Black Milk released the Glitches in the Break EP in March, following his No Poison, No Paradise album of Fall 2013. Overall I feel it’s pretty unfocused, even for a Black Milk release. The bandcamp description says it’s comprised of music “from the vault”, implying that it’s a collection of unused songs from various recording sessions, which would explain why there’s no clear connecting thread for this EP. Given that, I still think it’s pretty good. Here’s why.
Dirt Bells is my favorite song, with it’s sad bells, slow bpm, and Black’s calm explanation that he wishes he could be home with his family but must leave to tour and meet his musical goals. It’s a cliche topic but the beat’s tone matches it so well that I’m happy to hear it again in this form.
My second favorite is G, which features only Guilty Simpson rhyming. The topic is another cliche, Guilt’s transition from a criminal kid who hated life to a rapper. But, besides the beat’s reminiscent whistle, Guilt’s personal storytelling about disappointing his mom makes the song so interesting:
searching my room like where the drugs at
she didn’t find em, but found a heater in my coat lining
this was way before rhyming
when I had a deaf ear for all the old-timers
earning strips on the streets without a co-signer
she askin why, I couldn’t say
seems I was breaking her heart, every other day
This early gloom makes it all the more joyous when he finally does find some motivation and happiness in hip-hop.
Breaking up the sobriety of these topical songs are simple, fun ones like Ruffin, Reagan (which, like G with Guilty Simpson, lets Fat Ray control the mic), and 1 for Dam. Ruffin’s funky bounce and Black Milk’s good yet aimless rhymes make it the most enjoyable out of this bunch.
But there had to be something that I didn’t like. Cold Day and Silence seem to be about Black Milk’s Detroit life and his desire for people to shut up sometimes, respectively, but the verses are too vague for me to be absolutely certain. On top of that I hate the beats; Silence’s attempt at a spacey, haunting feeling did absolutely nothing but bore me.
Verdict: Add two instrumentals for the oh-so-skippable intro and outro and you’ve got Glitches in the Break. It’s kind of all over the place, but at least there are no club tracks or token songs for women. The individual songs are mostly worthwhile and the mix of styles is nice but this EP needs some sort of unification. It’s far from great but definitely good.