The future of hip hop? 

Pique talks shop with Black Milk, a musician on the front lines of the modern hip hop movement


Who: Black Milk

When: Thursday, Nov. 11, 9 p.m.

Where: Moe Joe's

Cost: $10

Curtis Cross is better known to legions of hip hop fans as Black Milk, a major emerging force on the 21 st century underground scene. Hailing from Detroit, the 26-year-old musician has earned his stripes through his work with Slum Village and has become a go-to beats producer in the process, working with Kidz in the Hall, Guilty Simpson, Strange Fruit Project and Genius/GZA, as well as major label artists like Pharoahe Monch, Kardinal Offishall and Busta Rhymes.

But he's also been busy making his own music, releasing his latest project, Album of the Year , in September 2010. He's currently touring on that album, and is set to roll into Whistler for a show at Moe Joe's on Thursday, Nov. 11. Pique caught up with him in Europe via e-mail for a quick Q&A. Here's what he had to say:

Pique : How is the whole European tour going, so far?

C.C.: The crowds were great everywhere, but probably the most memorable shows were in Jazz Cafe in London and Elysee Montmartre in Paris. Those are historic venues that I played for the first time and we had packed houses in both of those spots.

Pique : Do you find that European audiences respond in a different way to your sound and lyrical content?

C.C.: The European audiences have a deep appreciation for American hip hop, so they're enthusiastic to see me perform. When they see the show that I'm bringing with AB and Daru Jones, their appreciation and enthusiasm is that much stronger.

Pique : You're from Detroit, a city that has such strong roots in the world of hip hop. Do you think your culture and environment have helped to fundamentally shape your musicality?

C.C.: I'm proud that I'm from the city with one of the richest music histories in the world. There were all the great soul artists on Motown, and then with the hip hop scene with artists like Eminem and Slum Village. There's a lot of different vibes around here, too, because it's such a blue-collar city. It's not like New York or LA or those major markets at all. It's kinda grey, kinda grimy. That naturally brings the dirty element to the music.

Pique : It also sounds like you have had some incredible mentors that have helped you get into the profession, like Baatin of Slum Village. What influence have people like Baatin had on your approach to the industry and the music you make?

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