Black Of All Trades [Interview]
Vancouver, BC – When Black Milk comes to town, Vancity knows how to show him some major love. Black returned to Fortune Sound on the last leg of his Claps and Slaps tour with his live band Nat Turner, and HipHopCanada’s KassKills had an opportunity to chat with charming MC about his role as a producer, working with the legendary Jack White and of course how he likes his ladies.
“I have a huge passion for creating. That’s the space I love to be in more than anything. Just making music and making beats.”
HipHopCanada: You’re coming up to the end of your tour. How has it been?
Black Milk: Tour’s been great. The whole tour’s been wonderful; it’s been a success. This is actually my first official US tour ever. I’ve never done more than a 20 state run in the States before. I’m always touring Europe or something like that. When I do shows in the States its like spot dates here and there. It’s been a great turn out. Probably get back on the road in the next couple months and try to hit the cities I didn’t get to.
HipHopCanada: Your track “Black and Brown” with Danny Brown was of course on Album Of The Year but was recently taken to the next level with the Black and Brown EP. What was it about that connection that made you decide to work together again?
Black Milk: The song came out so good you know, we just built chemistry and when the album came out that was one of peoples favorite songs so I was like lets try to take it a step further. Some fan shit, for the fans, lets do some more songs and do a little small project, an EP and call it Black and Brown. That’s what we did. Danny came to the studio, he recorded a few more songs, I did my thing on the production and the beats whatever and yeah, there you have it, Black and Brown. Fans loved it and that was like one of my favorite joints I put out last year.
HipHopCanada: Speaking on your collaborations, you recorded a couple tracks with Jack White and the tracks you did were recorded on tape, your verses done back to back. How was that experience and how do you feel that way of recording enhanced the music?
Black Milk: Yeah, the only editing we did was like cutting and splicing and connecting so it was a real old school style. That’s the thing about Jack White, everything about him is throw back, vintage and just raw you know. He didn’t even have a computer in his studio, you know what I’m sayin’, so that was even weird for me cause I’m all about the old school but it was funny like no computer and he only works off of like eight tracks. I didn’t even have enough tracks to ad-lib on my verse but it was still dope man. Crazy experience and an honor to work with somebody that talented as a musician and you know I’m just doing my thing like on an independent level on some hip-hop shit so for him to respect what I’m doing is an honor. I was already a fan of The White Stripes so when we got the call I was like, “man, is this a joke?” It was really real, you know, so we made it happen and it came out dope. It exposed me to another audience. It was funny getting on the hip-hop blogs and weird for me to see that some people didn’t even know who Jack White was. He actually invited me out to do a festival that he was apart of called the Michigan Festival. Basically all rock music but I was the only hip-hop act on the bill. We killed it, did our thing so it was real dope, he’s a real cool dude.
HipHopCanada: Do you plan to work together again?
Black Milk: Hopefully. Of course, I’m defiantly down to do something in the future so hopefully something happens. That’d be real dope.
HipHopCanada: You once said that as a kid you were a bit of a baller; you had hoop dreams. Obviously with your success as a musician you have no regrets but is there anything that can temporarily distract you from the music? Basketball, girls, cars?
Black Milk: Nothing, really. Girls and sports are not really a distraction, that’s just like, me taking a break. Even when it’s physical, like I’m starving and I need some food, that can’t even distract me or pull me away. I have a huge passion for creating. That’s the space I love to be in more than anything. Just making music and making beats, you know what I’m sayin’. Producing dope songs and producing for other people and trying to create new sounds and ideas that be runnin’ through my head. I’m just fine spending a whole week or weeks at home, not really going outside and just sitting it in the house making music.
HipHopCanada: Do you still play ball?
Black Milk: When I get a chance to. Not that much though. I probably play once or two times the whole year. I’m always making music.
HipHopCanada: You tweeted that when your niece was born you played her first two pieces of music, which were Prince and Dilla; what was you earliest music memory and what would you have chosen as your own first songs?
Black Milk: Earliest hip-hop music memory, this is gonna sound a little funny but I was young as hell, was probably Kris Kross “Jump”. I was in elementary school when that came out. I remember one of my best friends lived right across the street from me and we used to walk to school together and that was one of the songs we would always sing on the walk to school in the cold and the snow. That’s weird, I hate that that’s my earliest, I wish I could think of something better. If I could choose, it would probably be something from Prince, Purple Rain. It was around that time, in the 80’s so yeah, probably like Thriller and Purple Rain. I wish my memory was more clear and vivid of that time when Mike was killin’ it or Price was killin’ it. They both was at the top of the world so I wish I could like remember that time a little more clear.
HipHopCanada: Obviously you’re a super handsome guy and you do well with the ladies. We just have to know about your style: thick girls or thin?
Black Milk: I mean, I prefer thick girls you know. Its funny cause we was just talking about this earlier today. It really doesn’t matter if you slim or if you have a shape or you thick, that’s cool too. If you thicker but you still have a shape that’s cool. It don’t really matter to me, it matters as long as you look good. I’m not really into or gotta have light skin girls or I gotta have dark skin girls or a certain race or something like that. If you look good, you look good. That’s how I look at it. I’ve been with chicks all across the rainbow; light, thick, slim. It’s all about how you carry yourself and defiantly about your attitude.
HipHopCanada: We need to hear way more of you. What’s coming up next?
Black Milk: I need to hear more of me too! I’m starting to get into the recording process at the moment so hopefully I can get something out by the end of the year. If not then definitely the top of next year. In the mean time, ill probably be doing a lot of production stuff so if you see my name its probably going to be behind the boards. Reaching out to artist I like, finding up-and-coming artist that I like. Some cats from Detroit. An MC who actually runs with Danny Brown’s crew Bruisers; his name is Dopehead and I’ll defiantly be trying to work with him on some stuff. He’s real dope, got a real ill, crazy voice. I got this soul singer from Detroit her name is Melanie Rutherford. Ima be working with her on some soul, R&B, eclectic, different stuff outside of the hip-hop genre. That’s what ima be working on, lots of production.
HipHopCanada: We’ll be on the look out for that. Thanks!
Interview conducted by @KassKills for HipHopCanada
Photography by @AmaliaJude for HipHopCanada