I was on Twitter doing what I usually do on Saturday mornings. Working my way up to doing my "Diggas know!" posts where I post up both popular and obscure sample sources and rare Soul, R&B or Funk selections via YouTube when I started seeing various Twitter messages from Marv Won, Scrap Dirty and other Detroit Hip Hop heads insinuating that something bad had happened to someone in the scene. I hoped that it was just a rumor or perhaps they'd get better until I saw a tweet from Dwele that read: @THEREALDWELE: R.I.P. baatin of slum village forever. Fuck, not now. Not again. Not ever.
Baatin was one of the founding members of one of the greatest Hip Hop groups in history, Slum Village. I think the first time I ever heard a Baatin verse has to be about 12 years via a mixtape that contained some songs from the now classic LP "Fan-Tas-Tic Vol. 1". In the coming years, his fellow Slum Village members T3 & Jay Dee would become well known and respected throughout underground Hip Hop circles and Baatin would end up the slept on and under appreciated member of the crew to a great number of listeners. Those who were on board from "Fantastic Vol. 1", "Fantastic Vol. 2", J-88 "Best Kept Secret" & "Trinity (Past, Present & Future)" knew that Baatin was an essential piece of the group and an integral part of the overall aesthetic of the Slum Village sound.
We're all aware of the events that led to Baatin no longer being a member of Slum Village previous to the release of "Detroit Deli (A Taste Of Detroit)" as those of us in the know discussed the situation ad naseum on Okayplayer, UGHH, HipHopSite, SOHH and AllHipHop.com (those of us who knew who he was, at least). The situation was adressed on the song "Reunion" as well. Listeners were happy with the addition of Elzhi in the wake of Dilla leaving the group but the extra elements that Baatin added to the group were sorely missed. He recorded solo tracks and features sporadically over the next few years but a great deal of those jawns were straight fire (New Dance Show, The Embryo, Could It Be?, Eternal, Scandal, Girl, Marvelous, Magic, First Time & Action).
Sometime in 2006, I commented on some new tracks Baatin had uploaded on MySpace (Magic & Marvelous) and told him that I like the new work he did with Noel Zancanella (he later became one of my original Producers You Need To Hear Right Now). He messaged me back saying he appreciated the kind words & asked if I could point him to the right direction of some heads in the Boston area to get him some shows. I sent him the info and he would keep me abreast of his latest projects, the most intriguing one being his solo project "Titus Chapter 10 Verse 13". He posted up a new track called "Hawa" from it on his MySpace and heads went bananas.
The snippets got played to death on the Renaissance Soul Detroit website, combined with his recent output the buzz on the net was crazy. On Okayplayer, Operation Unknown (aptly named label) released a long playing snippet mix of the "Titus Chapter 10 Verse 13" LP that had heads amped. Months later on Okayplayer, the album was offered for sale on this weird website I'd never seen before or since. Several of us tried to buy the album to no avail. Why isn't it on iTunes? Why isn't it available on other digital download sites?
We thought nothing of it until the album surfaced again the next year but just shortened to "Titus". Once again, we couldn't purchase it. We couldn't even contact Operation Unknown as J Dilla's "Jay Love Japan" we released super late. I don't know if anyone's heard it but I've had it listed on my blog since I started doing "What's New In Dart's iPod" back in August 2007.
Baatin's style, ability to vocalize as well as rhyme and his overall microphone versatility made him stand out. Dude had quotable lines and memorable verses for days. Amongst myself and my circle of friends I couldn't begin to tell you how many times we'd just spit random Baatin lines. Baatin had "grace", an important attribute he often mentioned in his verses. The beauty of a Baatin verse is that you didn't know what he was gonna do but I'll be damned if after he was done you didn't like it or have his verse be stuck in your head later on. When we all heard that Baatin was back in Slum Village for their upcoming album every head I knew lost their fuckin' minds!
Baatin often referenced levitating in the sky in his rhymes and I'll be damned if he isn't actually doing it right now. All I know is that there's a great cipher going on in Heaven tonight. Meanwhile, a bunch of us back on Earth are hurting right now and feeling loss because he'll no longer be here. It took me four fuckin' hours and a gang of forcing myself to finish this blog because I know that the second I press publish it'll mean that this tragedy really happened. I just can't hold off anymore. Damn.
Baatin's Unreleased Titus LP (Operation Unknown Megamix): http://bit.ly/g0NSd (MediaFire) & http://bit.ly/1HBRWl (Zshare)
Rest In Eternal Peace to Titus "Baatin" Glover. Slum Village lives on in the hearts and minds of it's fans and appreciators of fine music the world over forever.