Black Milk - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

Black Milk Does A Body Good

February 2007

MVRemix: Most of your past work was released through Barak Records. You were one half of the group BR Gunna, who also consisted of Young RJ. Barak Records is owned by Young RJ's father. Now, you are a solo artist. You released your new record, 'Popular Demand' through Fat Beats Records. Why and how did this happen?

Black Milk: I hooked up with Fat Beats. It's a long story and I have to get into the BR Gunna thing. I want to make it clear. Young RJ and I were doing the BR Gunna thing. We had a BR Gunna album that basically got put on the shelf by Barak Records. I wasn't really feeling that and I wasn't feeling some of the business side of things over there. I decided not to really leave the situation, but step out of the situation for a little bit. That was when I put out the project, 'Sound Of The City' in 2005. I had to work on my own solo stuff because the BR Gunna album got put on hold. I needed music out there. I had to keep my name going. I put that out and the underground responded to it well. People were feeling it. A lot of people were saying that it was one of the dopest underground hip-hop projects of that year. After the buzz grew on the underground circuit after that, Fat Beats and a few other labels tried to holla at me. Fat Beats perused me the hardest. I went with them. They made me a nice little deal. They were already paying me for the music and they loved the music. They made me feel better and made me want to work even more. They are people who like my music just as much as I do. Also, they want people to hear it just as much as I do.

MVRemix: Fat Beats is dope. Angie and Ethan from Fat Beats always get the job done and are wonderfully professional. Angie worked very hard to ensure that this interview took place.

Black Milk: Wow, man!

MVRemix: When I interviewed Baatin, he told me that he will never do business with Barak Records again. What about you? Are there any problems between you and Barak Records? Will you work with them again?

Black Milk: [laughs] Baatin is crazy! I wouldn't say that I would never work with Young RJ again. Hopefully, we can work again together in the future. Young RJ is the son of RJ Rice. It's kind of weird. For me, the business was not all the way right. I don't have to say too much about all of the episodes that went on. Just look at it for yourself. Look at all of the artists that Barak had. Now look where they are at. Phat Kat is doing his thing with Look Records now. I'm on Fat Beats.

MVRemix: So what is the status with BR Gunna? Will you and Young RJ ever work again as BR Gunna?

Black Milk: I won't say that it's gone. I won't say that we will never put together music in the future. Me and Fat Ray are cool. Fat Ray was basically the emcee of BR Gunna. When we did 'Dirty District Vol. 2', Fat Ray was like on every song. Me and Fat Ray still work together. I'm trying to get to Fat Ray in this situation now. So, we're working on music. But, right now, I don't really know. I'm doing my thing. Young RJ is doing his thing. That's what it is.

MVRemix: On the 'Popular Demand' LP, Baatin reunites with Slum Village (Elzhi & T3) on the song, 'Action'. There were some problems between them, but you got them together for a song. How did you do this?

Black Milk: I don't know, man. I did the track and the track was crazy. I wanted to spit on it and then I wanted to have Slum on it. Then, I thought that I wanted to have Baatin on it too. Elzhi, T3, and Baatin have not done a song together since the 'Trinity' album. That was like 2001 or 2002. I had Baatin come to the lab and bless me with a verse. We made it happen. There it is! All three of them on one record. It was crazy!

MVRemix: Do you think that Baatin and the rest of Slum Village will ever be back together as a group?

Black Milk: The Slum is doing their thing. Baatin is still trying to get himself together.

MVRemix: Baatin did have some health problems. How is he doing health-wise these days?

Black Milk: He's doing cool. Basically, I haven't talked to him in a little while, but the last time I did talk to him, he was looking alright. He's doing cool. Once Baatin handles whatever problems he has, he will be all good. I would love to have all three of them dudes back in the studio again to do another Slum Village album.

MVRemix: Do you have a favorite track on the 'Popular Demand' LP? Why?

Black Milk: To tell you the truth, the Slum track, 'Action'. That's the craziest song on the album. It's so hype and the beat is so not Slum Village.

MVRemix: What song on the 'Popular Demand' album took the longest to complete? Why?

Black Milk: I'm got them all out pretty quick, in a few days time. I knock them out kind of quick. Once I start one, it doesn't take me longer than about two or three days to have it done. Usually, I have a rough skeleton version of the track laid out on Pro-Tools. Then, I have whoever I will have rhyme on it come through and lay their vocals. Then, I may add some atmosphere or some other sounds. Then, it's a wrap. That's how I work. It doesn't take weeks on end. I may come back to a track a few weeks later and throw a little sprinkle on it, but I really knock a track out in a couple days time.

MVRemix: On the song, 'Power, Money And Influence' from Guru's 'Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures' album, Talib Kweli remarks that Pro-Tools made producers lazy. Do you agree?

Black Milk: [laughs] I wouldn't say that it is actually making producers lazy. I know people who just do their beats in Pro-Tools. I had a chance to kick it with Just Blaze in Australia, not too long ago. He uses Pro-Tools. He put me up on how easy it is. Not easy, but it gives you more room to be creative with beats. I don't really look at it as people who use FruityLoops, do their beats with Pro-Tools or other programs like that. I don't look at it as bad because you still have to have talent to put the beat together. The beat is not going to put together itself. The beat cannot do it on it's own. You still have to have talent. I know 9th Wonder. He uses FruityLoops and makes dope beats that sound like he made them on the MPC. I know some other people who use FruityLoops and their beats aren't good. It's really not about the program. It is about who is behind the machine.

MVRemix: Who are some artists who you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Black Milk: Ah, man. I'm really trying to work with anybody who wants to work with me, but I would prefer certain favorites who I would love to do a collab with. These are people like Madlib and MF Doom. That would be crazy. I would love to do a collaboration with Ghostface. I would love to do something with Busta Rhymes, some off the wall sh*t for him. Nas and Jay-Z, of course.

MVRemix: What LPs have you been listening to during the last couple of days?

Black Milk: What do I have in the ride? I have 'The Shining' by J Dilla. I'm listening to Prince's 'Controversy' CD. I have a Nirvana CD in my ride.

MVRemix: Which Nirvana album?

Black Milk: I just bought it. Somebody made me buy it. It is the one with the baby floating in the water on the cover.

MVRemix: Oh, that is 'Nevermind' by Nirvana.

Black Milk: Yeah. There was one song I heard on that album when I was in a club. I had to get the CD. I can't think of the name of the song right now. I think it was one of their singles too.

MVRemix: I think a true music lover simply appreciates all kinds of music.

Black Milk: Yeah. I'm starting to get more into the rock thing. I definitely understand it. I feel like I can listen to it. I don't just listen to hip-hop CDs.

>> continued...

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  • Slum Village - Trinity review by Todd E. Jones
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    "I'm starting to get more into the rock thing. I definitely understand it. I feel like I can listen to it. I don't just listen to hip-hop CDs."