Danny Brown is a rapper, but he is one that possess the versatility to reach farther than just hip-hop fans. Brown released XXX in August 15, 2011, solidifying himself as a force to be rockin' with. He engaged his listeners with comedy, unabashed lyrics, quirk, and all out insanity.
Brown emerged from the streets of Detroit with much to say, and encouraged listeners to push boundaries with his gritty, distinctive sound. The underground mc/rap weirdo image often pigeonholes rappers, but Brown has found a way to use those stereotypes to his advantage. Riding high off his European tours and the start of his “2 High To Die” joint North American tour with Action Bronson, Brown happens to find another voice in his follow-up album Old.
At 32, Brown has already reached a pinnacle in his career, where showcasing verbal skills could sustain him in the rap world, not only an entertaining lyricist, but as a talented one. His penchant for “turnt up” activities, drugs, and women take a bit of a back seat on some of the new album. His expansive musical knowledge shines through as he raps about his upbringing, the “fields” of Detroit, and his former life on the streets. Brown also delves deep- touching on subjects like poverty within his own family and becoming introspective on other tracks discussing the wide comparisons of his life then and now.
However, Brown has two sides to the album. While Side A focuses on a range of deeper issues, Side B stays true to Brown’s debut personality with hype songs on drugs, sex, and partying. On Side A, Danny Brown explains that he is misunderstood; “Return of the gangster, fucked that hipster, squeeze the trigger/You got me fucked up, I’m a hood-ass nigga,” while Side B pumps up the party; “I don’t know what y’all be thinking/ smoking,drinking,drinking,smoking/in that order we slow motion/’til it’s over, never stop.” Brown talks about being too fucked up to visit his daughter (sad) and spews back to back twerk anthems in the same breath.
Old is multifaceted, not only lyrically, but musically. Snares sputter, percussive sounds build, and deep basslines drop throughout the entire project. At 19 songs, listeners hear a complete and complex compilation of music. The conclusion; Danny Brown may be a lot of things, but boring is certainly not one of them.