Black Milk (his mom calls him Curtis Cross) isn't much for trends. Getting his start producing beats for Slum Village (which featured J Dilla in its ranks), he embraced eclecticism and shunned mainstream affectations (in a 2008 interview with XXL Magazine he started a campaign "FAT: Fuck Auto-Tune").
Mainstream success has never been much of a goal for Milk.
"Even if I wasn't getting paid to do it, I'd still be making beats," he says. "Of course, sometimes I might make a record or two that has a certain appeal to it, but for the most part I kinda make music for my ears, and luckily enough there's a lot of people who want to make that same kind of sound. I make what feels good to me."
Which isn't to say that people aren't taking notice of his work. Both as a producer and MC, his profile has been rising steadily. And he's not alone -- Danny Brown, his partner on 2011's Black and Brown, has been noticed by both critics and underground heads, thanks in no small part to Black Milk's funky, across-the-map beats and melodic showmanship.
Black Milk talked to Up on the Sun about his Detroit roots, working with Brown, and collaborating with Jack White on a single for Third Man Records.
Black Milk is scheduled to perform, Saturday, March 17, at Chasers in Scottsdale.