Slum Village Discuss Their First Album In Nearly A Decade

During the 2010s, Hip-Hop fans speculated what the future held for Slum Village. At the top of the decade, the Detroit, Michigan crew released a special album in Villa Manifesto—a collection of songs that featured kaleidoscopic contributions from the six artists who had claimed the group since its early 1990s inception.

The album was a pivot point—looking to the past and honoring the future. In 2013’s Evolution, 2015’s Yes!, and various EPs, compilations, and mixtapes, T3 and Young RJ steered the brand. T3 stood as the surviving co-founder of Slum, and Young RJ proudly represented somebody who had been in the creative orbit of the group since his adolescence, before becoming a contributing producer, and more than earning his official status in the Villa during the 2000s.

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Since 2016’s Slum Village, Vol. 0, the duo has dropped singles periodically—working with Larry June (across multiple collaborations), The Dramatics, and RJ’s Latest Arrival. Both artists pursued solo endeavors since that time. However, in early 2024, with the release of “Request,” it was revealed that Slum Village is putting the finishing touches on a new album, FUN.

T3 and Young RJ spoke to Ambrosia For Heads this month. “‘Request’ is a record that basically came together in a hotel room, like before soundcheck in L.A. And the main thing we were trying to do was just catch a vibe with this album, and get back to havin’ fun, which is why we titled the album FUN,” the second-generation musician explains. “It started with the beat. And from there, we was just drinkin’ and kickin’ it, and the record just started coming together. And before you knew it, it was done. And then we left, went to soundcheck, went back to Detroit, and mixed the record.”

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The song features longtime collaborator Earlly Mac, who in addition to appearing on several Big Sean albums, is a storied decorated songwriter—and RJ’s cousin. “He’s an amazing writer, writing records for G-Eazy, and people like that.” The British Hip-Hop ensemble was another choice. “Abstract Orchestra, they’re just super talented musicians. We wanted the record to have a lift in it. It’s just about knowing who to call, and who gonna be able to get it done, and get it done right.”

RJ also shared the current SV formula. “T sets a task. He says, ‘What if we try something like this?’ and he’ll throw a bunch of random things and then say, ‘Aight. Now, figure it out.’ The fun part is then going in there and figuring out this task of this puzzle [and] how to put this sound together. From there, it’s just, let’s just do something that’s not [already] out there.”

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As a group founded on originality and defying conventions in Hip-Hop, RJ insists that Slum Village do that 30 years later. “So many people are trying to chase a trend. That’s not what we on. We gotta feel it, and we have to have fun making it. And if we’re not having fun making it, you’re not gonna hear an album from Slum Village. We’re not just doing it just to say we got some numbers or a new record out, because the legacy is more important than that to us.”

T3 assures fans of a meaningful album. “Get ready for FUN. It’s coming together this year. We may drop another album at the end of the year as well. We’re workin’, we’re on tour, and we’re makin’ great music. We want to thank everybody who supported all of Slum Village—through the ups and downs, and all that, for the 30 years. We love y’all.”

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Slum Village press photograph provided by The Elixir Media Group.

#BonusBeat: Slum Village’s classic “Get Dis Money” is currently the first song on the AFH Throwback playlist (follow here). T3 and RJ recently spoke about the song this month with Ambrosia For Heads: