Curtis Cross, alias Black Milk, continues the lineage of Dilla disciples hailing from the urban permafrost of Detroit. As a producer-rapper hybrid, Black Milk leaves adequate space for his sampling and beat production to be just as emotive as his flow. “Gold Piece” pairs quivering, nostalgic R&B vocal-and-flute samples with a double time verse from Black about coming up “in the belly of the beast,” all glued together with a crispy acoustic backbeat.
The first verse meditates on images of inner-city streets (“adolescents layed out on stretchers”) and the selfish impulse to flee the violence, countered by the responsibility to one’s city or group or family or gang (“you got freedom, we got folks”). For the second verse, Houston’s Bun B, flips the conscious vibe on its head and transforms the track into a sinister tip-toeing banger, declaring war on a fake ni**a and his whole crew with a heavy-handed cadence.
The last 1:15 brings the sample work to the foreground, pointing back to the extended instrumentals on his March release Glitches in the Break. Watch out for If There’s a Hell Below dropping October 28th — grab Glitches in the Break on his Bandcamp.