Black Milk – Album Of The Year Review

Been awhile since anything dropped I wanted to review.  I am pretty excited for this album though.  If you don’t know Black Mlik he is a producer/rapper out of Detroit that has been pretty integral to crafting that current Detroit Boom-bap rap revival.

Pretty bold album title – “Album of The Year” but like Black explains, he meant that this album is more about his experiences of the past year.  let’s check it out though, maybe the title is more prophetic than Black Milk thinks.

1. 365: A nice opening track…sample sounds familiar can’t put my finger on it – flipped differently than I have heard before.  Drums are banging which you expect from Black Milk.  It is clear that dude is getting better as a rapper – his flow on this is great.

2. Welcome: This has a bit of a Dilla feel to me.  No complaints here.  Another solid track.  Usually for me the beats are what I notice on a Black Milk album but it is clear he is a really solid MC now.

3. Keep Going: Loving this – I am not sure if this will be everyone’s favorite track but I like how everything sounds a bit off center…but it works.  I hope that makes sense.  It is like the separate elements of the beat wouldn’t work on their own but they way he brings them together works.  He mentions creating a monster at the start of the song – and this beat has a Frankenstein feel to it.

4. Oh Girl feat. Ab: Thankfully the feature isn’t Ab Liva – I was worried.  This is another great track. I wish all producers used Black Milk drums.  That isn’t the last time I will mention them either because they are so much better than anyone else’s.

5. Deadly Medley feat. Royce and Elzhi: Song of the year material.  The beat is absolutely captivating and then you throw Elzhi and Royce on the track.  Perfection.  Everyone kills their verses and Black Milk fits right in with some of the best MCs out of Detroit (or anywhere to be honest).

6. Distortion feat. Melanie Rutheford: Oh shit was that a rain stick at the start of the beat?  I remember the hippies in high school loved them some rain sticks. This is another good song – love everything going on in the beat.  Black Milk is flowing hard over this too – nice.

7. Over Again feat. Monica Blaire: I like Monica Blaire on the hook – she sounds great over this beat.  This is one of my favorite beats – I love the pairing of the smooth sample, with the horns and BANGING drums.

8. Round of Applause: This is a bit different than anything else I have herd on here so far.  Kind of Latin inspired almost. Another great beat – I love this Detroit sound – just a great throwback to boom-bap rap.  Black Milk is killing this album.

9. Black & Brown feat. Danny Brown: Some Wu Tang-esque violin strings to start off this beat. I can’t wait for the drums to kick in!  Woooooooooooooooooooo yeahhhhh this is great!  Might be my fav song.  I don’t know Danny Brown too much but he sounds great over this beat.  Almost reminds me of like a Peedi Crack appearance on a Roots album. He is a little more subdued though.

10. Warning: This started off a bit weird…it almost has a west coast feel to it.  Sounds like the classic West synths but then it morphs into some futuristic kind of beat.  Reminds me of Dilla’s Raise it Up a bit..less hype but similar.  This is just OK to me, although I love when the synths come in over the hook.

11. Gospel Psychedelic Rock: This lives up to its name – it has an obvious classic rock sample and the chorus sounds Gospelish.  Great song though – a really unique beat.  I can see why people wouldn’t be into this especially with Kanye and Drake style smooth overproduced beats being the current fav right now.  But this is straight up boom bap hip-hop and if you grew up on that you will love this.

12. Closed Chapter feat. Mr Porter:
Black Milk loves the long opus at the end of albums and this is no different.  The beat opens with some guitars and then of course the drums follow.  This is a great beat – really feel good.  Black Milk sounds great too and he seems to be celebrating everything he has overcome. The beat tails off into some smooth instrumental to end the album.  Makes you feel like the album is winding down.

This is a triumph.  This album is a wonderful example of the Detroit sound that Black Mlik has been so integral in molding.  No skits, only a couple guest appearances and not a weak moment on the album.  There isn’t that stretch of 3 or 4 radio singles that most albums include.

Black Milk who I have often called one of my favorite producers has bridged that gap between producer and rapper.  Following in the steps of guys like DJ Quik and RZA, Black Milk has proven he is equally adept at production and rapping.

Is this “Album of The Year”?  I am not sure yet – but it is definitely in the discussion.

  • Googoo24

    Honestly, I like this album better than Tronic, particularly since the beats have more diversity and emphasize the live production. Tronic had some interesting concepts, but it was a good, not incredible album in my book. This album, on the other hand, is fucking incredible. There isn't a single weak beat on the entire piece. I'm really impressed, IMHO Black has solidified himself as one of the best producers out right now.

  • Je

    This is a good review! I think you went a little easy on Black though--I don't think this album is nearly as good as Tronic. That LP (Tronic) was such a breath of fresh air... probably impossible to match up to in some respects. A few of the songs are indistinguishable and the features here don't seem to add much to the album. After hearing Motown 25, Deadly Medley seems redundant and uninspired. I think there are a lot of solid tracks on here, but nothing really hit me on a gut level with Album of the Year. I definitely will give this thing a few more listens (and am hoping to go to the Southpaw show), but right now I'm going to say this album is a letdown.

  • Googoo24

    Only 3 of the songs (Round of Applause, Keep Going and Over Again) have a slightly similar vibe, and that's due to the drop pattern used. But overall, the songs are constructed differently, which is reflected by the live instrumentation; thus making the songs more complex. I think this is reflected perfectly in Closed Chapter.

  • Googoo24

    "drum" pattern.

  • I love Tronic and as of now I gotta agree that Tronic is the better record. That said I think this album will grow on me. Only time will tell.

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