The first time I met Titus, I was drunk as hell. I'd seen him for MANY years at St. Andrew's, Alvin's and several other well-known hip hop spots in Detroit... but this one wintry Friday night in 2000 was the first night I officially met him. Earlier in the night, I spotted him and one of his fellow group members in Slum Village. We did the usual thing cats in Detroit do when you make eye contact with them... you just kinda throw your head up in acknowledgment and keep it movin'. The second time I saw him that night, it went a little differently. This time we actually had to walk past each other. I'm thinkin, "Okay, actually speak. You always said how much you want to record with Slum... now's the chance to at least exchange info". What happened next completely fucked me up. Seriously.
Before I could even open my mouth to say "peace", he begins. His words: "Man, I don't know what's tellin' me this but but... you've got this Mos Def about you". Ok, this is NOT WHAT I WANTED TO HEAR! I'm like, "All man, here you go with that shit". Him: "Nah man, not like that... I mean yall do kinda resemble each other... but its the vibe, man". He continues: "I see people flocking to you and you performing in front of thousands of people". "Its your aura". WHAT!?!??!?!?!
Ok, at this point he is really messin' with my buzz. How is this cat that I've been listening to and watch perform for years tellin' me this and he doesn't even know my name? Never met me, never heard me rhyme... NOTHING! But he was dead serious. I was way too drunk to comprehend any of that. But I was cognizant enough to tell him we should exchange info and kick it about this later. He agreed. After the exchange, we gave each other a pound and I went straight to the bar. I was confused, excited, frustrated, baffled... curious. Who the hell does he think he is?
About a week later, I decided to find out for myself who he was. I knew I had to work that day so I decided to call him early in the day. He gave me the address and I was on my way. I got to his place, a condo in the suburbs he shared with his son and his son's mother. He told me his son's name was Majesty. That's when I knew I would know this cat for awhile. You could tell he was a father of a young child. Crayons were on the floor and it looked lil "Magic" was doin' some artwork on the wall, too! He was only two and didn't speak very well at the time but he was an active kid. I remember when I sat down, the kid walked right up to me and tried to sit on my lap. I felt a connection. All of a sudden, Titus starts to speak Hebrew to him... and the kid understood. I couldn't believe it!
As the day goes on, the kid and his mother leave. I pull out some music for Titus to listen to. He's feelin' the tracks! I'm geeked, especially since I was playing him tracks by my favorite prodcuer, dak. After about an hour of listening to dak beats, Titus says, "Man, I'd be honored if I could play you some of these old Slum Village songs we did before Volume 1". ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?!?!? What kind of artist/celebrity does that type of stuff? Isn't he supposed to be arrogant? Full of himself? Nah, not this cat. Titus was different. He had a whole different spirit, almost as if he'd been here before... several times.
After awhile, my stomach starts growling. In fact, both of us are starving. He goes in the kitchen and makes some rice and the largest baked potato I've ever seen. I don't know what he did to make such a simple meal so good but yeah, it was on point. And honestly, it felt sacred. It felt like I was breaking break with a close family member. I left after eating and we both admitted that it seemed like the day flew by. Upon leaving, I knew that he truly would be someone I could consider a brother.
As the years passed, we indeed became good friends. In fact, he once told that I was his best friend... along with Waajeed. That was hard for me to believe from a man who'd met so many people and traveled so many places. But I knew he was for real. We had a lot of good times in the studio, hangin' out at the clubs, the ghetto ballet (his nickname for the titty bar), ridin' around the city, eatin' Japanese food, and just talkin' about life in general. He was a cat that was way deeper than rap and way deeper than music, in general. A brotha with a lot of soul, very spiritual, and very generous. Which is why...
It hurt that the last few years of his life, we didn't really get along the best. I wasn't all the way sure why but I knew something was wrong. He was by far the most stubborn cat I've EVER met. And that takes a lot because I'm pretty stubborn myself. Despite all that, we managed to get in the studio some more and begin work on our EP. We decided to call ourselves, Planet Pluto... based on the fact that Pluto was no longer considered an official planet, its very cold there, and since Detroit has seemingly become a "distant" place and he was not currently in Slum Village so the entire process was new to him.
We never completed all the tracks but I hope one day to get the material we recorded released in his honor. He was truly a great one. The world never got the chance to see his true greatness due to some things beyond his control... and some things that were his fault. I guess life is like that sometimes. I miss that dude. But I guarantee I'll make sure the world hears his music. My fam AHK put that responsibility on our crew back in 2004. I'll never forget his words and the sincerity he expressed them with. So Titus "Baatin" Glover, we will continue to honor your life and legacy forever. Thank you for the memories and thank you for the music. Rest in power.