Stream Album HERE
Release Date: Oct. 15, 2013 via Computer Ugly
Cop the “Bundle Pack” HERE
Since Detroit’s Curtis Cross A.K.A. Black Milk first appeared on the scene in 2001, damn time flies, with his appearance on S.V.’s “Dirty District”, I knew this cat had a bright future of him. Not too many mufti-faceted, dual threats have exhibited the growth, year over year, album over album, that Black Milk has. From his production contributions on “late” Slum Village product (meaning: post “Fantastic Vol. II”), to early solo workings such as 2005′s “Sound of The City”, Black has not only stepped outside of the box with his production, but matured even more so, lyrically. With tomorrow’s release of the long-awaited, “No Poison, No Paradise”, released nearly 3 years after his 2010 opus “Album of The Year”, Black Milk has reached the pinnacle of his 12 year musical career. I’m not saying that Black Milk can never top the masterpiece that is “No Poison, No Paradise”, because I was honestly expressing the same sentiment after 6 months of bumping “Album Of The Year” on a daily basis in 2010 as that album is a 2000′s classic to me. However, this album is simply flawless…well, almost. Let me expound…
Quite honestly, I wasn’t that “blown away” the first time I heard “No Poison..”, yet the same can also be said for my first experience with my favorite album from last year, Kendrick’s “G.O.O.D. Kid..” as well. I mean, the actual “singles” from this album dropped quite a few months prior to the release of this LP. “Sunday’s Best”/”Monday’s Worst” actually dropped all the way back near the end of March and the second single “Perfected on Puritan Ave.” has been brewing for over two months. Secondly, “No Poison..” is short, I’m talking “Illmatic” short, clocking in at 44 minutes in length. Also of note, out of the 13 tracks on the LP, two of the tracks are actually instrumentals, the Robert Glasper, Dwele-assisted “Dreams” (Sonny Jr.) and “X Chords”. However even though 30% of the LP may not be as “fresh outta’ the box”, the sequencing and overall construction of this LP is perfect.
After the first few listens, one thing that you’ll notice immediately is Black Milk’s lyrical growth is eye/ear-opening. On some of Black Milk’s prior workings, namely “Popular Demand” and “Tronic”, Milk’s production talents shouldered much of the weight of his releases and while Milk’s production on “No Poison” also has evolved quite nicely, it’s his story telling abilities on tracks such as “Deon’s House” (my favorite cut on the LP), the Black Thought-featured “Codes & Cab Fare” and the aforementioned singles “Sunday’s Best”/”Monday’s Worst”, “Perfected..” that showcase a different side of Black that we haven’t heard on wax before, making “No Poison..” more of a concept album when everything is tied together.
I don’t wanna keep reverting back to “Sunday’s Best” thru “Perfected..”, but even with it’s placing on the LP, it’s one of the best three-song stretches that you’ll enjoy this year. “Parallels” which features one of my favorite crooners in the game, AB, is my second favorite track on the LP and the single that I feel that Black should have dropped on his Computer Ugly imprint rather than “Dismal” as the album’s 3rd release. No knock on “Dismal” as I can see the reasoning, the eerie production offsets “Perfected on Puritan Ave” nicely, but I feel that “Parallels” is the more ahem…appareling track of the two, you can figure out that interpretation on your own.
Lastly folks, simply put, this is the best album that has dropped in 2013, it will grow on you with each listen, undoubtedly. The overall structure, lyrical capacity and production of “No Poison..” has simply set it self apart from the pack in a year of good releases (The Procussions, Epidemic, MidaZ, Ugly Heroes, Tanya Morgan, etc., this album is the first great LP of 2013. I’m actually gonna’ try to catch Black on tour within the next few weeks. This cat is still walking the fine line between notoriety/under the radar, but “No Poison..” should push one of the most talented artists in the game to a whole ‘notha level!!