As a forever present unofficial-turned-official member of Slum Village, producer/rapper Young RJ has twice been entrusted with continuing the legacy of Detroit’s most important hip-hop group. But with a prosperous music career behind the scenes and officially as part of the group, he’s quick to speak for himself with his solo debut BLAQ ROYALT.
On BLAQ ROYALT, Young RJ shows the same musical versatility that made him such a reliable producer for the likes of Slum Village and 50 Cent – and a nice presence that’s just as powerful. RJ’s solo career has been a long time arriving. As a youngster, he toured with his parents, who founded the Detroit R&B band, R.J.’S Latest Arrival, while the family friend, a founding member of Slum Village and legendary producer J Dilla taught him how to program a drum machine and mix songs as a stripling. Once Dilla felt he was ready, he asked for Young RJ’s help with completing “Climax,” a fan favorite from Slum Village’s seminal 2000 album Fantastic Vol. 2.
Young RJ’s tutelage was put to the test when Slum Village’s roster was shaken up: Dilla left to pursue a solo career, Baatin left because of health publications and he was asked to co-produce their transitional album Trinity (The Past, Present, and Future); and his contributions were largely unaccredited.