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Phonte Gets Poignantly Vulnerable On Black Milk’s “No Wish”

The rap veteran offers a masterclass in lyrical ingenuity on the cut from Black Milk’s new album, ‘Everybody Good?’

Black Milk beat the Friday rush with the July 19 release of his eighth studio album, Everybody Good? The 12-track project is yet another display of Black Milk’s polished penmanship and production virtuoso. One of the standout tracks is “No Wish” with Raphael Saadiq and Phonte. The Detroit producer-MC scored nine of the 12 tracks on Everybody Good?, but “No Wish” was produced by Raphael Saadiq, who also sings on the chorus. 

“No Wish” begins with drums that resemble a steady heartbeat while Saadiq croons, “Wish that I…” setting an urgent tone for the lyrical excavation to follow. Black Milk starts the track off by culling his psyche and echoing our sentiments by rhyming, “wish the love ones that was lost had more breaths to breathe.” It’s a solid leadoff 16 that orients the track in pensiveness that Phonte follows.

The revered wordsmith immediately paints a picture of a six-year-old who had inappropriate contact with an older neighbor. “A kiss I gave her, lips filled with the artificial flavors of candy that we shared / Cherry Now and Laters made our tongues red,” he rhymes, coating his verse with visuals like a great novelist. But he’s no New York Times best-seller; he’s just Pastor Tigallo, an all-time rap great. Phonte scrutinizes the permutations of the incident, including seeking solace by writing and lamenting the friends who “leave me all alone with new feelings I’m confronted with.”

“With some acknowledgment, I coulda got in front of it / To keep my wife and kids from bearing the brunt of it,” he rhymes, speaking to the weight that childhood trauma has on adults. In this case, he rhymes about a man contending with the swirl of anger, confusion, and shame around abuse that often manifests in adult dysfunction. 


In February, Phonte talked to us about what so-called “grown man rap” meant to him. He said, “The title is whatever. I think it speaks to a need to create spaces where you can grow older in this genre and still serve that audience that is willing to pay money to see you.” He went on to call it a “beautiful” thing that artists in their 40s and 50s are connecting directly to their generational counterparts.

His verse on “No Wish” speaks to other 44-year-old men who may be mulling the same confusion he rhymed about. Child abuse is a too-common societal scourge. But it’s on all of us to heal the traumas we faced in yesteryear in order to foster a better tomorrow for our families, and part of that process begins with exploring the taboo like Phonte did — even if you can’t do it in an impeccably crafted rap verse that ends with reaffirming your lyrical supremacy.

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