Curtis Cross, or better known as his alias suggests, Black Milk is the prolific MC, producer, beat-crusher, and system chopper hailing from Detroit, Michigan. Able to build wonder through his eloquent stylistic choices of high-class instrumentals, Black Milk approaches the high bar and easily leaps over it with his 2014 studio release, Glitches In The Break. A simple, but highly effective 24 minutes in length; Glitches In The Break is a substantial mirror image of the constantly clashing motives of the man vs. machine mantra that becomes repeated time and time again through history.
Multiple examples of this clashing system is shown through the subtle hints of ghostly chilling voices being layered over the random blurs and beeps of robotic machinery that echoes while Black Milk delivers his verses. It is one of the highlights of Glitches In The Break as it resembles something much deeper than just making sound and creating music; it is a certain level of genius that is unparalleled by Black Milk’s decision on choosing his beat selection. The instruments’ themselves seem to act and be as their own entity, able to shift and constrict within the production aspect that both challenges and assists the rhymes. The rapidly shifting tempos are an example of constricted on the MC and making him feel like he is enclosed within the outlandish beast that entitles itself as the production, but it also remains as the strong point to see the rhymes being transmitted with near ease.
“G (Feat. Guilty Simpson)” is a track that stands to mind as an example of pure simplistic beauty within the gentle piano and the boom-bap beat that sounds as if it was ripped straight from the 1970’s. There is also the rough subject matter that coexists within “G” and it pulls the listener in multiple directions. In one way, the listener experiences the gracefulness behind the instrumental, but then experiences in an entirely different light, the lyrical style where Guilty Simpson explains, “Tucking the clock cleaner for block schemers, because if you’re rocking high sneakers, they might rob ya. Every day inner city problems, I used to wish my parents chose a condom…” Guilty Simpson then continues on, “I used to hit the studio with a gun tucked, you never know when life imitates art, better then to role play when the game starts.”
This is going to be the consecutive theme of Glitches In The Break as the record will always contain a chopped vocal sample that is then clashed against the hard synthetic wall of sound. The nine-total tracks are each a message within themselves and contain a personal experience that lands the listener in the shoes of the MC for but just a moment. With the following track “Reagan (Feat. Fat Ray)”, it becomes a tale of the come-up within someone’s life. It is only a single glimpse into how the world can be a shifting wall of both synthetic and robotic movements within the humanistic nature of man, and how quickly the tides can shift. With Fat Ray’s final words, he describes, “And you would be surprised to see how much shit the naked eye misses, like a fucking eye witness, the game glitches…” It is almost a way to describe the entire project of Glitches In The Break as it allows Black Milk to work, shifting a Frankenstein-esque monster of musical power that eventually falls into the gentle waves of silence.
With the synthetic powerhouse of instrumentals and the touch of humanity inside the verses, Glitches In The System is a quick, but filling meal that does not outstay its welcome and acts as a returning friend that will always be around for a quick play.