alternative, techno, jazz or hip-hopped out. You never know.

That all comes from the city we're from. We grew up around many musical influences. By us having that love for music, you're gonna hear bits and pieces and elements from all types of music. We're trying to make sure there is always something new and fresh in the game. We're not trying to do what we did five years ago. We're not trying to do what somebody is doing right now. We're always going to keep that original feel in the game. That's what we want to be known for.

PM:
In your opinion, what was the golden age of hip-hop? Did we pass it already, or is the best yet to come?

Slum Village: Part Two:
I think there are a couple of golden ages. People can't really see what I see as far as what's going on with me and my group. I know we're working on a new album right now, and for us, it's all about elevation. Lets say we gave you level 25 on Detroit Deli; the new one is going to be level 35. So it is all about levels of gradual growth with me. On our end, I see us taking it to that next level.

So it may be a golden age in the future. But as far as looking back, my golden age is the early-'90s to late '96. You got Nas up in that shuffle, Jeru the Damaja, Organized Konfusion, A Tribe Called Quest, Kool G Rap and Rakim was still killing them, Wu-Tang, The Chronic. You had a bunch of innovative artists. But it seems after '96, everybody started to sound the same.

PM:
SV has worked with big artists including Kanye, ODB, Busta, Q-Tip and Pete Rock. What other artists are you looking to work with?

Slum Village: Part Two:
We got some artists in mind. For the new SV -- I'll just give you one -- we're trying to work with James Brown. We might end up doing something, I don't know. But having him come in and actually finish off the verses. That's one of the cats, but we have a couple more people in mind. Jadakiss actually reached out to us recently, and he wanted to work with us. He was like, "Man, we could do a remix or something." So that's pretty cool. We want to work with the greats, from Prince to the Dramatics.

Slum Village - Breaking bread with Elzhi Rhian Benson Globetrotting, piano-playing, style-blending soul singer
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