It's been common for critics to refer to Curtis Cross as an heir apparent to J Dilla, the most recognizable precedent for Detroit producer/MCs with an ear for low-end, sample-chopping alchemy. It doesn't hurt that Black Milk reps Motor City's sense of civic pride so faithfully that acknowledging the influence of Dilla and his group Slum Village is a given. But he's never been content to simply pay homage to influences; he builds on them, as revealed in the mutation from the golden age classicism of 2007's Popular Demand to the funk-gone-digital thump of 2008's Tronic to the psychedelic soul of 2010's Album of the Year. It's this kind of adventurousness that built him up to the point last year where he could do his thing with manic genius spitter Danny Brown (Black and Brown), then head over to Third Man and record live-band sessions with Jack White ("Brain"). He respects his precedents, but Black Milk knows how to do his own thing—and it turns out his own thing is anything. With the Tribe and Big Cats, J. Pinder and A.Dd+. 18+.
Wed., March 28, 8 p.m., 2012