Slum Village rapper Baatin dead at 35 | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press
Detroit native, known for spiritual lyrics, had recently returned to group
By BRIAN McCOLLUM • Free Press Pop Music Writer • August 1, 2009
Titus (Baatin) Glover, the Detroit rapper who co-founded the much-acclaimed Slum Village, has died.
The circumstances of his death remain unknown, associates said this afternoon. Baatin's body was found this morning in the 14000 block of Anglin Street, said family friend Ty Townson, who was at the scene as Baatin's body was taken to the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office.
Glover's mother, Alberta Glover, said she didn't know anything about how her son died. She said she's waiting for the medical examiner to tell the family something either Sunday or Monday.
Funeral arrangements are not yet set. Friends and family members will gather for a public remembrance at 8 p.m. Sunday at Elements Gallery, 2125 Michigan Avenue in Detroit.
Baatin, who turned 35 in March, left Slum Village in 2002, later telling the Free Press he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He continued to record and play occasional solo dates before returning to the Slum fold for the group's upcoming album, "Villa Manifesto," due Sept. 22.
He was with the group for its gig at June's Rock the Bells Tour stop at DTE Energy Music Theatre, and last week performed in a video shoot for Slum's new single, "Cloud 9."
"This is just very shocking," said friend Biba Adams. "We were all hoping this would be the return of the original group."
"Baatin will be missed," Slum Village's T3 told the Free Press in a statement. "I'm glad we got a chance to work together before he passed. We lost another Slum soldier, a dear friend and a brother. He touched many lives."
Word of Baatin's passing circulated quickly this afternoon in music circles both locally and nationally, where Slum Village has long been an exalted name in underground hip-hop.
Fellow group founder James (J. Dilla) Yancey, Baatin's Pershing High School classmate, passed away in 2006.
"Deepest sympathy to the family, friends and fans of Slum Village on the passing of Baatin," said J. Dilla's mother, Maureen Yancey, in a statement. "We loved him and his kind heart and spirit will forever be in our hearts."
Slum Village emerged in the late 1990s amid major street buzz, attracting fans of organic hip-hop and supported by acts such as A Tribe Called Quest. The group's 2000 national debut, "Fantastic Vol. 2" landed on critics' best-of lists and set the stage for Slum's highest-profile commercial release, "Trinity," two years later.
"He was a very spiritual brother," said Detroiter Khalid el-Hakim, founder of the Black History 101 Mobile Museum. "He brought a spirituality to Detroit hip-hop that you didn't see with other artists. That's what he was known for."
Baatin is survived by his son, Michael Majesty Ellis, 9; his daughter, Aura Grace Glover, 1; his parents Howard and Alberta Glover; and his sister, Eleanor Glover, two brothers, Richard Riggins and Wendell Scott, all of Detroit.
Staff writer Cecil Angel contributed to this report.