Detroit hip-hop group Slum Village bring trademark lyrical wisdom to “Right Back,” a laid-back new track featuring guest verses from De La Soul and headphone-worthy production from the late, great Slum Village co-founder J Dilla.
The beat is propelled by a drowsy piano pattern and Dilla’s unique just-barely-offbeat drum style, with random EQ tweaks giving the groove a psychedelic bent.
Slum Village will release their new studio album, Yes!, on June 16th. Last month, the group premiered the funky, bass-heavy “Expressive” (also produced by J Dilla), which features verses from collaborator –and Dilla’s younger brother – Illa J and smooth, D’Angelo-esque vocal harmonies from BJ the Chicago Kid. The 12-track LP includes nine songs posthumously produced or co-produced by Dilla, along with appearances from Phife Dawg, Bilal and J Ivy, among others.
The original Slum line-up – Dilla, rappers T3 and Baatin – formed in 1996 and gained notoriety in the Detroit underground rap scene. Their debut LP, 1996’s Fantastic Vol. 1, was shelved until 2005, and the trio made their official debut with 2000’s Fantastic Vol. 2. Numerous member changes followed, with Dilla leaving in 2002 to pursue a solo career. The producer died in 2006, leaving a legacy as one of the genre’s most innovative beatmakers, and Baatin died in 2009. The group’s core lineup currently includes T3 and rapper-producer Young RJ.
“The new Yes! album is gonna be vintage, classic Slum Village, with the old cats with some new blood,” Young RJ told SoulBounce last month. “Dilla did 80 percent of the production, with some new stuff. Dilla’s on there rapping, you got Baatin on there rapping; I just filled in the blanks on a couple songs just to switch it up, and you know, it’s classic Slum. So if you like Vol. 1, Vol. 2, then you’re gonna like this. So that’s what I would say it’s like the continuation.”