Artist Profile – Black Milk

“Here to save the game just like a memory card
Memory loss to cali dro
To Amsterdam, out on the patio
Rockin like a Beatle I should record up in Abbey Road”

Now, feel free to hand me a “late pass,” although I didn’t know there was a time frame on when I was allowed to discover artists, but as my story goes, yes, again, I was “sleeping” on another great artist, but of all of the artists that I’ve reviewed on this blog, he’s probably the most talented one, because not only is he a wicked rapper, but he’s an even BETTER producer. The beats that he brings, he uses samples varying from soul to classic rock, to techno, to pretty much whatever he can get his hands on. He’s simply a master at his craft, and it’s crazy that a lot of people haven’t heard about him, but he’s maintained relevance through 5 solo albums. Wild.

I saw one of my twitter people talk about Black Milk because he was having a concert up here. I simply brushed it off, because I had no idea who she was talking about, until again she mentioned his name, and I posed the question to who the hell this Black Milk character was. The response that I got back was that he was crazy sick and that he’s one of the dopest MCs around. Okay? So? No one? Could tell me this? People know I’m always scoping out for new people to listen to, and this guy’s been dropping music since ’05, but nothing? Really? Alright. I see you, people. I see you.

But, as the Bible says, “ask and ye shall receive,” and Shane (shout out to him even though there’s a 100% chance that he won’t read this to see it), did make a good point by saying that I didn’t ask, but at the same time, I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THE MAN EXISTED! But, that’s besides the point. So, my boy Dwayne (check his music) sent me a link to this video, Deadly Medley, which was featuring Black Milk, Royce Da 5’9 & Elzhi (crazy line up already). What I proceeded to hear was some crazy bars, and I mean not like some “oh ok ok, this man can gwan,” I mean like, “YO! THIS MAN! CAN SPIT!” You can tell just in that verse that he lashed out, he was knowledgeable on music in a sense like the Thriller reference and Stevie Wonder, but when you hail from Detroit, I would kind of (just kind of) think that you would have to have a thorough musical background given the fact that indeed IS the birth of Motown, but at that particular time, I didn’t know that he was from there (could have been obvious from the Detroit Tigers fitted, but you know people wear hats representing different cities all of the time, so that means nothing).

So after I watched that video (the only one I watched by the way), I decided to do some digging. Wikipedia is our friend, say it with me now. Wikipedia Is Our Friend. Good, we got that out-of-the-way, so let me continue.

This guy has a shitload of music. 5 solo albums (which I will be providing at the end of this post, granted that you read through all of it), and 8 collaboration albums (I only have 1, but I hope to get more). So he’s been putting in work for a few years now, but it’s crazy that I’ve never heard of him through those years. It just goes to show you that I needed a different circle to surround myself with at those times.

After listening to all of the albums that I have of his in a span of 2 days, I’ve come to the conclusions that he’s easily one of the best producers in hip hop right now. His beats are simple (that seems like an insult), but they’re crafty, they’re vibrant, they’re energetic, and most of all, they form a synergy of samples and instruments that I haven’t heard in a while.  Kanye West’s production on Devil In A New Dress on his MBDTF album sounds like a beat Black Milk made in 2005 on his Broken Wax EP. He was ahead of hiss time, and he pays homage to J Dilla, because he emulates his style a bit from him, and Dilla was also from Detroit, so it’s that Brotherhood bond of the city (which is just one more reason why Toronto Hip Hop can’t prosper until further notice, but that’s for a different day).

His effective use of bringing in so many different elements just to make a hip hop beat, I can’t even give it the title of just a “beat,” It’s more like a work of art, and yes, music is a work of art, but damn, this guy has instrumentals that have far exceeded the likes of what producers are doing a lot NOW, only because a lot of the big named producers (like Kanye) are influencing them. No one was using electric guitar solos in their beats as much and creating more cinematic music before MBDTF, I can be sure of that, but I’m not the expert, it’s just what I observe.

As for Black Milk as a rapper, he’s become one of my favourites already, because his flow is raw, his delivery is raw, he has punchlines, and he doesn’t seem to struggle with anything that I’ve really heard thus far. He has versatility, and it makes it easier for him because he pretty much produces everything that he raps on, so he has that advantage that a lot don’t. I know that the recent trend of rappers becoming producers has been ever-growing, but it’s not for everyone, and not every producer can come out from behind the scenes and start rapping like they’re anything great (Timbaland, Pharrell…but Pharrell is an overall artist. More a producer than a singer then a rapper, and even then). Not everyone can be Kanye West because he pretty much set the standard in the Producer-Rapper category for MANY to follow, so that’s been the trend, and so very little (if any at all) have come close to matching that success. The next time (hopefully next year or later this year), I’ll be able to see this guy in concert, since I already missed my opportunity to do so, and he’s releasing another album this year I believe, so I’ll be on the lookout for that as well. Take him in, because I really doubt that you’ll be disappointed in what you hear. I’m an avid fan of independent artists, because in this day in age where the mainstream is essentially pure, unadulterated, over-saturated BULLSHIT, we need to dive back into the world of the Underground to discover the true essence of this once golden genre of music.

Albums (In Chronological Order)

Sound of the City Vol. 1

Broken Wax EP

Popular Demand

Tronic

Album Of The Year

Black & Brown (collaboration album with Danny Brown)

The music is there, your ears are waiting to experience greatness. Enjoy, but for now,

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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