Album of the Year, Black Milk, 2010
Let me start by telling you that I’m not going to be writing about an album unless I like it. I’m not a “hater”, but if I don’t like something, I’m not going to lie about it. I would never play an album or a song if I didn’t like it, and it doesn’t matter how much you pay me. Rating albums with numbers or stars is something that I’m not really interested in either because I’m not going to mask my opinion as a fact or objective data. Then why would anyone take the time to read my posts about music? Because I’m an independent mind, music is a part of my life, it feeds my creativity and I am completely unplugged from the mainstream media. I don’t listen to the radio or watch MTV/BET. I will write about music from the past and present and sometimes it may happen to be what is in the mainstream. If you check out the artists/albums that I write about, you may agree or you might disagree. One thing you won't find here is merit-less hype.
Every day, I find myself listening to Album of the Year. If you don’t know about Black Milk, he is a producer/mc from Detroit that just released his third album, called Album of the Year. If you don’t know anything about Detroit hip hop, it is time to get your ear out of the clouds and put it to the dirt. Some may wonder if the Slum Village sound was the legacy of a pioneer group or if it was representative of the citywide movement. RIP Dilla and Baatin. The impact of Slum Village on hip hop in general is not fully realized because Elzhi is still producing amazing work. Album of the Year makes a pretty good case for a citywide Detroit movement and with the albums that came out of Detroit between 2000 and the end of 2010, hip hop heads have a new reason to understand why the city of Detroit is called “Mo-Town”. Now, the only thing that will limit the amount of amazing music coming out of Detroit is the memory in your external hard drive.
Album of the Year, is an eclectic collection of well produced tracks and verses. Black Milk’s lyrical style chops up the beat as much as his high hat and congas. The there are 12 tracks and for the first 11 tracks, I’m feeling the offbeat congas, jazzy high hats, drum solos, heavy and funky bass lines, riffs and electric keys. I can’t put my finger on it, but something happens at the end of the album that doesn’t work as well as the other tracks. Either way, 11 out of 12 tracks puts this album up there with the best in 2010 and one of the better albums to come out in the past couple years. Black Milk will be releasing an album with Sean Price and Guilty Simpson under the group name Random Axe. I have been losing my patience for 5 or 6 months now, waiting for the album to drop. They are only making the expectations greater and hopefully, it will live up to all of the talk.
There are a lot of people that claim to love hip hop that can't stand anything with any song that resembles an actual instrument. If that is you, you might want to skip this track. There is a great combination of drums, congas, symbols and a muted bass line. I don't know if Black Milk plays the drums himself, but there is a great balance of lyrical and musical strength. In general, I can say that I hear progress in Black Milk's lyrical skills. He plays on and off the beat in a way that is unique and part of that has to be because he produces the music himself. My favorite part of the song is at the end when you can hear the direction of the drummers and the improvised feel to the song. I can picture the recording session and that is one reason why I like it. I guess I should tell you what track I'm talking about, right? The track that I'm talking about is Round of Applause.
[audio:http://ra-nyc.com/boywithstick/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/08-Round-of-applause.mp3|titles=Round of applause, Black Milk]
365, Welcome (Gotta Go), Keep Going, Oh Girl (feat. AB), Deadley Medley (feat. Royce Da 5'9" & Elzhi), Distortion (feat. Melanie Rutherford, Over Again (feat. Monica Blaire), Round of Applause, Black & Brown (feat. Danny Brown), Warning (Keep Bouncing), Closed Chapter.