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Interview With Black Milk


After watching Black Milk, Sean Price & Guilty Simpson bring their street mentality to the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival as the super trio Random Axe, I had a chance to sit down with Black Milk to talk about the new group’s direction, potential future collaborations with Big K.R.I.T. & Bun B, and why he’s been listening to Parliament non-stop lately. Hit the jump for the full interview with the in-demand producer.

 Alex Edelstein: First off, that was a dope set.

Black Milk: Thank you, thank you. The sound was a little trippy and the turntable was fucked up there though.

Alex: Oh yeah, what happened?

Black: The left turntable was all fucked up, so that’s why I couldn’t play any of the records together, you know. I had to stop and put on the next joint each individually. But it’s all good though, the crowd was into it and everything.

Alex: Yeah, they seemed pretty receptive.

Black: Well we in Brooklyn, so you know, Sean P was repping the hometown. They was definitely repping, they showed us love, so it was dope.

Alex: Have you guys played a show in Detroit, the three of you?

Black: Yeah, actually our very first show, all three of us, officially as Random Axe was in Detroit. We’ve only done like 3 or 4 shows so far, so we’re still getting a lot of the kinks out of the show and what not, but once the beat drops, you know it’s a rap, the crowd’s getting into it and the music’s banging.

Alex: I caught you last year with Freddie Gibbs and you had the live band going. Is that something you’re going to be doing with Random Axe?

Black: Nah, Random Axe is straight raw straight out the MPC, bass and dirty. The shit I do solo is more experimental, more musical. That ain’t the kind of back drop that I want to make for Sean P and Guilty. Like I said, it was just straight raw and dirty for Sean P and Guilty. We keeping it two turntables and a few mics, that’s what it is. Sometimes I might even bring the MP on stage, but that’s about the most it’s going to get, straight raw.

Alex: How do you think people outside of Detroit and Brooklyn will respond to the street music, people from the West Coast or the South, do you think it’s for them too?

Black: Yeah, for sure. It’s for anyone who likes good music. We wasn’t trying to isolate no other regions, but you know, it just so happens that me and Guilty are from Detroit, and Sean P, he’s from the East Coast, from Brooklyn, so we just had chemistry in the studio – we made an album. Of course, it’s funny you know, I already did my West Coast project, the Caltroit project with my man Bishop Lamont, shout out to Bishop, and that was like Detroit-West Coast shit, and the Random Axe is like the Midwest Detroit-East Coast shit. So, I guess the next one is going to have to be a Detroit-Southern joint.

Alex: Do you have somebody in mind for that?

Black: I fuck with my nigga Bun B. Big K.R.I.T, that’d be dope. There’s some dope artists down there you know, so we’ll have to see.

Alex: That’d be dope, for sure. So it seems like there’s a heavy electronic influence on the beats for this album, it’s a little bit different sounding. Was that an intentional choice or did it just turn out that way?

Black: It really wasn’t on purpose. I’ve seen a few reviews where people say there’s a lot of synths, but I don’t really hear it. I guess there’s a few joints where it’s there of course, because of the samples, but I didn’t know it was that blatant to the point where people would recognize it like that. I mean, cats like me, the people familiar with my music know, I sample all kinds of music—Soul, electronic, everything, like most Detroit producers, so there ain’t no limit to what I’ll chop up or what type of music I’ll tap into. So you’ll always hear something different, a different influence on any project that I do.

Alex: What non-hip hop music have you been listening to lately?

Black: Really, the only thing I listen to is non-hip hop stuff. Shit, I’ve been listening to a lot of Parliament lately. A lot of Parliament, a lot of Ohio Players too. I don’t know why, but for the last couple of weeks that’s all I’ve been listening to (laughs).

Alex: So what do you think of the BK festival so far?

Black: It’s dope! This is my second time here, I was here last year, 2010.

Alex: For Album of the Year?

Black: Yeah, it was just me solo, me with the band. It’s just as dope as last year. The weather’s a little better this year though, it was raining last year. It’s good man, it’s good to see people coming out supporting the artists of the new generation of hip hop shit, to you know the cats that’s been around for years. For all of us to be on the same stage, people love it.

Alex: Do you have anything solo in the works right now?

Black: You know, hopefully I can get another solo project out, hopefully by the end of 2012. That’s my goal, but I’ve got other side projects I’m trying to get out first, so if it happens, it happens; and if it don’t, then whatever, 2013. Right now, I just dropped the 7” single with Jack White from The White Stripes. That single just came out a few days ago, and you can get the vinyl from 3rd man website or come to my website, or find it on iTunes. Other than that, I’m working on a Black and Brown EP with Danny Brown, another Detroit artist. If cats know my album, he and I did a joint on my album, on Album of the Year, called “Black and Brown”, and that’s going to be the name of the EP. So there’s probably going to 6 or 7 cuts on there, just trying to keep momentum going. That was one of people’s favorite joints from the album, so I was just thinking lets throw out a couple joints in an EP. Plus, we have a video coming out for “Black and Brown” too. You know, just keeping it moving, got a few joints with some other projects, too, just keeping it moving.

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About Alex Edelstein

Alex is a Senior Staff Writer for Additionally, he works as a research associate at Columbia University on a project titled “Artist Identity Expressed Through Rap Lyrics,” interviewing artists and producers about issues of authenticity in hip hop. Originally from Detroit, Alex currently calls Brooklyn home, with stops in Oakland, Los Angeles, and Budapest along the way.
  • Alex Dreyer


  • Lolimar

    BLACK AND BROWN EP?!?!! awwww shit

  • Thomas

    I need Black Milk to come to DC or Baltimore for a show….I don’t go to many, but I would make it to that one.

    Danny Brown over 6 or 7 Black Milk tracks?  “Can’t Wait!” (c) Bart Scott

  • Game

    Good interview, one of my favorite producers, could’ve asked him about the Elzhi album though.

  • Alec Tribek

    Danny Brown is spectacular! Lookin forward to XXX for sure

  • junMaf*ckn

    Black Milk’s drum programming is dope as hell!

  • Gedi Dabakaeri

    If Black Milk does do a collaborative project with a southern artist. Black Milk & Big K.R.I.T. could be amazing.

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