Black Milk is becoming the hip-hop junkie's newest fix. Born Curtis Cross, he has been creeping toward brand-name status since his 2005 debut album, Sound of the City. Until then, Black Milk was known strictly as a producer, so his pinpoint lyricism caught critics by surprise. His ability as an MC and songwriter was the curveball nobody anticipated. The outcome was a mishmash of raw hip-hop and crisp production that momentarily turned the rap world on its ear. Dude has since signed with Fat Beats, and his newest release, Broken Wax, is a strong dose of everything that's missing in mainstream hip-hop. Although it's only an EP, the eight songs that appear on this project pack a punch. The snares on this album are ridiculous, and it's easy to tell that Black has been boning up on his soul record collection. He's progeny of the almighty J Dilla, and as if anticipating comparisons, he finds innovative ways of laying his soul samples in order to put a necessary amount of distance between the student and the sensei. It's a safe bet to buy Broken Wax for its breakneck beats and ill vibe, but Black's ghetto-smooth cadence and storytelling ability are what really steal the show. Jonathan Cunningham
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.