Black Milk on Working With Danny Brown and Jack White

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.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.