Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

"It's about good and bad relationships -- tainted and untainted," rapper T3 of Slum Village says of "Tainted," the group's latest single. "My verse is about my girl and I. Baatin's [verse] is about the industry and the stuff we went through. When you put all those together, that's basically the concept of 'Tainted.'

"The reason why we chose 'Tainted' is because we wanted to start off from where we left," he adds. "That [song] is like the old, feel-good Slum soul-type joint. We wanted to start from that base before we take you to another plateau."

That next plateau can be found on Slum Village's Barak/Capitol/Priority set, "Trinity," due tomorrow (Aug. 13). "Tainted," featuring Dwele, is currently No. 31 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks; the video clip can be seen on the group's official Web site.

The road from the act's critically acclaimed debut -- "Fantastic, Volume 2" (Barak/GoodVibe/Atomic Pop) -- to "Trinity" was not a smooth one. After Atomic Pop closed, the group signed with JCOR Entertainment. The departure of original group member/producer Jay Dee and JCOR's recent closure didn't help matters. These experiences all provided material for "Trinity."

"We did 'Fantastic, Volume 2' back in 1998, and from there we've been touring," T3 says. "We just kept on the road for most of that time until late 2000. That's when we stepped back and decided we'd work on the album. At that time, it was Jay Dee, Baatin, and me. Jay Dee decided he wanted to concentrate on his solo career, so Baatin and I started working for a minute. Then we brought in Elzhi, and once we did that it changed the whole direction of where we were going musically. 'Trinity' is a mixture of our past, our present, and our future."

Now the forward-thinking Detroit-based rap trio group has found a home with Capitol/Priority. "It brings us more exposure than we've ever had," T3 says. "The beauty of this situation is that they're behind the project and that they have the means to put the project out in the forefront. Also, they didn't have a lot of urban acts, so they needed us as much as we needed them."

Showing its diversity and love for its hometown, Slum Village also recently issued "Dirty District" (Barak/Sequence). Released June 25, the 16-track set compilation highlights some of Detroit's best and brightest underground MCs.

"It's another way of saying 'Detroit,'" T3 says of the set's title. "We were approached by Sequence, and they asked us to do a mix tape. We were with it, so we sat down and did it. What we wanted to do with that project was to make the beats a bit more grimy than some of the [traditional] Slum joints. We also wanted to give a lot of Detroit MCs who haven't had a chance to shine the opportunity to get on there and showcase their projects."

Excerpted from the Aug. 17, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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