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  • Release Date 2014-06-02
  • Label BBE
  • Catalog BBE243ACD
At the end of the hip hop classic 8 Mile, trailer trash lead character B-Rabbit, played by Eminem, wins the movie's final freestyle battle by exposing arch nemesis Papa Doc's (or Clarence as his doting parents called him) middle class roots. An attack on his cred regardless of his skills - after all Papa Doc was reigning champ - as a rapper. A knockout blow that left 8 Mile's villain, who had concealed his comparatively affluent upbringing, unable to respond. But it couldn't have been an easy road for Clarence either. Building a reputation, despite your background, is challenging no matter which side of the street you walk on. Something 21 year old rap hotshot Millz knows all about. "When I first moved down to the (inner city) Bleecker neighbourhood in Toronto I was only seventeen, but straightaway I had to learn how to box." Remembers Millz aka Brampton born Ryan Jamaal Brooks, whose upbringing - which he has never hidden - immediately became an issue for some local Bleeckers' residents. "I'd tell them where I was from and they'd look at me differently, like I thought I was better or something. I had a couple problems and got into fights with people down there who felt like I didn't belong. But I got to integrate into that situation. It changed me." With studio time on tap back at his local school in the 'burbs, just west of Toronto, Millz had already been honing his craft as a producer, rapper and songwriter. But when the time came, he knew he had to leave to get to the next level. "I was in a group called Lights Out, we had all acc to the studio but our image was tacky. I'm not tryin' to hurt feelings, but all they wanted to do was covers and act like everyone else. I needed to branch off and do my own thing. I'm more of an original." Encouraged by family and friends, Millz (so named after the amount of loonies - Canadian dollars - Brooks is aspiring to earn, i.e. millions ... plural) left for the centre of Canada's largest city - T.Dot, armed with several tracks, and a mixtape in development. Not that it happened overnight (it never does); following hardwork Millz got his shot and signed a record deal with Nova Music Group - over 4 years of hustle and flow to turn lights out to a new dawn.
The result is Dopamine: A Vivid Dream, Millz debut deftly marriying honest, seductive word play with spaced out synths and electro drums. Collaborating in the studio with a slew of beatsmiths on the come up, namely Solheir (Getting' Gone), Mister Mista (Epiphany), O'Neil (the outstanding Yonge Street), 2nd Sun (Dope) & Millz hisself showing versatility (Slow Sex), with the lionshare contributed by the award winning Slakah The Beatchild, who mixed the record in its entirety at his Scarborough studio. The hook up with Beatchild was easy, being label mates n' all. "First time I met Slak, at lunch, he gave me five more beats to help put the mixtape over the edge, but it soon became apparent that an album was emerging."Slakah's collaborations such as the haunting Her and Ain't Gettin' Nothing - with jazzy soul singer Geneva giving good hook - combining memorable, catchy lines and Ladera Heights angst, have Millz freestyling tracks raw, before hours spent finessing. But with Lessons, the centrepiece of the album, the words were born first, and then laced with beats by Beatchild. "I recorded Lessons on my birthday and I was humbled to be working with Slakah, so I brought my Dad along. The end part of that song, Slakah created on the fly in the studio and I just started freestylin' - we didn't premeditate doing that. It just came about and I can't top that moment, working with Slakah and doing what I love. Working on the track Rap Sessions with Slak, brought out something in my voice - more power. I don't hold back on these songs, so I hope the messages get through and touch people." It's not just arousal of the conscious mind that Millz is hoping to touch with Dopamine: A Vivid Dream. As song titles The Climax, Epiphany & Slow Sex will confirm. Tracks Millz old man would have heard during the playback at Slakah's studio. "My Dad heard Slow Sex." Millz admits, "the way music is nowadays, there's a lot more acceptance in what we say or what we do, so I guess he'll just have to live with it." He laughs, before adding; "Music is art, what comes to you is what you share with the people right? But it was still a little bit awkward." And besides, the ladies love cool Jamaal - so Millz is not about to edit his experiences for the sake of playing it safe. "The things that I say in these songs are my real life/my reality. Experiences I wanted to share, including love. Love is a concept that's universal. Everybody has the capability to love, so all the tracks about girls, men can relate. Girls too can flip it and understand where I'm coming from." Whether living in Brampton or Bleecker, the main lesson Millz has learnt in life, he says, is to just be himself.

Release

Dopamine - A Vivid Dream

  • Millz
  • Release Date 2014-06-02
  • Label BBE
  • Catalog BBE243ACD
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