The Last Original Member Of Slum Village Is Stepping Away With A Solo Album (Audio)
T3 has been carrying the legacy of Detroit Rap group Slum Village on his shoulders for many years. Since the deaths of fellow founding members J Dilla and Baatin (in 2006 and 2009, respectively), Slum Village’s roster of members has included Elzhi, Illa J, and Young RJ but T3’s presence has been the sole constant in the group’s 20+ year history. With 1997’s Fan-Tas-Tic (Vol. 1), Dilla, Baatin and T3 accentuated the presence of Motor City gritty on the radars of millions and its follow up (Y2K’s Fantastic, Vol. 2) solidified the group’s status as a triumvirate of lurid, unadulterated, and hardcore lyrical sparring. With a handful of releases stretching well into the 2010s, SV has enjoyed one of the most consistent careers of any Rap group, a particularly formidable achievement considering the tragedies and breakups the crew has suffered. But as T3 tells Ambrosia For Heads, it is time for us to move on.
“I’m always going to be SV,” says T3. “But I just feel like it was time for me to go solo because I don’t think people know about me, personally. I’m taking this time to take a break from Slum and embrace my own thing. Life is short, and eventually you gotta step out and do things on your own.” He says that keeping Slum Village’s name in lights has prevented him from doing the kind of self-exploration he desires, and in many ways he hasn’t even formally introduced himself to fans. In the coming months, T3 will be dropping two projects, his debut solo ventures. “On this project, I get to show my alter ego, Trace. That’s a nickname I had when I was coming up,” he explains. An evolution of the word “tres” (meaning “three” in Spanish), Trace is the side of him that has been muted for many years, but which is fully present on T3’s new single, “Turn Me Up.”
Produced by Teeko and Ruckazoid, the record signals T3’s arrival as a spitter whose verses are not meant to complement those of others. “With this record, I was basically going back into Trace mode, when I used to do different voices and characters,” he says. Of his mentioning the words “volume three” at the top of the single, T3 says “it symbolizes me and my independence from Slum Village.”
Fans can expect to hear about his childhood on the forthcoming project, a story he says is different “because even though I was in the community where people sold drugs, I stayed on the streets but never [got involved] because I had a band of friends that did great music.” He adds, “I don’t think we ever told that story, so I feel like this is my time to do that. This album is featuring the people I came up with (including Frank n Dank, Illa J, and others), and I have some famous people on there, too, but I can’t say anything yet.”
His departure from the group he started with his two late loved ones is, of course, bittersweet. “I felt like I had to keep Slum Village going for a certain amount of time because of the tragedies and [a responsibility] to keep the legacy going,” T3 explains. “They gave me more strength to keep it going, but it was hard at times.”
T3 says Volume 3 will arrive in late 2017 or early 2018. Until then, Heads can catch him and other Detroit luminaries on the Jay Dee Made This Tour this fall, for which European fans can now buy tickets.
Additional dates, including those in North America, are expected to be added soon.