10 Lessons I’ve Learned From Listening To Black Milk

After spending another 9 hours in the corporate cubicle farm returning frantic voice messages and replying to panicked emails, I was able to peel myself off the adjustable generic office chair and slink past the security desk to sweet freedom.  Immediately upon liberation I pulled out my IPod, started rocking Black Milk’s August ’05 Beat CD, and realized that there are some serious life and production lessons that can be learned from his instrumentals.  Lemme run ‘em down real quickly for ya…

  1. Hi hat + hi hat = snare
  2. Intentionally abrupt transitions and sloppy sample chopping sound just as good, if not better, than perfectly smoothed out loops.
  3. Vocal samples chopped into syllables can be made into unique instruments.
  4. Sampling is better than not sampling
  5. Fluctuating velocity is a very good thing
  6. There is a time and place for quantization.
  7. Random and out of place sounds can make a composition very interesting.
  8. Pay attention to the rules of production… then break them.
  9. Make music for yourself and that you would listen to when by yourself.
  10. Most innovators aren’t understood until the innovation is over and done with.  By that time they have more than likely moved onto something else that is misunderstood.


Joints I’m feeling Right Now

  1. BeatTips Manual by Sa’id (book)
  2. Wax Poetics issues 1, 2, and 7
  3. Black Milk – August ’05 Beat CD
  4. Flying Lotus – 1983
  5. Donny Hathaway – Everything Is Everything
  6. 33 1/3 Endtroducing by Eliot Wilder (book)
  7. Cru – Da Dirty 30
  8. Hard 2 Obtain – Ism & Blues
  9. The Rap Records – Freddy Fresh
  10. Reviews of the Roland MV-8800 (I’ve developed a really bad case of gear lust for this thing!)

657 thoughts on “10 Lessons I’ve Learned From Listening To Black Milk”

  1. You wouldn’t have a suggestion as to where one could “find” the said Aug ’05 mixtape would you??

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