Monday, December 22, 2008

Donny Goines- Know The Name

Three laps around the sun-that is how long it has taken Donny Goines to amass his words and music for his debut album, Minute After Midnight. Unlike other debuts, this album does not serve as an introduction but rather it cements the fact that this Harlemite can create a worthy album that embodies hip hop in its truest form. That said this album is not a classic by any means, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

The genius for lack of better words of this thirteen-track LP lies in the fact that, all you hearing is [him] not a rapper who lies; while a strong majority of rappers play their parts in fantasia, Goines instead spits reality raps. Even when he spits imaginary tales a la Ricky’s Story, he still reinforces that same very reality. The whole attitude of the album is summed up in its title which Goines parallels to that of the fairy tale, Cinderella, “...the story has a parallel to rap…they had [a] ball which parallels the clubs, the gowns is like the jewelry, the clothing; but what happens after midnight? All that fantasy just disappears, and that's what I'm trying to represent in this album, no fantasy-none!” Goines intent, clearly laid in the groundwork and evidently coming into fruition with Minute After Midnight, was not to involve the usual ish. To this degree one must applaud Goines’s effort for not conforming to any system or style on the road to riches and diamond rings; clearly real n***as [still] do real things.

Executively produced by Dame Grease, it also includes production from Statik Selektah, DJ Static and K Salaam. The fact that Midnight After Midnight utilizes the same producer on more than one track allows the album to be more cohesive. Similarly, because this album does not feature any other rappers, it allows Goines to shine to the best of his ability. The majority of this album contains discerning storytelling embedded within inspirational and reflective lyrics more than anything. Ghetto USA as the title would imply is an insightful track in which Goines vividly describes the ghettos that plague Amerikkka. Dame Grease’s, I am Moving, finds Goines applying celestial metaphors to recreate cruise music. MLK describes his plight to his imminent success, while emulating Martin Luther King’s notion of a dream. Can U Hear Me finds Goines calling unto God over what sounds like music suitable for the Scarface soundtrack with its sturdy use of synthesizers. The aforementioned Ricky’s Story is one of the stellar tracks among many on this album. This track is the art of storytelling at its finest, with a very powerful moral that becomes practical in this rap climate presently crammed with delusions. As The World Turns is what I would describe as his Nas hiccup; the album could have fared better without its inclusion. A tribute to the early loss of his son comes with Heaven Is With You, a very personal track that also reinforces Goines uncanny knack for storytelling, as it questions “what if”?

Even if Minute After Midnight offers nothing novel as Goines sticks to an unwritten script, it is still a solid release. Excluding the Nas miscue, the content of this album reinforces Goines’s status as an E-M-C-E-E who spits with an unequivocal, passionate conviction.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One For The Money

The homie, Nino Bless sent me this introspective track Murdera and I thought I would share. It's always refreshing when an emcees uses his or her music or lyrics rather as an instrument to voice truths instead of spitting about what they got...BK STAND UP

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Universal Mind Control

Common recently pronounced, “Today is the birthday of a new child of mine” when referencing the release of his latest studio release, Universal Mind Control. If that is the case, then it is the bastard child resulting from his relationship with Serena. It appears as though when Common becomes seriously involved (…for the public to see) with a woman he loses all his sense and sensibilities with regards to hip hop. His relationship with Erykah Badu generated Electric Circus, a subpar, far cry from hip hop standards even if it was experimental. Keeping the notion of family in mind, one would expect that Universal Mind Control would fare better than his first child, Electric Circus; unfortunately this is not the case. Perhaps his newfound money, “A brother isn't just relying on hip-hop to pay my bills anymore", has this brother perplexed. Maybe it is something in Chi-City’s water that has got its prominent artists seeing things differently. You cannot slap mediocre, uninspiring lyrics to sometimes insipid production and call it the “the future of progressive hip hop”; that’s like slapping lipstick on a pig. It’s sad that an artist of such stature and longevity, who effortlessly delivered Be and Finding Forever, could revert to such second-rate standards....alas we see the b***h in yoo.


Common- Gladiator

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Give The Drummer Some

I once referred to Detroit native, Black Milk as the Samuel L. Jackson of this rap ish, and clearly I was not exaggerating when I made this assessment. Since committing his production talents and budding wordplay to The Set Up, a collaborative project with Fat Ray, Black Milk has since been involved with the likes of Elzhi and Heltah Skeltah to name a few.

With his latest release, Tronic, Black Milk showcases why Detroit is soon to be at the forefront of production. It is always invigorating to see someone not only hone their craft but also deviate from what is traditionally expected from them especially in this present hip hop climate; that not only rewards unoriginality and monotony, but sadly also awards style over substance. With Tronic, Black spills his jargon over chiefly electronic based sounds with a glitter of soul and assorted drum patterns that we have grown to attribute with his music.

I recently caught up with Black, fresh off a performance in Toronto, tired yes- but ultimately proving that he will sleep when he is dead.

Eldorado Red: What it is Black, how are you doing?

Black Milk: What’s good? I’m good, what’s going on with you?

Eldorado Red: Ain’t nuthin’, trying to live I can’t complain, how was your trip to Toronto?

Black Milk: Dope man, the show turned out good man, I’ve always loved Toronto.

Eldorado Red: Iight, What has the response being like for Tronic?

Black Milk: Good man, just getting a lot dope reviews youknowhatiamsayin.

Eldorado Red: How did you approach this album when compared to Popular Demand?

Black Milk: I knew had to make a better album than Popular Demand youknowhatiamsayin of course there’s… I wanted to have a different sound than Popular Demand and a just sound that people wouldn’t probably… that’s why I titled it Tronic it’s kind of like electronic based but it still has a little bit soul to it. It’s a lil’ futuristic; it’s something different, fresh and a different approach with just hip hop beats period.

Eldorado Red: Long Story Short, pretty much tells your story, are you content with where your career is at this time?

Black Milk: Yea man youknowhatiamsayin I always got goals but I’m pretty content. I know it’s a growing process and it’s a certain process you got as an artist youknow nothing happens overnight so I’m still working hard and grinding to get to where I wanna be youknow in the music industry and just the game period. So yea but right now I’m good man, youknowhatiamsayin. I am just trying to build the fan base, make the fan base grow.

Eldorado Red: Losing Out is one of the many stellar tracks on this album. When do you feel that Detroit will finally get its just deserts, proper recognition?

Black Milk: I really couldn’t say an exact time like I couldn’t say if it would be next year or 2010 youknowhatiamsayin whenever it happens it happens but it is gonna happen youknowhatiamsayin. So I feel like it’s going to come back full circle back to D we gonna have our shine and when we do its going to be hard for any other place to take the spotlight off of Detroit youknowhatiamsayin.

Eldorado Red: Iight so Give the Drummer some, was that inspired by the UTFO single by the same name at all?

Black Milk: Nah it wasn’t. I was actually approached in another interview or somebody told me something about that before. I never heard of that song or anything like that youknowhatiamsayin but yea that song was inspired by James Brown and Fela Kuti… so just some real funky youknow grimy musical kind of like hard afro rock type of shit.

Eldorado Red: Where those horns sampled from Fela or did you have someone come in and play….

Black Milk: Nah none of it was a sample, that’s like original music even the horns that was a part… my man Sam played horns on the track. There’s actually YouTube footage of me and him in the studio with him recording the horn part for the hook. So yea that was all original music; like I was saying, it was just inspired by James Brown and Fela.

Eldorado Red: What inspired you to recreate ribbon in the sky?

Black Milk: Oh yea…I don’t know matter fact I do know. One day I was in the lab and my brother’s friend well my brother and his friend were in the studio with me. My brother’s friend was over there playing like Ribbon in the Sky. I was like, “Yo that’s dope.” But he was playing it on like this real cheap keyboard I thought it’d be dope if I like flipped it on like a synthetic version of it so with a synth keyboard. I hoped unto the lab drum kit and just played a real simple beat, real slow and had him play Ribbon In The Sky on the synth board when were on the road. And then I played on top of it with just different synth keys and another sound and you know that’s how it came together. I was like youknow I’ll use it as an interlude youknowhatiamsayin the track is about 30, 40 seconds.

Eldorado Red: What projects other than Random Axe are in the works?

Black Milk: Right now I really…there’s a lot of different things I want to do, I just can’t really put my finger on which one I am gonna to do after….which one I am going to make official. I just got a lot of different things in mind; I don’t know if I want to do an instrumental project, I just got to figure out the concept. I want to work with a couple of different singers from the D. I want to do some stuff that’s kind of outside of hip hop. Yeah, I got a couple of different ideas; I am just kind of focused on Tronic right now. But definitely be on the lookout for Random Axe.

Eldorado Red: Are you still not listening to the radio?

Black Milk: I mean every now and again but not really youknowhatiamsayin (laughs). Every time I am in the ride I am playing a CD, I am playing some beats; I don’t really ride around and listen to the radio.

Eldorado Red: Any last words for the readers?

Black Milk: Tronic in stores youknowhatiamsayin, that’s all I am focused on right now. Just making sure everyone is aware that Tronic is out and go support it, it’s real hip hop music.


Black Milk feat. Pharoahe Monch, Sean Price & Primo – The Matrix

Black Milk feat. Royce Da 5’ 9’’- Losing Out

Black Milk feat. AB – Reppin For You

Black Milk feat. Melanie Rutherford- Bond 4 Life