Black Milk has been producing and illustrating a sense of abstract style since he stepped from the shadows of Detroit in 1983. He has worked with various producers and rhymers from both his Motor City home, to the international with collaborative efforts. Just as music knows no bounds, Black Milk follows a similar pattern and weaves a new path that is both adventurous, investing, and consciously-centered on his newest work, FEVER.
Diving into ideas like lifespans, social media, and the future of an entire artist works have been covered before and are frequent in most modern tracks, but Black Milk does things his own way. He uses a loose style of bass and jazz lines that are incredibly distinct within his own markings. FEVER feels as adaptable as ever; Black Milk at the helm creates a new flavor of rap that is moving and different. Even within his own previous releases, Black Milk works more within the workings of acoustic efforts to capture a laidback, but aware calibration behind his music.
It never bombards and becomes weighted down by any instrumentation, but FEVER does instead show this unrelenting sense of waves that come crashing and then retract once more. Tasteful, elegant, and flowing are some of the descriptions that come by Black Milk’s production that includes a wide variety of strings and percussion that is both authentic, to the synthetic which is almost none-existent as a foreground instrument. Black Milk can somehow make a sound that has been made before feel fresh again, twisting the 1970’s era jazz progression with features from Sudie, Dwele, and Ab to form a modern twist.
A heavy head carries the crown, but Black Milk has a head that is high above the crowds here and seems to be more socially conscious as he raps on “Could It Be” over the vocal heavy production, “That American pie, he just want a portion… Feels like I’m on the cusp, great forever, forever’s not enough.” The Thirty-Four-year-old producer, lyricist, and songwriter shines a light on his own personal workings in the past, but more importantly a social message on his future and the future of his world around him.
The abstract style of producing is what helps Black Milk achieve such grand, near boundary-breaking heights on FEVER. Especially on the single and video, “Laugh Now Cry Later” that is heavily influenced by African jungle percussion of bongos and upright bass lines that resemble a complex jazz standout. “From raps to movies, to black is beauty. Cop didn’t feel the same, felt he had to shoot me. Laugh now, cry later. All fun and games, screaming out gang gang, until lil homie pull up, put a bullet through a brain. Laugh now, cry later.” It is touching and actually a relatable concept that shows a sense of high perception to his surroundings. Black Milk has tons of these quotable gems throughout FEVER and manages to combine them all into a forty-minute project.
The following, “True Lies” has one of the more impressive displays of production from FEVER with the bass and guitar that blares while the percussion begs to be played along to. Black Milk continually outdoes himself on FEVER with each passing track and moves to create true gold through both his lyrical output, and his strong productive credits.
Through the pain and suffering, Black Milk has a message to debut, and does it with a stone face that is both equal parts entertaining and moving. It grips the listener and commands their attention, without throwing it to the foreground as much as possible. It displays but does not intrude, it performs without preaching; Black Milk stands as a brick wall of enforcement behind a golden curtain of instrumentation.