GENRES: Hip-Hop, Abstract Hip-Hop, Underground Hip-Hop
TOP TRACKS: Side A (Old), The Return, 25 Bucks, Gremlins, Dope Fiend Rental, Torture, Lonely, Dubstep, Dip, Kush Coma
Danny Brown is a Detroit Rapper who released a kick-ass project in 2011 entitled XXX. This project was incredibly dark, diverse and unpredictable. Danny Brown is known for that crazy sounding voice and his incredibly weird personality. In fact, he might be the strangest rapping personality that I can think of. However, I enjoyed this tape a lot because the beats were so awesome and varied. Some of them sounded electronic and futuristic while others were really classic and then some of them were trap influenced. The type of production really varied on whether or not Danny Brown would embody his crazy personality or his twisted, introspective persona. Both of them are really interesting to me and as a result, I really love Danny Brown's music.
With the release of his third record, Old, Danny is backed to his drugged out rapping which is almost psychedelically influenced in how strangely "out there" it is. It's much more complex than it comes out. Underneath the goofy voice, strange haircut, and drugged out personality, Danny Brown's actually a really smart guy. This album requires more than one listen for sure. It doesn't really stick right away. It's not something that's easily accessible and if you're looking for that kind of listen, then you should probably stay far away from this kind of music.
For example, the cliche production and pretty over the top hook on "25 Buck" was really annoying to me at first, but after a few times of hearing it I actually really enjoyed Danny Brown's raps and wordplay. He's a very capable MC for sure. People may be fooled on tracks like "Wonderbread" and "Red 2 Go" on which he's pretty nonsensical and the production actually fits that mood as well.
The really amazing tracks on Old actually pretty much come consecutively on the album which is a bit strange. It starts with "Gremlin" where Danny Brown dials it down and becomes a serious MC proving he can really spit in the conventional way as well even though he really doesn't need to. The beats on that track are amazing to listen to as well. Then of course is "Dope Fiend Rental". Wow. What an explosive. fucking. beat. Danny Brown and special guest Schoolboy Q are really intense on the track and the production really brings the best out of both of them. I'm not even really that much of a fan of Schoolboy but it's still incredible.
Then come some of the tracks where Danny Brown is actually really serious and dark. He provides insight into his life on both "Torture" where he talks about some of the terrible things he has seen in his past, and "Lonely" where he talks about his family past. This is all really unexpected from Danny Brown but very emotional. It adds yet another layer to his strong rapping ability that's really helpful when relating to him as a human being.
The second half of this album is good news for people who entertained by the crazy Danny Brown because he shows up pretty regularly throughout this half. From the outlandishness of tracks like "Side B (Dope Song)", "Handstand", "Break it" and many others, Danny Brown is really nuts on some of these. His signature voice is back and his personality talking about sex, drugs and drinking is as lively as ever. The transformation from Side A to Side B is really noticeable. A more serious and direct Danny Brown turns into a very outlandish Danny Brown. I think it was well done and very interesting.
Some of the features on the album weren't that great apart from Schoolboy Q. Ab-Soul and A$AP Rocky were really average, but it wasn't too much of a problem in terms of the overall record because this album is pretty much all about Danny Brown. The record is really great. Honestly. I've heard only a few rap records better than it this year so far. It's so interesting and raw to me. I definitely recommend this record to anyone who's looking for a challenging listen that takes a bit to understand, but the payoff is definitely strong.