17 November, 2011@4:23 pm
The tag team division of hip-hop has seen quite a resurgence. With everyone from Kanye an Jay-Z to Jake One and Freeway, forming a solid cohesive sound for an album is coming back in style. Being less single driven and more focused on creating a cohesive sound, this has resulted in some great, if not underrated, albums. Danny Brown and Black Milk deliver their own contribution to the trend with Black & Brown.
There are a lot of similarities between Black Milk and Danny Brown. Both have traversed the country collaborating with artists from NYC to LA, both have been among the new crop of emcees and producers pushing things forward while keeping some roots in the past and both are willing to try new sounds. Danny Brown released his acclaimed XXX tape this summer while Black Milk teamed up with Guilty Simpson and Sean Price to release Random Axe.
The album opens up with what sounds like a chopped up opening theme to a b-movie before things kick off on “Wake Up”. Danny Brown opens up going hard on this track and continues throughout the album, sounding more pinpoint focused than on his XXX tape. Black Milk takes a different approach here than on some of his more recent work. He’s sampling records more, but still using plenty of live instrument samples, sounding as hard as ever. Black Milk has always had some of the most natural sounding beats, and continues the trend on this album throwing down hard snares and high hats over a flute loop and “Zap”.
On “Jordan VII”, Danny digs back into his more graphic lyrics with Black Milk adopting a synth and spaced out sound reminiscent of Flying Lotus. “Dada” can take a minute to settle into your brain, but Danny Brown finds a way to ride a ridiculously tweaked beat that twists and bends as Brown maintains his vocal footing.
On “Lol”, Black Milk produces one of the better compositions of his career. Funk guitar that could have come from Funkadelic, meshed with a classic soul sample, isn’t like anything he’s ever made before. Why he hasn’t been called into to work with Kanye yet, we don’t know.
They close out the album with the album title cut “Black & Brown”. Over strings, audience roars, and snapping hi-hats, Black Milk opens it up with Danny Brown closing it out, with references to Beverly Hills Cop and Wu-Tang that keep your attention right up until the last line.
The album doesn’t really have choruses, and is really more of an EP, with only 8 tracks having lyrics and most being under 3 minutes. It’s still a worthy project from both Black Milk and Danny Brown. Both are young, both are also a little experienced but both still have a lot more potential, together or apart.
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