Around the time that Apple Computer was first introducing iTunes to the world, Black Milk became part of the vanguard class of MCs and producers that seem to sprout effortlessly from the motor-oil soaked ground of Detroit, Michigan. Thanks to work he did with Slum Village and as part of BR Gunna in the early 2000s Milk was practically a seasoned vet when his solo debut, Sound Of The City, was released in 2005.
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In that time Black Milk, now 31, has cemented his name as a go-to producer and collaborator, thanks to his inventive mix of dusty samples with live instrumentation. Everyone from Sean Price and Pharoahe Monch to Robert Glasper has called on him to perform aural alchemy, spinning gold out of wax. Prolific as he is creative, Milk has released no less than four projects in the last two years alone, two instrumental albums (Glitches In The Break and Synth Or Soul) and two studio albums, No Poverty…No Paradise and the most recent, If There’s A Hell Below.
Both of the latter projects are submerged in dark melodies and even more tenebrous subject matter, some of his most personal works ever.
“I feel like with the last two albums creatively I’ve been at a point where I’ve been more reflective with what I’ve been through in my life and what I’ve seen,” he tells WatchLOUD.com. “I don’t know if it’s got anything to do with me being a little older and kind of wanting to have a certain level of content and not rapping about rap anymore. I think that’s the main thing about it. Me being 31-years-old now I can look back and reflect on different things on what I’ve been through in the music industry, what I’ve been through as a person, as a young’n. All of that. I got a nice amount of things to talk about. So I feel like ‘No Poison…’ and this new album is me taking that step and getting more personal in my music than I’ve been in the past.”
His very first line on Hell… is as revelatory as it is witty, “It’s that overdose daily, no if, and, buts or maybes/Have you addicted like that sh*t my auntie smoked in the ’80s…Auntie Trisha, what up…”
“That’s something I actually had to deal with and that a lot of people had to deal with, people in your family that’s addicted to different drugs…I seen all of that,” he says.”Now I feel like I’m at a point where I feel I never expressed these different things through my music so I want to use this time to put it out there. She actually passed earlier this year. She’s no longer with us. Even with detailing with death, I put it all in the music this time.”
Watch the full video above.