First, we need to talk about the name. Black Milk. I’m really not sure whether the name’s supposed to make me feel uneasy, but it does. I’m not much of a milk drinker, but to think of black milk…not exactly changing my mind.
Thankfully, Curtis Cross is a much better beat-meister and rhymer than the image the name evokes. Making his way out of Detroit, Cross beats A Tribe Called Quest, Slum Village (who he produced beats for on 2002’s “Trinity”) and Parliament at their own game. And his style really seems to flow more out of the J Dilla/Madlib route.
Instead of just offering a taste, Black Milk’s MySpace features no less than 16 tracks. “Give the Drummer Sum” may be the standout, proving exactly why the rapper is a nice antidote to pop rap on the charts. Instead of freaking out about sounding like a robot with auto-tune, Milk chipmunks himself, over snapping drum kit and Sly Stone synth organ stabs. The video’s just as sharp, Cross crooning at a mic while a few drummers spin around him.
“The Matrix” features high caliber (well, high caliber for underground hip-hop) guests, most notably among them, Pharaoh Monch, the hero behind 2007’s outstanding Desire. “Hold It Down” samples Gary Numan and “Bounce” features the ill line “That’s when I clock in as an option when you need a fresh breath of oxygen.” With a flow in line with Kanye, but with beats that sound like MF Doom could be working over them, Black Milk is definitely someone to keep an eye on. His latest album, Tronic, may have been overlooked by some in 2008, but it’s easily one of the best hip-hop releases of the year, on par with Wale’s Mixtape About Nothing or The Cool Kids’ Bake Sale EP.
If you’re tired of your friends talking about Weezy or T.I., give them a little taste of Black Milk and you’ll hear about nothing else. Well, maybe taste is the wrong word, but you get the picture.
“Give The Drummer Sum”