XXLMag.com: Could you see all four of y’all coming together for a reunion album later on?
J Dilla: Yeah, you know what, me and T was talking about that. We about to do some secret project we got going on with all four of us getting together and just speaking on it. We just gotta make it happen.
XXLMag.com: What’s the Slum Village legacy?
J Dilla: Uhmmm, [long pause] have us on that list with innovators like… I don’t know ’cause A Tribe Called Quest is one of those groups to me that changed what hip-hop was doing. We wasn’t trying to be them we was just trying to bring something new to the table.
XXLMag.com: Early on Q-Tip gave Slum Village his stamp of approval as being the next A Tribe Called Quest. Was that a blessing or a curse?
J Dilla: It was kinda fucked up [getting that stamp] because people automatically put us in that [Tribe] category. That was actually a category that we didn’t actually wanna be in. I thought the music came off like that, but we didn’t realize that shit then. I mean, you gotta listen to the lyrics of the shit, niggas was talking about getting head from bitches. It was like a nigga from Native Tongues never woulda said that shit. I don’t know how to say it, it’s kinda fucked up because the audience we were trying to give to were actually people we hung around. Me, myself, I hung around regular ass Detroit cats. Not the backpack shit that people kept putting out there like that. I mean, I ain’t never carried no goddamn backpack, but like I said, I understand to a certain extent. I guess that’s how the beats came off on some smooth type of shit. And at that time, that’s when Ruff Ryders [was out] and there was a lot of hard shit on the radio so our thing was we’re gonna do exactly what’s not on the radio.
XXLMag.com: Did y’all expect Vol. 2 to be considered a hip-hop classic?
J Dilla: I always tell people, that whole [Vol. 2] album, beats, rhymes all that shit—from T3 freestyling to me doing them beats in three-four days—people don’t understand that was shit we threw together on some feel-good shit and we said we was gonna do that. We put that shit out in two weeks… We wasn’t thinking about the videos and the critics getting the shit in their hands. We was just making what we feel…
It took about two-three years for the shit to even come out and resurface but by that time the shit we was trying to do was on the radio all day on some R&B shit. Then, we was getting looked at as some R&B shit and I ain’t never read so many crazy ass reviews of muthafuckas not even understanding what we do. It’s crazy. So I feel the same when muthafuckas don’t feel the Slum and then I feel excited when they do appreciate it.
XXLMag.com: What are you working on now?
J Dilla: Right now I’m out here in Cali—I relocated from the D to Cali. I’m actually staying with Common, that’s my roommate, we’re doing the Real World style. We just finishing up his shit, some Busta shit… Just the usual people. I’m out here actually, I’m linking up with this dude Rob Walker and shit, the Neptunes’ manager. That’s it just really trying to make a move to get back in the game.
XXLMag.com: Anything else you want to add?
J Dilla: Get ready for the up-and-coming, whatever it is. —Anslem Samuel