Ketchums x Metro Times x Black milk

On street corners and message boards around the world, rap fans have hailed 2008 as the year that Michigan’s underground hip-hop scene went “overground.” With some artists’ albums finding success on flagship indie labels (i.e., Guilty Simpson’s Ode to the Ghetto on Stones Throw Records and Buff1’s There’s Only One on A-Side Worldwide), others landing major label contracts (Big Sean preparing his debut under Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam), and both veterans and newbies getting a shot at receptive audiences, it finally looks like the work started by such deceased Motor City rap pioneers as James “J Dilla” Yancey and Deshaun “Proof” Holton are starting to pay off.

But it’s producer-emcee Black Milk (born Curtis Cross), who stands at the forefront of this movement. The 25-year-old — whose new disc, Tronic, hit stores last week — has placed beats with both superstars and indie staples. A number of artists have enlisted his cocksure flow as well.

“My number one responsibility is to be consistent with putting out great music,” Milk says. “As long as I can do that, everything else will take care of itself. And I feel like as long as I’m breathing, I’ll be able to supply that.”

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Shout outs: Black Milk, Hex Murda, Michelle