Mils The "AND" Album

Prairie producer Mils takes a big risk, possibly alienating his listeners by opening his debut album with hip-hop’s most hated rap nerd Paul Barman, despite an appealing selection of hand-picked emcees on hand, including Luckyiam.PSC and Scarub of Living Legends, Pigeon John of LA Symphony, Big Dro and HellnBack of Rezofficial, and Mils’ own sister, Eekwol. Still, Barman’s geeky rant to the haters has just enough swagger to pull off "Jealous & Scared.” Of course, the production helps here, as it does throughout, whether the songs end up being hater-bashing braggadocio or down-to-earth introspection. Mils creates dark, sombre productions that are odd but catchy, touching on everything from mellow slow jams to dance floor grooves and hyphy. By de-tuning or re-tuning the piano and string samples, he ends up with a uniquely sick and skewed sound, at times getting the piano to verge on sounding like steel drums. While Mils presents a cohesive and creative compilation debut with The "AND” Album, it just can’t live up to the preposterous hype of his bloated bio. It will get Mils more work, though. (Independent)