With more than a decade and a half of industry experience and a rich catalog of recordings, Black Milk has transitioned from one of hip-hop’s young rising stars to a virtuoso with a uniquely well-rounded pedigree as a producer, rapper and performer. Returning to the scene amidst a turbulent political climate, Black Milk’s latest album, FEVER, is a socially aware body of work with a multi-genre soundscape, building on his style of fusing electronic programming with live music. The album is out now via Mass Appeal Records and Black’s label Computer Ugly.
For FEVER, Black admits he deliberately wanted to shift his tone. “I wanted to make a more colorful, feel-good album because I felt like my last two albums were pretty dark. Of course, between the election and the intense political and social climate, it was hard for me to stay on that feel-good vibe.” The result is a fluid 12-track album with flashes of that optimism Black Milk intended amongst serious subject matter, such as police brutality and the mental and emotional impact of social media. Musically, Black continued to build on the sound he began crafting with 2010’s Album of The Year, in which he fuses the electronic programming he’s known for with live music to create a multi-genre soundscape with both modern and vintage textures. All-star percussionists Chris “Daddy” Dave and Daru Jones, longtime collaborator Malik Hunter (bass), and newcomers Ian Fink (keys) and Sasha Kashperko (guitar) helped bring Black Milk’s vision, of creating beautiful genre-bending compositions with his signature hard-hitting drums, to life. Featured vocalists Dwele, Aaron “Ab” Abernathy, and Sudie (a producer / vocalist signed to Black’s Computer Ugly label) serve to juxtapose Black’s heavy lyrical content with airy vibes.
Over the past 15 years, Black Milk has amassed a dynamic portfolio. After scoring his first production credit for Slum Village as a teenager in 2002, he eventually worked closely with the group and co-produced much of their two following albums. His self-released, full-length project Sound of the City (2005) led to his first independent record deal, and he began to gain international attention for the soul-sample-driven style on his proper solo debut Popular Demand (2007). Five solo rap albums (Tronic, Album of the Year, No Poison No Paradise, Glitches In The Break, If There’s A Hell Below), an instrumental album (Synth or Soul), a live instrumental album (The Rebellion Sessions) with his touring band Nat Turner, numerous collaboration albums (including Black and Brown with Danny Brown and Random Axe with Guilty Simpson and the late Sean Price), two singles with Jack White and numerous other productions (such as Danny Brown’s “Really Doe” ft. Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul and Earl Sweatshirt) later, Black Milk remains one of hip-hop’s most consistent artists. Bringing his numerous recordings to life with live band Nat Turner, Black Milk has also been recognized as a genuine and poised performer, one of hip-hop and music’s most acclaimed live acts.