Record Label: Fat Beats Records
In 2011, hip hop artists from Detroit have continued to create some of the most celebrated music in the genre, and no one is raising the standard in the underground as high as Black Milk and Danny Brown. After their collaborative track “Black and Brown” from Black’s LP Album of the Year became a fan favorite, the two decided to record an entire EP together, fittingly titled Black and Brown. While the aforementioned track appears on the EP, the remainder of Black And Brown sees Danny Brown exclusively handling mic duties, with Black Milk showcasing his masterful production.
Black Milk’s Album of the Year dropped in September 2010 to strong reviews and an impressive showing on the Billboard charts, and his stock has continued to rise ever since. Performing with a live band for over 80 shows on a worldwide tour in support of the album, he has established himself as one of rap’s best live performers. He also became the first rap artist to record and release music with rock superstar Jack White, who co-produced and played on the much-publicized “Brain” 7-inch single on White’s label Third Man Records. Never straying from his hip hop roots, Black Milk also serves as a member of the group Random Axe (with Sean Price and Guilty Simpson), and entirely produced their successful self-titled 2011 full-length release.
Danny Brown first gained wide recognition with the release of his album The Hybrid as a free download in March 2010. Since the release, he’s emerged as one of rap’s most distinct new voices. The shock value of his drug- fueled and sex-laden rhyming has been frequently compared to the early works of Eminem, and his ear for progressive beats as well as his unique fashion sense has made him a favorite with critics. His latest project XXX was released as a free download in August 2011, and was instantly hailed as one of the top rap albums of the year by artists and fans alike, while receiving heavy coverage from media outlets like Pitchfork, MTV, and The Fader.
After spending much of 2012 in the studio, Black Milk returns in top form with Synth or Soul, a vinyl-only EP release prepared especially for Record Store Day. Black Milk’s first official release of 2013 also marks the launch of his instrumental series Fuzz, Freqs, & Colors. The series is a collaborative project with illustrator Upendo Taylor (Nike, Gatorade, Leroy Jenkins), with each volume bringing vibrant, colorful, and forward-thinking visuals to both represent and complement its sound and aesthetic.Synth or Soul offers a distinctly different styles on each side of the record, while showcasing development in his trademark synth-driven or soul-sampling production.
His debut LP for Definitive Jux, DJ/producer RJD2's DEAD RINGER is a deeply creative and musically poignant hip-hop record for summer 2002. Creating a raging underground listenership from a series of 45s and white labels and being the only non-MC signed to Def Jux, RJD2's talent as a DJ and as producer, to match beats and lay cult/pop gems over dusty soul tracks, is paralleled only by people like DJ Shadow and Z-Trip. However, his ability to record and marry MCs to his primarily instrumental and sample-based style is evidenced in outstanding tracks with Copywrite and Blueprint as well as his legacy with the MHz crew; at the end of the day that puts our man from Ohio ahead of his primarily one-dimensional peer group. This set will stand out as monumental for Definitive Jux, who with their first record outside of the New York MC box continues to stride toward really being definitive in their roster and catalog of independent hip-hop.
L.A. producer, Mndsgn’s most recent project, Breatharian, gets the official re-issue treatment via the newly formed Fresh Selects label. The rising instrumentalist - best known for his work with the likes of Danny Brown, Jonwayne, Sonnymoon, Blu, Knxwledge, and more - sees his first retail release in over 4 years and has pulled out all the stops for the occasion. A diverse, conceptual beat tape that takes a varied approach into exploring the strange phenomenon known as “breatharianism” - the project made waves when it first dropped last summer and has now been professionally mixed, mastered, and pressed to vinyl for the first time. Along with it are two new bonus beats, “Hiking” and “Bweyy” (featuring co-producer, Swarvy); the album also marks Mnd’s first ever official music video - in the form of two-fer, “Hiking” / “Fif Dim.
Donuts began simply enough as an idea to turn a particularly good demo beat tape into a full-length release, and has since became a classic hip-hop album, one of the defining works of the artist’s life. Completed during a year in which J Dilla spent mostly in a hospital bed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Donuts would gain particular poignancy when, only three days after it’s release, February 10, 2006, the artist passed away, losing his battle with a rare blood disease. Back late 2005 when Stones Throw was getting ready to release J Dilla’s Donuts, they made a casual decision to use a drawing for the cover of the 2LP vinyl release, rather than the standard cover photo of Dilla used for the other releases. But now here it is, better late than never: J Dilla’s classic album Donuts now released on vinyl with the smile on the cover. Cover & illustrations by Jeff Jank; photo of Dilla by Andrew Gura. Just a few months ago Stones Throw published a short back-story on the cover photo.