A virtuoso, known for boundary-pushing production (often fusing traditional hip-hop drum programming with sampling and live music) and thoughtful lyrics, Black Milk is respected across the industry for his unique sound, consistency and innovation. Returning to the scene amidst a turbulent political climate, the Detroit-born rapper/producer announces FEVER, his upcoming studio album. Black Milk’s sixth solo rap album, and his first since 2014’s If There’s a Hell Below, FEVER combines pointed and topical lyrics and brilliant musicianship, including percussion from all-star musicians Chris “Daddy” Dave (D’Angelo, Adele, Justin Bieber) and Daru Jones (Jack White), bass by long-time collaborator Malik Hunter and keys and guitar from newcomers Ian Fink and Sasha Kashperko, respectively. Black Milk evolves his production style of fusing electronic, soul, rock and other soundscapes with electronic programming and live music, a method he began experimenting with on his 2010 release Album of the Year. A cohesive 12-track project, listening to FEVER evokes the feeling of scrolling through an endless news feed, finding Black Milk reporting and commenting on the world’s problems with empathy, clarity, and wit. Additional vocals from Dwele, Aaron “Ab” Abernathy, and Sudie (a producer / vocalist signed to Black Milk’s Computer Ugly label) serve to juxtapose Black’s heavy lyrical content with airy vibes. FEVER releases via Mass Appeal Records and Computer Ugly on February 23rd.
Black Milk explains the concept behind FEVER:
“Everybody’s temperature is up right now. The whole world is on edge. This album is my take on the issues I see as the cause for the high temp, and how I’m maneuvering through it.”
To accompany the album announcement, Black Milk shares “Laugh Now Cry Later,” the lead single from FEVER, which examines the mental and emotional tug of war within social media. “One moment you can be super angry about something and a couple of minutes later you’ll see a meme about that very same issue or some other random event that will make you laugh. We’re taking in high volumes of content and experiencing an array of emotions, often times conflicting emotions, all day and night on this social media rollercoaster,” says Black. Flexing his flow over creepily ethereal vocal samples, a frantic bassline, and restless percussion from Chris Dave, Black Milk looks into the cognitive dissonance between horrifying current events in the midst of meme culture. “Laugh Now Cry Later” runs through a litany of pressing issues, ranging from social media fakery, varying levels of consciousness, police brutality and more, as Black Milk chants on the chorus, “I see the whole world different now/You see my whole world’s different now/You’re in the sky, better learn to fly before your spaceship hits the ground.”
Black Milk explains that “Laugh Now Cry Later“:
“…is one of the darker songs on the album and represents a shift from my original intentions of making an album with more feel good vibes to letting the darker sounds flow out of me. Of course, between our dismal political and social climate, it was hard to make an entire album of feel-good vibes. I mean, how could I?”