Slum Village, 'Villa Manifesto' (E1)

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Villa Manifesto
Critical Mass
Label: E1

by Mosi Reeves

Since the release of their defiantly angsty fifth album in 2005, these Detroit indie hip-hop stalwarts have mourned the passing of founding members J Dilla and Baatin. Now reduced to the duo of T3 and Elzhi, the group struggle to celebrate their former members via prerecorded material, while still indulging the playa lifestyle. "Prayer works / The Lord gave me another chance," Baatin rhymes posthumously on the poignant "The Reunion Pt 2." But SV is at their best macking over deep electro-soul grooves -- from the postcoital bliss of "Faster" to the Dwele-assisted entreaties of "Don't Fight the Feeling."

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