Slum Village: Where Are They Now?

In the late ‘90s, Slum Village emerged as a formidable force in Hip Hop. They burst into the scene with poignant lyrics and a commitment to authenticity. Despite the challenges the group and its members faced, Slum Village has endured and managed to stay together. Although their popularity has declined, the essence of the group has endured over the years. However, there have been different lineups in the group since it was first formed. Because of that, some fans may not know past members, depending on when they began listening to the group. Lovers of the group are in luck though, as Slum Village will be releasing a new album, FUN, soon enough. For old fans who lost track of the group, and newer fans, here’s an overview of the state of Slum Village and the whereabouts of its members.

Slum Village: Detroit Kings

In 1996, J Dilla, T3, and Baatin, the founding members of Slum Village, formed the group in Detroit, Michigan. Subsequently, the first album they recorded together, Fantastic, Vol. 1, unofficially dropped as a bootleg release in 1997. It wasn’t until nine years later that the group officially released the album. Nevertheless, Fantastic, Vol. 1 is still regarded as their debut album. As a trio, the original lineup signed their first record deal in 1998 with Barak/A&M Records. After Fantastic Vol. 1 made its way to listeners, the group’s popularity grew. As the group’s star ascended, they released Fantastic, Vol. 2 (2000), their acclaimed sophomore album. 

Lineup Changes

While they achieved commercial success and critical acclaim, Slum Village soon faced the harsh realities of the industry, as well as inner turmoil. In 2001, J Dilla left the group to pursue a solo career. Soon after, T3 onboarded Elzhi as a new member, and along with Baatin, the trio released Trinity (Past, Present and Future) in 2002. However, shortly after the album dropped, Baatin had to drop out of Slum Village due to health complications. As a result, T3 and Elzhi were the only members of Slum Village on their fourth album, Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit). They remained a duo for their self-titled fifth album as well. Fortunately, in 2008, T3 announced that Baatin would finally rejoin Slum Village. In addition, he also announced that J Dilla’s younger brother Illa J, and producer Young RJ would join as members of Slum Village. 

Sadly, Baatin passed away in 2009, but he had already recorded new material with Slum Village. As such, he is a credited performer on the group’s sixth album, Villa Manifesto (2010). Unfortunately, this was also the last album recorded or released with Elzhi in the lineup, as he left the group in July 2010. Subsequently, after their seventh album, Evolution (2013), was released, Illa J left the group as well. Since then, Slum Village has operated as a duo, with the current lineup consisting of T3 and Young RJ.


A founding member of Slum Village, T3 is the only one to have never left the lineup. Besides his work with the group, the rapper and producer never really embarked on any solo musical ventures. He has been the most devoted member of the group since its inception, and he remains committed to the group. Besides music, T3 also works as a radio host for Hot 107.5 Hip Hop Detroit.

Young RJ

While he doesn’t rap, Young RJ significantly contributed to the sound of Slum Village for years before he officially joined the group. He has production credits on Slum Village albums as far back as 2002’s Trinity (Past, Present and Future). In addition, the producer has been releasing solo and collaborative projects since the mid-2000s. On September 23, 2022, he released World Tour, his most recent album. He is one half of the current lineup of Slum Village and tours with T3 for performances.


Before Elzhi left Slum Village in 2010, he released his debut album, The Preface, in 2008. Since then, he has dropped two additional albums, as well as several mixtapes and collaborative albums. In 2020, the rapper released Seven Times Down Eight Times Up. His latest project, Heavy Vibrato (2023), is a collaborative album with rapper and producer Oh No. 

Illa J 

As aforementioned, Illa J is the younger brother of former member J Dilla. The rapper’s solo debut album was released in 2008 before joining the group. After joining in the early 2010s, he left the group to re-focus on his solo career. Since then, he has released several music projects, including his most recent album, No Traffic (2023). Although he left Slum Village, he has appeared as a guest artist on a few of their tracks like, “Fantastic/Love Is” and “Expressive.”

J Dilla AKA Jay Dee

Another founding member of Slum Village, J Dilla only stayed for their first two albums. Subsequently, he left to focus on his solo career. Between 2001 and 2006, the producer and rapper released three acclaimed solo albums and three EPs. However, on February 10, 2006, he unfortunately passed away at the age of 32 due to thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and lupus. Since his untimely demise, many posthumous projects have been released under his name. These include the iconic Hip Hop classic, The Shining (2006), Dillarronic (2015), and The Diary (2016), among others.


The third founding member of Slum Village, Baatin first left the group in 2002 due to health complications. Subsequently, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Yet, he returned in 2008 and contributed to Villa Manifesto. However, the rapper died before the album was officially released in 2010. Baatin sadly passed away on July 31, 2009, due to an accidental overdose of drugs. He was 35 and was succeeded by his two kids, Michael Majesty Ellis and Aura Grace Glover, as well as his sister, Tina.