FEATURE:Black Milk:Respect Due

Hip-Hop first met Black Milk as a producer. He showcased his production on Slum Village’s Detroit Deli and Dirty District Vol. 2 as well as Lloyd Bank’s diss track “Death Wish,” amongst other projects. He eventually revealed more of his rapper persona with last year’s Popular Demand, and recently followed up with October’s Tronic. While the rest of hip-hop has come down with the Auto-Tune virus, Black Milk departed from the soul sample-driven sounds of his previous works and employed more live instrumentation, embracing the use of both vintage and modern synthesizers while exploring a more orchestral song structure without abandoning his trademark sound. Often touted as a pioneer of the future Detroit sound, he remains modest and low-key but allowed XXLMag.com to step into his world.

XXLMag.com: Your album is very electronic hence the title. So is Tronic a way to describe your new sound direction?

Black Milk: What you hear on the album is basically the Tronic sound. It’s a variety of not just electronic music or futuristic sounds, but of different styles and genres of music in one. The album came through real electric, that’s why it’s named that. Tronic basically just means a new sound. I was influenced a little bit by electronic and abstract records and obscure loops that I was finding at the time, but you still got the soul on there, you have the funk on there, you got the rock on there. It’s a variety of different sounds.

XXL: What different artists did you use when you were crate digging for samples?

BM: People might not even know the names. I was listening to a little bit of Kraftwerk, a little bit of Stereolab, a little bit of Tomita—that’s just the other shit. When it came to funk, I was listening to James Brown and stuff like that. [And] The Alice Parsons Project for the Royce Da 5’9” joint. I just got up on that group this year [they’re] these crazy rock artists.

XXL: People consider you the future of hip-hop when it comes to Detroit, but did you feel slighted by not being chosen for XXL’s Freshman Class cover like some other artists?

BM: I wasn’t mad. Even though I still feel like I’m new to the game, I really didn’t feel any kind of way about it. I did have a XL [rating] inside the magazine so I wasn’t trippin’ too much.

XXL: Who gets more respect, Black Milk the rapper or producer?

BM: Definitely the producer. I don’t even mind that. I just rap cause I can and that gives me a way to do shows and get on the road and perform for the people and see the crowds [with] people’s hands in the air [and] singing the words to the songs. If I didn’t rhyme I wouldn’t be able to do that.

XXL: Do you feel Detroit hip-hop is slept on?

BM: I’m not saying that we don’t get no type of love or no type of exposure. I think on the underground Detroit murdered almost everything. When it comes to the underground scene we do our thing from the beats to the MCs. But we need to take it a step further and try to do it on a bigger level and a bigger scale and get more exposure and get more fans because the underground is cool but I feel like more people need to hear the music that we’re bringing. I feel like we do get slept on—not actually by the people but, the media, the BETs, the MTVs [and] the record labels. I’m not saying that I’m really pressed to get on a major label, I’m not even pressed to get on BET or MTV but it’s just the fact that I know industry people in big positions. They feel what we doing, they love what we doing but it’s like, ‘damn show some love.’ You got the power to put us in a better position and have our music heard by other people so do that. I still don’t understand that but I know it’s all business. I ain’t really trippin’ but I know I’m not the only person that feels that way. There’s other cities that got talent but still get slept on.

XXL: Who are some other Detroit artists that you would cosign?

BM: There are a few artists that I think are dope. One of the artists I’ve already been working with is this cat Fat Ray. He’s one of the dope MCs out of Detroit. We got this other new cat named Danny Brown. He’s funny because he got a voice that’s so animated and his style of clothes is off the wall. He reminds me of a hipster type artist but he’s on some street shit

XXL: Speaking of hipsters, what do you think about the ‘hipster’ term being applied to hip-hop and where do you fit in?

BM: I don’t have nothing against the hipster movement. I don’t know how they feel about being called hipsters, though. I just use the word because that’s the word that everybody else is using and that’s how you can recognize a certain group of artists and a certain style of music. It’s just like the backpack label. You might not actually walk around with a dirty backpack on and fatigues and Timberlands but just because you like a certain style of music that’s what a lot of people label you as. Yeah, it’s messed up, but some of them dudes are real dope lyricists and I don’t know if they like that label or not. Where I fit in, I’m on music shit. A lot of the stuff I hear from them dudes, no diss, it just has a certain sound, and it’s like one set sound. Me personally, I don’t have one set sound. I’m on some musical type stuff where I listen to all types of artists and I’m trying to experiment with all different types of sounds and really make my own lane. I’m just trying to make timeless music. And a lot of music that’s being made—whether it’s backpacker or hipster or whatever you want to call it—they’re not trying to make music that’s gonna be around for another ten years. A lot of people are just making music to just get that quick dollar which is cool if that’s what you’re in the game for but me personally I’m not in the game for that. I want my records to last and have a long shelf life.

XXL: Going back to Detroit artists, what’s up with T-Baby?

BM: T-Baby?

XXL: I know you’ve seen the “It’s So Cold In The D” video?

BM: Aaw, man! You see what I’m saying? Everybody jumped on that. Everybody knows about that video and it’s the wackest thing ever. How did that get exposure? It got such a buzz but other good artists can’t get on. I don’t understand. That shit was crazy, but it was funny as hell.

XXL: You should hook up with her. What’s good with an Auto-Tune Remix?

BM: I was gonna put out a free download project called FAT, and it stands for Fuck Auto-Tune. I’m still deciding if I’m gonna do it or not. Nah, I’m not gon do that, but I don’t really feel the Auto-Tune thing. I like when T-Pain does it. For some reason his melodies sound good when he does it. But I think some people should kind of leave it alone. If you mess up vocally while you’re recording it makes it sound worse, so I don’t mess with the Auto-Tune thing. Hopefully it dies out soon. —Starrene Rhett

  • g

    I co-sign the FAT campaign.

    • re-yo

      No Doubt, dead that shit already.

  • G-UNOT KILLA

    The reason he is named that is because on my Trick Trick Extortion run I run into Black Milky Bitch outside my Auburn Hills get away, The real reason he is named that is becuase I rocc this bitch in the mouth and blood ran on his black Bo Jackson Jerzey! The onlookers said his blood looked like Black Milk! He is totally scared of me and he pays for my yearly subscription of X-Box Live for $50 dollars! He tried to sleep w/ my wife 7 yrs ago after a Crenshaw High game! Was denied his Grape St Crip status when he didn’t fill out all resume requirements! He only filled out 95 words on how much he hates the color red! What a Bitch!

    • Brahsef

      Man, someone should make a collection of all the G-UNOT KILLA posts and make it into a coffee table book or some shit. I swear that shit would sell crazy.

      And btw, have any of ya’ll seen the ad I’m seein right now. “Chedda Gets Chedda, Read how I make $5Gs a Month with Free Government Money.” That makes me feel like a sad man for just visitin this site.

  • Hate Hate and more Hate

    What the fuck is a Black Milk. Black Milk is a perfect description of how my toilet looks after I’ve taken a shit with diarrhea. So maybe his name is another way to describe his music, diarrhea shitty!

    Plus this nigga is from Detroit, so he already lost.

  • Simple like ABC, 123

    Detroit late 00′s = New York early 90′s

    I think Detroit could be the next region in Hip-Hop if all the artist come together.

    • http://1290wmcs.com “The Party Killa”

      WORD!!^^^^

    • Dub Sac

      I’m feelin the same. Black Milk is a dope producer, and Royce is a dope MC, and they got others hanging out. Seems like they’re doing some high quality music, instead of cheap synth dance music.

  • marz

    SHOUT OUT TO BLACK MILK, MAD RESPECT , DO YOU R THING BABY….

    FREEDOM 100 IS THE DOPEST IN THE CITY….

    DETROIT STAND UP….

    DSOLDIERS FO LIFE.

  • felipesiny

    Word up shout out to Black Milk , and whole the D-movement. I got all his work. He is the fucking man I went all his show in New York he comes with that energy like the music he creates. he produce and emcee and Black Milk is top bill at both. shout out to B-Sharp for bring Black Milk to Fat Beats record so the world can hear the music.

  • louie mo

    Brahsef says:

    Man, someone should make a collection of all the G-UNOT KILLA posts and make it into a coffee table book or some shit. I swear that shit would sell crazy.

    ———————————————–
    co sign to the muthafuckin fullest…….
    and when somebody does, i will be one of the first to buy that shit……..

  • Rae Tha Great

    DETROIT STAND UP!!!! Black Milk is and will be the next thing to blow, I gotta admit that. Guilty Simpson, Elzhi, Fat Ray, Phat Kat, Big Herk, Stretch Money… man I could go on, oh yeah me RAE and the Dream Team watch out 2009 is mine. Get Ready. PEACE

    • Moi

      Guilty Simpson, co-sign, way overlooked