Miilkbone Kept It Real With Something Big L, Jay Z & Logic Could Feel (Video)
Perth Amboy, New Jersey’s claim to Hip-Hop fame lies in Miilkbone. Fans of 1990s Hip-Hop may recall the Naughty By Nature affiliate for his Capitol Records debut, Da’ Miilkrate. With production by N.B.N.’s KayGee as well as Nick Wiz (Cella Dwellas, Rakim, Skillz), the major label album struck the Rap charts in an effort to put the Garden State on the map.
At the arguable height of the sample-based production era, the single “Keep It Real” was a hit. Over Mufi’s piano line and drum programming, the MC born Thomas Wlodarczyk rocked wordplay with a gruff delivery—with deftly-edited AZ’s “Life’s A Bitch” lyrics serving as the chorus. The black-and-white visual featured Miilk’ flamboyantly delivering his lyrics in rough exteriors, sporting Naughty apparel.
The song urged artists to be themselves. In the lyrics, Miilk’ ran through his transgressions and street certification at a time when Hip-Hop’s space of white MCs was limited. 1995 was a time when Beastie Boys were stepping more towards their Rock & Roll and Punk roots, and 3rd Bass has disbanded. House Of Pain was another act that appeared to be bridging Rock with Rap, as were Lordz Of Brooklyn. For Miilkbone, the co-sign and the delivery were aimed to stand apart, especially as Rap’s first national act from Perth Amboy.
Notably, the beat would live on quickly, thanks to an iconic Jay Z and Big L February 1995 freestyle collaboration. Stretch & Bobbito would select Mufi’s track as the bed for the storied freestyle tandem from the Roc-A-Fella MC and the D.I.T.C. lyricist. Coincidentally, the rhyme style and meter of L, Jay, and Miilkbone are all similar, especially in those mid-1990s:
Approximately two decades later—Logic, another artist who would aim to redefine the image of a successful MC would take Mufi’s highest profile beat for his “Young Sinatra 3” video single. Like “Keep It Real,” this would be one of the MC’s most critical career vehicles, especially before his Def Jam Records deal:
Notably, Miilk’ was involved in a record battle with Eminem in the late 1990s. On breakthrough Aftermath Entertainment single, Em’ dissed Miilkbone (and a litany of other white MCs) on “Just Don’t Give A Fuck.” The October, 1998 single was cause for Miilk’ to respond on April, 1999’s “Presenting Miilkbone.” On the Death Row Top 15 charting Suge Knight Represents: Chronic 2000, Miilkbone’s song was included, alongside music by Scarface, Treach, Tha Dogg Pound, E-40, and DJ Quik. He did not release another song with the label. Today, Miilkbone remains close with former Eminem Outsidaz band-mate Pacewon.
#BonusBeat: In 2015, Miilkbone made an updated version of “Keep It Real” with a remixed, similar beat, alongside Ren Thomas & Skrewtape: