Despite the fact that he’s been working steadily these last 12 years, Black Milk remains one of hip-hop’s most underrated artists. The rapper and producer began his solo career with the decidedly conventional 2005 release Sound of the City, which featured the burgeoning hints of the artist’s tweaked genius throughout. His follow-up, Popular Demand (2007), was another set of squarely hip-hop tunes which were slightly distended by some of the out-there production.
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The digital revolution caught some musicians by surprise. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, owning instruments, much less booking studio time, was very much cost-prohibitive, meaning some amateur songwriters were left with little more than a hobby, not so much a profession. Nowadays, someone can get a studio sheen on everything from vocals to instrumentation without having to exit out of their laptops, leading to profoundly untalented acts like gnash scoring actual Top 10 hits in this day and age.
Tuxedo is doing their part to keep funk alive.
Comprised of soul singer Mayer Hawthorne and hip-hop producer Jake One, the dapper duo (yes, they do actually wear tuxedos) sound as though they’ve come through a time warp to remind the world of the importance of getting down. Their self-titled debut was a perfect thesis for this mission in 2015, melding the buttery-smooth grooves of groups like Chic and Zapp with the rubbery G-funk of Dr. Dre and DJ Quik.
Sprinkle in a playful image and a tongue-in-cheek approach to songwriting, and you get a duo that, even in the wake of retro-funk acts like Daft Punk and Bruno Mars, most organically update the sound for modern audiences. PopMatters caught up with Hawthorne and Jake One as they tour their latest album, Tuxedo II, and got the scoop on how they kept the funk feeling fresh the second time around.
The first thing that strikes you about the way Eric Anderson talks is just how chipper he is.
The 30-year-old Seattle-based musician is about to put out his fifth record, Keepers, as Cataldo, into the world. The accompanying promotional video, titled “Market Research”, shows Anderson walking around Seattle asking strangers to put on headphones and then answer questions like: “If this song were to be in a commercial, what sort of product could it advertise well?” People balk, stand around confused, looking almost offended, before blurting something very negative. The comment section, unconventionally, is full of full-hearted support for the musician, denouncing the “haters” who dare to dismiss the new music as “the most unenjoyable EDM” they’d ever heard.
He is a two-time Grammy award winner. He’s worked with legends like Smokey Robinson and has garnered praise from such musical luminaries as Public Enemy’s Chuck D. And still there are too many people who have yet to hear of him. Timothy Bloom has been diligently working the music circuit, writing and recording for the last six years or so. But he managed to turn some heads with his 2014 self-titled debut, an illustrious jewel of rousing blues and silky soul which featured his incredibly versatile singing.