Windbreaker XL by Milc & Andy Savoie
Hip Hop has had an undeniable influence on the world. It's no surprise that it's reach has inspired people worldwide to try their hand at making their own Hip Hop projects. Portland isn't as far away as the Ukraine or South Korea but it can feel equally as distant because it's not a place one thinks of first when it's time to go down the list of Hip Hop cities. Reminds me of LL Cool J as God in the movie In Too Deep. One of my favorite lines is when he tells the undercover J. Ried, "I didn't know they was getting money in Akron." Well I didn't know they was rapping like this in Portland. Low key the city has cultivated a formidable and prolific community of MCs and producers and they've been really busy lately.
The subjects of this review include one of Portland's finest MCs Milc, and Seattle based producer Andy Savoie. Their latest project Windbreaker XL, is actually an extended version of the Windbreaker EP which released in March. It includes 5 new songs making it a full length project. The EP was a nice enough meal but the extra tracks are like that plate a good host packs for you to take home so you can continue the experience. The Bandcamp page says the bonus songs were pulled from the original album sessions but they don't feel like throwaways.
Milc definitely doesn't come across as the kind of rapper that's about wasting bars. Each line in his laid back, effortless, stream of consciousness flow feels like it matters. He's got bars that emphasize the slick talk, blended with some of that good ole street talk. He's definitely had some experience with the shadier side of his city.
Windbreaker XL is a mostly mellow, but driven affair with Andy Savoie's lush production providing the perfect backdrop for Milc's observations, bravado, and razor sharp wit. Milc brings along some friends like Blu, Greg Cypher, and Soop Dread to give you an even broader picture of what's happening in Portland. "Citgo" is the posse cut that welcomes more of his fellow MCs like Chima The Stubborn, C'estla, and Farnell Newton who all take turns spilling over a beat that bounces effortlessly between a hard charging main and the smoothest jazz horns on the chorus. Perhaps my favorite offering on the project is the aggressive "Blue Faces." Milc is in his bag as he rides this beat and humble brags with the utmost confidence. It's a shift of tone from the rest of the project but it's interesting because Milc doesn't hurry his flow to match it, he just finds his space and gives it to you just as laid back and as easy as he does on the rest of the album. He's like a sinister surgeon with words as he matter of factly, delivers lines like:
"Life is foul, I tried being a righteous child But the evils come out when I write shit down I don't need a piece of the pie, just need a piece of mine Everytime they increase the rent, we increase the crime"
Technically this is Milc's 3rd project in the last 12 months if you count the two Windbreaker drops as one, and he shows no sign of slowing down. In my experience this can be a magical time for artists who are putting in this kind of effort back to back. Windbreaker XL is good but I think Milc has a few more gears he can hit and I'll definitely be checking for future releases.
Released July 22, 2022 https://smarturl.it/windbreakerxl