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Black Milk - No Poison No Paradise

Black Milk’s No Poison No Paradise caught my eye because of the album cover. Most hip-hop albums are just pictures of the artist. If I saw this in a store and with no other information but the cover I would think it was a psychedelic group from the 60’s or 70’s. I’m not really sure what to expect from this project yet. I haven’t heard anything about this at all. I see he has a track with Black Thought, so maybe something along the lines of Mos Def or Talib Kweli. I don’t expect anything too hard. Something a little soulful and heartfelt.

Released October 15, 2013 on Fat Beats & Computer Ugly Records

Tracklisting:

1. “Interpret Sabotage” (featuring Mel) 3:29
2. “Deion’s House” 2:33
3. “Codes & Cab Fare” (featuring Black Thought) 3:30
4. “Ghetto Demf” (featuring Quelle Chris) 3:20
5. “Sonny Jr. (Dreams) [Instrumental]” (featuring Robert Glasper & Dwele) 3:25
6. “Sunday’s Best” 2:07
7. “Monday’s Worst” 3:54
8. “Perfected on Puritan Ave.” 3:26
9. “Dismal” 3:52
10. “Parallels” (featuring Ab) 3:00
11. “X Chords [Instrumental]” 2:11
12. “Black Sabbath” (featuring Tone Trezure) 4:31
13. “Money Bags” 4:31

“Interpret Sabotage” so far sounds like what I had guessed. Definitally has a soulful vibe. Great flow. The beats are on point, production is top notch. Mel breaks up the flow just a bit, but her voice fits the track so well. Great opening track. From the opening of this first track this is going to be a great record.

“Deion’s House” has a 70’s funk vibe. I’m not digging the beat as much on this one. It’s not horrible and a lot better than what is out in the mainstream right now, just doesn’t seem as strong as the first track. And just like that it is over. Seemed like it should have been a little longer.

The third song “Codes & Cab Fare” features Black Thought from The Roots. It has a very low key beat. Slightly eerie organ and other sounds in the background. It’s very odd sounding and slightly experimental for a hip-hop song. I’m not sure why, but this one draws me into it. The lyrics and flow take center stage here.

The opening of “Ghetto Demf” reminds me of an 80’s flick like The Running Man. Lots of synth sounds going on. They are not distracting though. Wow, when the lyrics come in it takes it to a whole new level. The hook is a little weak, but the second verse from Quelle Chris brings the energy back up. Another solid track.

Black Milk bring in his first Instrumental with “Sonny Jr. (Dreams)”. The great drum beat is layered with piano and horns to give it a real full feeling. A solid track on it’s own, with added vocals it would be on another plane. Very strong production.

“Sunday’s Best” started with that deep voice you hear on tons of rap tracks, but then it got much better. This track goes together with the next it seems in a narrative. This one seems to be about how parents try to keep the kids on the straight path and make sure they go to church, but they take the wrong path anyway.

“Monday’s Worst” starts with a positive message. It’s never too late to get your values straight. The rest of the rhyme talks about the common sterotype and how it is too late after he fell victim to his circumstances. Another great beat and solid production.

“Perfected on Puritan Ave.” has a simple beat. The problem with this track is the beat almost drowns out the lyrics. Not one of my favorites on this record. The song changes tone halfway thorugh and brings in a fast messy jazz vibe. No more lyrics. It’s interesting, but seems out of place.

“Dismal” has the grittiest sound on the record so far. It has a very interesting sound. Black Milk’s flow on this track just adds another layer to the beats. It almost sounds like there is a ghost in the background. The name fits the track.

The beat on “Parallels” featuring Ab is another interesting one. Black Milk is not afraid to try something a little different. The hook is again slightly weak, but the rhymes are top notch once again.

The second instrumental, “X Chords” has a funky beat. There are some lyrics on this, so it’s a grey area for me on if it’s a true instrumental. Great beat once again. Maybe a little on the short side.

Up next is “Black Sabbath”. The synth sounds again remind me of the 80’s but the beat comes hard. When the vocals come in it’s full of soul. Then Black Milk starts with the rhymes, which I believe has the best flow so far on the album. I almost feel like it’s missing a verse though.

The beat on “Money Bags” was my least favorite of the album. It’s something else I rarely hear in hip-hop and I’m glad he took chances on it, I just wasn’t feeling it.

Overall I really enjoyed this project. I wish I had heard of this cat before. Solid album that took chances in the genre. There needs to be more of this. I could see a great collaboration with Black Milk and Mos or Talib in the future. I’m glad this is added to my collection.

Categories: Entertainment, Featured, Music

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