Curtis Cross, mostly known as his producing, rap, and MC name of Black Milk, has a diverse ear for music that will have you decelerate from the on the go life style, stimulate any conscious rap carnivore’s music taste and feel in tune and soothed by the jazzy sonorous sounds he continues to create. Detroit being the home to Black Milk has consequently influenced him by the city’s musical history and heritage like Danny brown, Eminem, Ensham and many more. After all Detroit is the home of Motown records as well as countless prominent jazz and blue musicians who’s influenced can most definitely be heard through Black Milks creations. Perhaps one of the most interesting and unexpected Detroit influences Black Milk has integrated into his sound is techno music. Not limited to the raw and organic character of soul music his music also embraces a strict mechanical trait hearing on some of his songs a perfectly sequenced drumbeats and robot like synth pulses.
Black Milk was born August 14, 1983 and grew up taking in all types of various artist including conscious rap greats like Quest love, A Tribe Called Quest, and J-Dilla. With an all-encompassing style the influences are evident. Black Milk is a musical scientist always experimenting with his craft coming up with different rhythmic melodies and raw tunes. Driven by the city knowing its music history and his peers, pushed him to always know what his abilities were and strive to push it to the next level.
Black Milk is an adept beat maker constructing some of the most extraordinary sounds from what seems like thin air and on top of that has the lyrics to commensurate. A great example of this creative process is through his appearance on “Rhythm Roulette” in which he samples several scratched up 70s Christmas albums and makes it into a relevant and interesting hip hop track, if you don’t believe that he is a virtuoso beat maker check it out!
One of the most intriguing and captivating things about Black Milk are his performances. In a world where it’s a lot easier to auto tune and make music sound great behind closed doors and unlimited music software live performances can really show the true rawness of ones music and the process behind the sound projected to listeners. Black Milk’s live performances are always strong with a backing band. Today it is actually fairly rare to see at a rap concert. Most of the instrumental material is usually prerecorded and triggered by a DJ, however, the majority of music heard at a Black Milk show is played in real time.
Not only does his backing band create a scene not typical to most rap shows but a bold and exciting risk considering the challenge of lining up fast pace rap verses with the free nature of a live band. The band also brings an addition energy that is felt throughout their performance adding interesting improvisations and solos. There has even been shows where musicians go into a manic call and response spar. Whether it be the DJ scratching away while the drummer responds with raid drum fills or the soulful bass takes an extra solo while accompanied by a sweet harmonization by Black Milk.
Its seems that the music industry is only getting bigger and bigger and some may argue that its getting so vase that it takes less work to get music. With music practically being thrown at you its easy to over look some of the artists throughout the years so if there is one that you should do a recap on Black Milk will be one to not disappoint. Like most of his predecessors he spits lyrics that create consciousness and makes beats that make the soul limpid. Keeping the hungry listener always full and fed. His sense of soul, surprise and creativity is why so many people can’t help coming back for more.
Check out his latest projects this year with Nat Turner.. All Hip-hop, Funk, Fusion and Jazz heads and many more will surely enjoy.