Milwaukee’s roots party rapper Kid Millions has a new record out. "Kid Millions & The Sounds of Time," made with local musician and producer Sage Schwarm (Codebreaker) has eight body rockin’ tunes that harken back to the early days of hip-hop when a slinky bassline and delicious synth blerps provided a foundation for creative rhymes.
We caught up with the Kid to ask him about the music on the new record, the disc’s visual tribute to original lyrical gangstas Simon & Garfunkel and the state of hip-hop in Milwaukee...
OnMilwaukee.com: Tell me a bit about the idea behind the title "Sound of Time" and of riffing on the "Sounds of Silence" sleeve design.
Kid Millions: Sage I decided to do a full record together about six months back and both felt the need come up with a group name and "Sounds Of Time" was the first name that stuck so we just went with it! As far as the CD design goes, we had about two days to put it together, so Sage had the idea of the Simon & Garfunkel spoof. Plus cutting and pasting our oversized heads on anything is cool with me!
OMC: Did you guys do one-potato-two-potato or something to determine who got to be the new face of Paul Simon?
KM: No need for coins or Rock, Paper, Scissors on this one! We just stuck with our natural hair colors.
OMC: I love the party vibe of your records, which really reference what for many was the classic era of hip-hop. Do you think hip-hop today is missing that kind of almost innocent, good-time spirit?
KM: I think that good time feel is important with every style of music out there but especially in hip-hop! Plus after making "Victim To The Beat" and having such great results it made me wanna repeat the process over and over. That being said I don't think that feel good element is missing, it's just buried along with other great songs being made every hour of every day.
OMC: Do you have a favorite tune on the record?
KM: Right now my favorite song is "Shake The Ground" because it captures that early ‘80s boogie sound with old school hip-hop. Also Sage's wicked guitar solo at the end kills!
OMC: Maybe this is a loaded question or one that's too ungainly to answer easily, but what's your take on the state of hip-hop in Milwaukee these days?
KM: I think Milwaukee has some really talented artists here in the city but not enough of a support system or real fans. The last time I felt really inspired locally is when I saw the House Of M and The Rusty P's rocking Stonefly at Capacity back around 2007.
Hopefully some younger kids will come along and breathe some fresh air into this scene real soon. Also someone please open another decent all ages venue in town because that's the real problem.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.