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Hip-hop artist and producer Black Milk on Shazam, smartphone tasking and wireless technology

Billy Steele

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Every week, a new and interesting human being tackles our decidedly geeky take on the Proustian Q&A. This is the Engadget Questionnaire.

In the latest installment of our collection of queries, hip-hop producer, MC and Detroit native Black Milk chats about wireless workspaces and the dangers of an unfettered iPhone. If you venture to the other side of the break, there you'll find the full rundown of answers.

What gadget do you depend on most?

Which do you look back upon most fondly?

Which company does the most to push the industry?
Macs are the standard in a lot of recording studios. Since I spend most of my time making music and on my iPhone, I'd have to go with Apple.

What is your operating system of choice?
I'm using OS X Mountain Lion on my laptop, but a way older version on my desktop. I am terrible when it comes to updates.

Which app do you depend on most?
My life revolves around music, so I use the basic Notes app on my iPhone to write song lyrics and for other things like grocery lists and to-do lists. I also use Shazam to ID songs I hear when I'm out and about. I like that it keeps a log of the songs, so I can go back to them later.

What traits do you most deplore in a smartphone?
A short battery life.

Which do you most admire?
I travel a lot, especially when I'm on tour or doing spot dates to promote a new album, so I like that I can do almost anything from my phone (like answer this questionnaire). Before smartphones, it was so much harder to do simple stuff like cutting and pasting text from one place to another. Cutting and pasting is underrated, haha.

"Before smartphones, it was so much harder to do simple stuff like cutting and pasting... Cutting and pasting is underrated."

What is your earliest gadget memory?
I had a pager back in the day.

What technological advancement do you most admire?
Wireless technology. I have a simple setup to make music, but there are still cords running all over the studio. Anything that can run wirelessly helps to clear the space and makes things feel more organized.

When has your smartphone been of the most help?
When I need to record an idea or melody for a song or beat that pops in my head. I'll immediately go to my "voice memo" app and record it. That happens almost every day.

"I don't like to put a case on my iPhone... The downside is that at least once a year, I'll drop the phone so hard that the screen or back will shatter."

If you could change one thing about your phone what would it be?
Better battery life and an exterior that doesn't shatter when dropped. I don't like to put a case on my iPhone. It's lighter and better looking without a case. The downside is that at least once a year, I'll drop the phone so hard that the screen or back will shatter. I actually dropped it at SXSW this year and still haven't gotten it fixed.

What does being connected mean to you?
Being aware of and knowing how to take full advantage of the information available on the internet and using that information one way or another to benefit your life on a daily basis.

When are you least likely to reply to an email?
If a person doesn't text my phone to let me know they've sent me an email, it will take me a few days to even see it in my inbox. I'm terrible at checking my email on a regular basis. Also, if the email is long, I'm probably going to put it off.

When did you last disconnect?
I somewhat disconnect at some point of the day every day. I'm so focused on my music that I will go hours without looking at my phone or the internet. I won't tweet for a month. It might not sound like a long time, but when some people can't go even 10 minutes without looking at their phones, a month without tweeting is an eternity. In terms of a more long-term disconnection, I'd say that occurred in 2011 after my last solo album came out. I had to disconnect from the industry and put myself in a bubble to perfect my craft.

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