Detroit Producer Black Milk's Top Ten Albums of the Last Decade
"I don't hear anything else out there like my record." So says a confident Black Milk, the Detroit hip-hop producer who's struck 2010's boldest titular move to date by electing to call his fifth solo project Album Of The Year (out today). With his gritty-yet-soulful beats, Black Milk is often characterized as the heir to deceased underground hip-hop producer J Dilla's throne -- but this time around, he's attempting to follow a move out of Kanye West's glossy Lanvin playbook and rise up from producer-for-hire to genuine solo rap star. Building on his decision to pre-emptively nominate his own work as 2010's best, we asked Black Milk to take time out from readying his album release show at Southpaw tonight to pick his personal albums of the year for the last decade. He obliged, with a selection that mixes up hip-hop heavy hitters and cult rap icons with atmospheric indie rockers and a quirky Swedish chanteuse.
"A friend of mine had this old school-sounding track that sampled her voice, and I was immediately intrigued by it. So I tracked it down and found out it came out here in the US and was new. This was out in 2008, but I first heard it in 2009. It's kinda indie-rock but also with electronic influences. This sounds like something that I would sample. Most of the time I'll listen to more from an artist after I find something to sample. I know Drake did a remix of 'Little Bit' too, which was great."
"The album wasn't named after Dr. Dre's The Chronic--I was just trying to create something new. I think that it works so well because I grew musically from my debut album and you start to hear that. I really like the song 'Losing Out.' I sampled the Alan Parsons Project ['Let's Talk About Me'] for that. I came across it in a record store and I was surprised that I could chop it up that way. I knew I wanted Royce Da 5' 9" on the track too. It's a real underdog anthem."
"I first heard Radiohead when my cousin would play OK Computer all the time. With In Rainbows, it was the first song, '15 Step,' that that grabbed my attention. Thom Yorke's lyrics and delivery are so amazing over that production. They remind me of hip-hop; there's definitely a hip-hop vibe to Radiohead. Their sound is eerie--it gives you an eerie feeling like some hip-hop, just a vibe they create."
"I can't lie, when I first heard Donuts I was disappointed. I was expecting something else. It sounded so loose. It was only after time that I understood the craft and hidden messages Dilla was putting into the songs. The loops were so intricate. When I listen to it, I feel a mix of happiness and sadness. The music makes you feel good, but it's sad that there are these messages in there--it's like he was letting people know that he was ready to go. He made it while he was sick and I think he knew it was going to be his very last project."