Black Milk – No Poison, No Paradise

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Black Milk’s sophomore album, No Poison, No Paradise, is the perfect blend of smoothly laid hip-hop beats and a techno-synth vibe.

The Detroit rapper-emcee introduces a new kind of soulful lyricism mixed with a story-teller vibe that was largely absent from his 2010 release Album of the Year, a mix focused more on heavy drum beats and ephemeral themes. Now, after taking time off to perfect his skills in sound mixing and engineering, the 30-year-old rapper is back with a clean-cut sound that shows a new level of maturity.

Taking on the role of ‘Sonny,’ Black Milk spins rhymes focused on the troubles affronting any child growing up in the inner city, best played out in the combo track “Sunday’s Best/Monday’s Worst.” Unlike his past work, this album is less about the rhymes and more about the music. Black Milk takes time to let the vocals fade out so the listener can focus in on the smoothly mixed tracks, which artfully display techno beats melded with jazz interludes.

For a prime example of his expertise in the field of sound engineering, just look to “Sonny Jr. (Dreams),” an all-encompassing track that features strong drum beats overlaid on a mellow bass to make the listener feel like they themselves are laying in the bed of a young Curtis Cross getting ready to start a new day in Detroit.

While slower than most popular rap/pop compilations of today’s music, No Poison, No Paradise has the ability to appeal to both novices and veteran listeners of the hip-hop scene.