w/ Frank’N’Dank, Illa J & T3 of Slum Village
John Derek Yancey, better known as Illa J & John Regal is a singer, songwriter, rapper, producer, multi instrumentalist and a fitness addict from Detroit. He is a former member of legendary group Slum Village and the younger brother of Hip Hop icon J Dilla (James Dewitt Yancey).
Illa J was exposed to music at a very early age from his parents’ acapella jazz group training and rehearsals in their living room to his brother making beats in the basement of their house. His father was a ghostwriter for Motown Records and his mother a classically trained opera singer.
Chances are, if you are anywhere near the Detroit music scene, you’ve heard of the influential hip hop trio that makes up Slum Village. The group was founded in the early 90’s by 3 childhood friends: Baatin, T3, rapper and producer J Dilla, who all grew up together in the Conant Gardens neighborhood of Detroit, MI. After leaving Pershing High School, the trio began to forge a path into the Detroit underground hip hop scene and quickly found themselves steadily gaining popularity, where they originally went by the name Ssenepod.
In 1991 the group changed their name to Slum Village recording their first album “Vol. 1”, in Dilla’s basement and RJ Rice Studios, it was critically acclaimed in the Detroit underground scene, later finding its way into the hands of A Tribe Called Quest’s own Q-Tip, who played it for some of hip hop’s elite, such as Busta Rhymes, Questlove, and D’angelo.
FRANK ‚ DANK
They are mainly known for their many collaborations with the late J Dilla. Known for their party-driven, tongue-in-cheek raps, the duo first came to public attention as guests on producer J Dilla’s album, Welcome 2 Detroit in 2001. Prior to this, they had been performing in their hometown, Detroit, since the mid-1990s and had released the 12″s „Everybody Get Up!“ and „Me and My Man“ between „Love (A Thing of the Past)“, both produced by J Dilla.
The group signed a recording deal with MCA Records, but their 2003 album, 48 Hrs, was at first rejected by the label, reworked with new production and resubmitted by the group, and finally shelved by the label altogether. Bootlegs of the reworked version eventually surfaced on the underground. The album was entirely produced by J Dilla, who uses very few samples throughout the album, instead choosing to concoct synth-driven beats for the MCs to rhyme over. It is believed that the original version of 48 Hours was more sample based, and that this may have been a factor in it being rejected by MCA, due to sample clearances.