“Popular Demand” – precursory thoughts

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Aight, I’m having overload after listening to this album a few times through so it may take a minute to collect my thoughts. If had to play a little word association with myself, it go something like this:

Black Milk – Detroit
Detroit – Dilla
Popular Demand – Beats
Beats – Bangin’

I had a similar beat overload the first the time I heard Champion Sound. The drums dominate and the patterns BM uses are easily identified with Dilla’s Detroit. On tracks like “Take It There,” the drums, along with an amazing sample, create a mob-inciting environment…not sure what the sample was before being cut up, but I love the chanting background BM creates with it.

In addition to thinking of beats when I think Popular Demand I also think consistency; that is, there is no lull on the production. Typical of another Detroit native. When it comes to sampled beats, I always think that the entire beat hinges on the sample used – picking out that sample and cutting it up just right is truly an art – and Black Milk’s beats revel in excellent samples. Similar to Dilla (is the Dilla comparison tired by now?), BM takes some soulful ass beats and makes them bang hard.

So, as I’m bopping my head to the beats, I can’t help but think: anyone of these beats could be a hit commercially; I can easily hear cars bumpin’ “Threesum,” “One Song,” or “Action.” It’s difficult to get inside an artist’s head though. Some strive for that commercial success, e.g. Kanye. Others, like a Dilla or Madlib seem content to succeed/produce on their own terms. I don’t know enough about Black Milk to guess where he’ll end up. He definitely has a marketable sound, particularly in the wake of the success of Kanye, and the death legacy of Dilla.

I’m going to have to listen to the album more to shed light on it lyrically – prematurely, I think Black Milk has that ill ability to flow over the hard drums, a la T3 and Dilla.

Oh yeah, one more thing: how good is it to hear T3 & Baatin together, along with Elzhi?

P.S. That studio session, ill. Love the lone light bulb (he needs to get one of those energy savers though); also love his remark on sampling: “Cats probably think I have hundreds of thousand records; it ain’t really like that though. I just got good records.” The art of sampling.

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