Slum Village: B Sides
B Sides is largely a collection of previously released tracks from Detroit super group Slum Village. Formed by Baatin, J Dilla and T3, and later consisting of Elzhi, Slum Village is affectionately known and admired for a masterful and musically-rich hip hop sound. Their unique approach to thoughtful rap lyrics and wholesome beats that consist of wildly addictive bass lines and soulfully lush instrumentation never depreciate. Collaborations boasting De La Soul, Questlove and A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg inundate B Sides.
Uber-luscious grandstanding piano and a righteous complexity of drums impressively ignites the luscious vocal dynamics from UK singer Marsha Ambrosius on the track “Cloud 9.” Funky drummer-esque percussion on “2000 Beyond” feels more like a self-motivational power anthem while “Scheming” oozes through with a soft, breezy regality as it is a track length of inventive pick-up lines that no doubt work. The use of violins is elegant over a feisty piano riff and deep, way-deep, drum and bass. Both tracks were produced by Young RJ. A slick running reversal of the praise Bonita Applebum received in the A Tribe Called Quest song of the same title, “Turning Me Off,” describes a jagged scene of a drug-addicted femme fatale with an eerie storytelling portrayal of a love and admiration that is quickly and literally lost. The beauty of B Sides is that it harkens to a time when it was more celebrated to be original. The organic soul sound and innovative writing remains refreshing and soul pleasingly warm.