Rising from the rugged streets and rich musical tapestry of Detroit, Slum Village were poised to carry on the old-school, funk, and soul-filled hip-hop torch of genre pioneers A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and the Pharcyde. Growing up in the Conant Garden neighborhood of Detroit and forming during high school at Detroit's Pershing High School, MCs Baatin, Jay Dee, and T3 quickly garnered praise and recognition in the local underground scene. In the mid-'90s, Jay Dee became part of the hip-hop elite as a member of the Ummah, the production team responsible for multiple hits by Q-Tip, A Tribe Called Quest, D'Angelo, the Pharcyde, De La Soul, and Common, as well as remixes for Janet Jackson and Brand New Heavies. In 1998, Slum Village gained further recognition as an opening act for A Tribe Called Quest's farewell tour. Two years later, after some record-industry politics, the group released Fantastic, Vol. 2, an album featuring appearances from D'Angelo, Q-Tip, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. For fans with an ear to the underground and a few questions concerning the whereabouts of Fantastic, Vol. 1, the trio assumed an alias (J-88) to release Best Kept Secret.