Slum Village, Detroit Deli: A Taste of Detroit (2004)
Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit) sounds like the latest in a series of diminishing returns for Slum Village. Once considered a leader of the hip-hop vanguard for its acid, chopped-up raps and Jay Dee’s sylph-like beats, the group has been decimated in recent years, from Jay Dee’s departure for a wandering solo career (and occasional return, which he makes here) and induction of a promising new member, Elzhi, to Baatin’s subsequent exit after their last album, Trinity: Past, Present, and Future. Now just T3 and Elzhi, Slum Village is reduced to rhyming over Kanye West’s tasteful approximation of a Jay Dee beat on “Selfish.” Producers include BR Gunna, a pairing of Young RJ and Black, the latter who later found fame as Black Milk; and J Dilla, who handles “Do You.” DJ Haircut, who later became the retro soulman Mayer Hawthorne, adds scratches to “Things We Do.” A post-incarceration Ol’ Dirty Bastard jumps on “Dirty”; other guests include John Legend on “Selfish,” MC Breed, and Dwele. Dilla also guests on Detroit Deli’s most poignant moment, “Reunion,” where Elzhi addresses Baatin’s absence and descent into a drug-induced schizophrenia that eventually contributed to his death in 2009. Capitol Records.