featured interview

Milk Dee Top billin' No need to introduce the original arrogant rapper, one half of Audio Two, half brother of MC Lyte and co-founder of the legendary First Priority Music label. After his 1994 EP 'Never Dated' and besides some production features, it remained kinda quiet around this Brooklyn native, but now MC Milk Dee is back.with the First Priority family right behind him.

Wassup Milk Dee, it's been a long time.

Yes, it has been a while.

Are we gonna see you recording an album real soon?

I just recently got inspired to record a new album, so it's in the works.

That's great news. You somehow 'resurrected' on Eamon's 'I Don't Want You Back' album a few years ago, how did you get down with him?

I met Eamon in the studio while I was working on a Janet Jackson remix. He was 15 then.

What else did you do between your last album 'Never Dated' and today?

Since my last EP 'Never Dated', I've been very busy in the studio producing and on the road performing. Eamon's 'I Don't Want You Back' was a major hit for us, it sold six million. We also had a big hit with our artist Jason Downs, 'White boy with a feather'. I worked on a few movie scores including 'Hell's Kitchen' starring Angelina Jolie, Mekhi Phifer, Rosanna Arquette and William Forsythe. And I achieved my greatest accomplishment; my two wonderful daughters Song and Sachi.

So is the infamous First Priority label still in effect?

It's still in full effect and we have big things coming in the New Year!

FPM is all about R&B now?

First Priority Music is all about the music, we release music of all types. What ever we think is hot but our foundation is hip-hop of course.

Is the music label still a family business?

Yes, my Father Nat Robinson is still our leader.

Who started First Priority and why?

We started FPM as a family because of the need to get our music out, and pushed with complete faith without the usual record company politics and BS.

You're the half brother of MC Lyte, how much do you owe her as for your career?

I feel like we owe each other as well as FPM a great deal for everything we've accomplished and will accomplish in our careers, thanks MC & FPM!

Except for 'Basement Flavor', there never came a real (or next) First Priority crew album. How come?

I really don't know why we didn't do another crew album. Maybe 'Basement Flavor Two' will come in the future.

The album was recently re-issued.?

All of the FPM albums have been re-issued through different licenses over the years.

You have the unreleased 'First Dead Indian' on DAT, have you bought a DAT machine already to put it out on CD sometime in other words are there plans on re-issuing the album?

'First Dead Indian' as well as other previously unreleased music will be available for free downloads on our website firstprioritymusic.com, which is currently under construction.

Now; let's go back in time a bit for some essential history; 'First Dead Indian' was supposed to come out through Atlantic, but there was a problem with them right?

Yes, 'First Dead Indian' was supposed to come out through Atlantic.

But what exactly happened?

I feel like it wasn't commercial enough or maybe too creative for a major label.

You've always been considered thé original brat rapper, and have - in that way - always been influencing a large amount of young emcees. Were you already aware of the influence you had in your early Audio Two days?

I wasn't really aware of the influence in the early days, but as time went on I began to notice a lot of emcees with Milk Dee traits. It really became obvious by the insane amounts of sample requests I receive. It's a great feeling to know your work is appreciated and has helped to mould the course of hip-hop and music in general.

The design for and prints on the clothing you were wearing on the Audio Two albums are incredible. Who the hell created that?

Thanks, the sweatshirts as well as the backdrop where created by The Shirt Kings. Right now, we're in the process of donating them to the National Museum of American History for an upcoming hip-hop exhibit.

Never thought of commercializing the Audio Two clothing?

A small line of FPM gear is part of what will be available on our new website.

Ha! Cool! Please give me an XL on those.

You guys will absolutely be getting XL.

(laughs gratefully)

As producers, Audio Two is maybe less known but you did crazy stuff, on the Barsha album for instance, how did you get with Barsha and what do you remember of the recording sessions?


I met Bar in High School, you know lunchroom table rhyming. He was a nice fit with the FPM fam. The recording sessions were just like the rest of the FPM sessions a lot of fun and no stress. He was a funny and talented artist!

What's Barsha up to these days?

I don't know what Bar is up to. I haven't seen or heard from him in years, maybe 15 or so years.

What equipment did you use back in the days?

First let me say I'm an equipment junkie. I think I've had everything that ever came out to this day. Back then I used the SP12, Akai S950, which I still have, Tascam 8-track and Shure 58 mics.

Talking about producing, what's the King Of Chill up to these days?

King Of Chill is doing well producing and working with Premier. I speak to him every now and again.

The UBC was signed to First Priority but their album never came out on the label, what happened there? They tried to diss you on their 'Burning Bridges' record right?

All I remember about UBC is they never seemed to fit in with The FPM Fam. As far as dissing us, I never heard it; I guess it didn't have any impact.

Your 'Never Dated' album was released with Rick Ruben's American Recordings.

'Never Dated' was released on American/First Priority Music, it was a joint venture thing. It was great working with Rick, I always admired him because he wasn't scared to release what he thought was hot and has great success with that. I would like to think that's what I do.

I always liked the little detail on the 'Never Dated' album cover where the capsule of the milk bottle says 'all fat'. Who came up with that?

The whole concept of American was creative, we all worked together on everything,Rick, Dan, The Art Dept, Marketing, etc...

'Never dated' got a lil' overlooked, although it's real tight. How come people often don't seem to find the way to that EP?

I think 'Never Dated' is like most of my stuff, ahead of its time. I will say these days I'm finding out more and more that it's an underground classic, and that's hot.

Do you still listen to rap a lot?

As always, I like anything that's sick and unique. I will say it's hard to find creative, innovative hip-hop these days, what happen to scratching?

Actually, what was the first rap record you made?

My first record came out in 1984 it was called 'A Christmas Rhyme'.

Do you listen to records of yourselves or other First Priority records?

I listen to my stuff and FPM stuff all the time.

Which records released on First Priority are you most proud of?

I'm proud of all of our releases especially considering the times. Some of my favourites are 'Top Billin'', 'I Cram to Understand U', 'The Questions', 'Shut The Eff Up'.

Please comment on the following:

The Alliance

Unrecognized hip-hop pioneers and King of Chill is the most underrated producer, lots of heat!

Kings of Swing

They had a bigger hit than people know.

The Beastie Boys

The Beasties rock, it was an honor working with Ad Rock on 'Never Dated'!

Positive-K

Highly underrated.

Soul Shock

An ill DJ, great producer and nice guy.


What's next for Milk Dee?

Everything.

Thanks a lot!

 

POSTED 12|01|2009
conducted by cpf

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