February 8, 2016Feature

After a stellar performance at the Beatyard Festival back in August, Detroit hip hop duo Slum Village return to Dublin to play the Sugar Club on the Saturday the February 20. Eoghan Barry caught up with T3 and Young RJ ahead of the gig

"One of the fans just got on stage and kinda just grabbed my neck and was just screaming the lyrics"

This year marks the 10th anniversary for J Dilla, and today you guys are playing at the J Dilla weekend in Miami. What’s it like there? Can you tell me a bit about the festival?

T3: This is the second one that we did, so this is the J Dilla Weekend festival, and what happens is eh, we used to do it in Detroit but we moved it to Miami because of the weather, around his birthday.

It’s always nice to come to Miami and kick it for three days – most of the performances are on the first two days and maybe a panel on the third day. It’s nice to see everyone come out and have a good time in Miami.

J Dilla is of course down as co-producer on the latest album. Can you tell me a bit about the process of incorporating his work onto ‘YES!‘?

Young RJ: As a lot of people might know, his storage bin was found in 2012, and inside of the storage bin was some Slum Village masters, some unreleased music that he had, and when they were going through it they saw a stash of music that was labeled “Slum Village” that they never really finished up, that they’d recorded for Volume 2 and maybe a little later.

So when she returned it me and T listened to it, we felt like it was time… We sat on it for about a year, a year and a half and then felt like… you know… the music is still relevant. Then we just went and enhanced the production, and we got ‘YES!’.

We added more songs to what we already had, some of the hooks were already on there, and Baatin’s vocals was already on there, so you know…

Is there more of his work there to be used in the future?

Young RJ: Yeah we got more stuff, it’s just a matter of timing, of when we wanna put it out.

I got to see you guys when you played the Beatyard Festival here in Dublin last August. Did you get to enjoy the city and do anything fun?

Young RJ: Naaah, we didn’t get a chance to, but I’m definitely trying to kick it when we come this time. So you gotta be the tour guide!

Before and after the Dublin gig, you have dates in France. Do you guys have a big following there?

Young RJ: Yeah yeah, it’s a crazy following in France, they always get live, we always get a great turn-out there.

T3: I remember one of the wild shows I did with Mobb Deep. One of the fans just got on stage and kinda just grabbed my neck and was just screaming the lyrics. Fans get kinda outrageous out there but you know we got a lot of passionate fans.

One of my favourite songs off ‘YES!’ is ‘Expressive’. What inspired the inclusion of the Suzanne Vega sample at the end of the track?

Young RJ: Ahhh, BJ The Chicago Kid, he put that in there. Yeah he’s a real creative guy.

Do you guys have any more collaborations lined up for future work?

Young RJ: Yeah, we got this project that we are working on now, a Slum and Pete Rock album. It’s in the early stages. We did a big tour, Slum and Pete, last year and we got a chance to vibe and listen to a lot of music together. The chemistry is that we always do great music together, so why not?

One more question. The whole world is watching the American Presidential Race. Can I ask you to weigh in on that?

Young RJ: I feel like they gonna put who they want in office anyway.

T3: I’m not feelin’ nobody.

Young RJ: Yeah I’m not a fan of anyone so…

T3: Just NO TRUMP, that’s what I say.

Young RJ: Yeah, no Trump!

Thanks for taking my call and we’ll see you in Dublin in 2 weeks.

Young RJ: Can’t wait to get there.

Tickets for Slum Village at the Sugar Club are €22.90 including booking fee, available from all usual ticket outlets, or you can win tickets here.

Photo by Eoghan Barry

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