Titus Glover, a.k.a Baatin, co-founder of the rap group Slum Village, passed away July 31st. The causes of his death are still unknown, though homicide or foul play has been ruled out. The word spread via Twitter and other social networks around August 1st, saturday afternoon, with everyone frantic to get confirmation on whether or not this tragedy was factual. Sadly, Slum Village's 2nd loss is indeed not false.
Glover began his hiphop journey in 1986 while attending Pershing High in Detroit. He would frequent the Hiphop Nights that were held at Stanley's Cafe and 1515 Broadway, where he met and befriended fellow rapper Proof of the rap group D12 (who was gunned down in 2006). At the time, his rap name was Scandelous T. He partnered with T3 and James "Jay Dilla" Yancy (who passed away in 2006 due to complications of Lupus) to form the rap group Ssenepod, which is the word 'dopeness' spelled backwards. In 1991, when the group changed their name to Slum Village, he changed his rap name to Baatin, which is Islamic for 'hidden'. In 2000, they released Fantastic, Vol. II (Volume I, their official debut, was completed in 1996, but was not released until 2005, due to label complications). Fantastic Vol. II was widely praised by fans and critics alike, and is still considered an influential album in hiphop.
In 2003, while on tour in France, Baatin left the group while on tour, citing medical conditions to be the reason for his departure. He was later diagnosed with skitzophrenia and depression in 2004. He also developed a crack addiction and lived on the streets for about the span of a year. He later cleaned up and worked on a solo album overseas that has yet to see the light of day. He also reunited with his Slum Village brethren T3 and Elzhi and, with the addition of Illa-J (Jay Dilla's younger brother) returned as slum village for a project called Villa Manifesto, which is due out September 22nd.
It took me awhile to finish this article because it's tough to put into words the Impact Baatin had on me. I first heard the album Fantastic Vol. 2, and immediately connected with his flow. It was a bit off-kilter, but that was the charm of it; he rhymed outside of a normal pocket in some ways. On the song Tainted, his verse litterally guided my way through the pitfalls of the music industry as a musician. His group, both in its original form and its current manifestation have been a huge influence on the music I make, as well as the music other people make. Phonte of the group Little Brother has said on more than one occasion that Slum Village influenced the sound of Little Brother. In 2006, Slum village lost a great producer and rapper in James Yancey, as did the world. In 2009, they have lost another. The remaining members of Slum Village stated that a portion of the proceeds of the upcoming album will go to Baatin's family. Our deepest condolences go out to the Glover family, as well as everyone in the hiphop community who has been touched by his music. May he rest in peace, while his musical legacy lives on forever.