As an artist, music journalist, and all around connoisseur of sound, Rob Milton is always here for honoring the creatives who have helped shape his style and sound in his own words.
Here is a super short list of a few of the musical masterminds and their songs that I have studied over the years, and as I prepared to record my album Rebirth.
A Little Bette(R) – Gnarls Barkley
In the early 2000s the members of Gnarls Barkley joined forces solely for the purpose of changing my life. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. Both St. Elsewhere and The Odd Couple helped stretch my musical taste and helped shape the artist that I would eventually grow into in the future. While on Rebirth I re-recorded my own versions of “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul” and “Transformer,” this song specifically is my favorite thing these two have ever done and has been a staple in my listening life since it was released in 2008. CeeLo and Danger Mouse blended funk and alternative sounds in a way that I immediately found fascinating, but the message is what resonated with me most. It was a message drenched in pain, yet it was resilient. It was the most honest and transparent thing that I had ever heard. This song means the world to me. It’s the “Gonna Fly Now” to my Rocky.
M(O)re & More – Georgia Anne Muldrow & Bilal
Georgia Anne Muldrow and Bilal are rulers of the underground soul world. They both are individually musical super heroes in my book, so when they joined forces and went straight to church with this new aged hymn I could not turn it off. This is another song that I still play frequently. It’s unapologetically black and uplifting. It also showcases impeccable songwriting skill, the type that touches me the most. Muldrow’s work is constantly inspiring me and you can hear that in “Your Love (Holding On)” from Rebirth, as well as in many other songs that I have recorded in the past.
The (B)east – Fugees
There’s no denying the reign of the Fugees. Growing up both a child of hip-hop and a child of New Jersey, this trio felt like family and taught me so many lessons through their music and their journey. This untouchable hip-hop troupe is one of the inspirations behind the hip-hop-honoring song “Classic” on Rebirth. While both of their albums were filled with songs that have inspired me over the years, “The Beast” is one that is especially relevant now. Unfortunately not much has changed since this was recorded in 1995 and the police are still beating and killing our brothers and sisters. The beast is still loose. This song is what the heart of hip-hop is about, being a tool of resistance against inequalities.