Album Of The Week Review :: Danny Brown ‘Old’
October 17th 2013
Danny Brown doesn’t care what you think.
He loves flashing his toothless grin at you as much as he loves rapping about cunnlingus and drug abuse at his distinctively high pitch.
After three lengthy albums in three years and features with almost every upcoming rapper across the States, Brown’s new album, Old, sees the Detroit rapper assuming as many personas as the 18 full songs that fill the record.
Representing an entire cast of characters over the record, Danny Brown is a hipster, a father, a former drug dealer, a party icon and a true poet.
Brown has no time for interludes or sticking to any genre, voice or subject. He is too busy filling his tracks with more musical ideas than almost anyone in the rap game. The variation of Brown’s voice is so significant you are left wondering if the high-pitched voice in the twerk anthems ‘Dip’ and ‘Dope Song’ could really be the same as the composed baritone in the pour-your-heart-out confessionals, ‘Clean Up’ and ‘Lonely’.
He’s certainly not lonely on this record, with features and production from the likes of A$AP Rocky, Purity Ring, Charli XCX, Freddie Gibbs, Schoolboy Q, Rustie, A-Trak, and SKYWLKR.
Compare the molly inspired club banger ‘Dip’ with the heartfelt confessional ‘Clean Up,’ and tell me it’s the same guy rapping:
Side A of the album is the composed Danny Brown, revealing a serious side to the otherwise unrestrained character. It starts reasonably hard, but come Side B it is solid 140BPM techno inspired party rap. You’d normally expect things the other way around, so you feel for the guy, as if you’ve become his mother watching him ignore his issues only to party harder.
Despite the title, Old, and tracks like ‘The Return’ indicating a “return to the gangsta”, many things suggest a new direction for Brown. ‘Dope Song’ has Brown revealing that it is “not my last dope song, but my last dope song”- the last drug influenced song, but certainly not his last epic song. In ‘Clean Up’ he reveals his disppointment in himself for taking too many drugs to see his daughter, and in ‘Lonely’ he reveals that, “nobody really knows me.” None of this means you still don’t still want to party with the guy.
Always quick to capitalise on the growing trends, Latin beats and increasingly electronic production results in Diplo-inspired twerk anthems like ‘Dip’ ‘Break it’ and ‘Handstand’ that are clearly aimed for the dancefloor. Old is both faster and slower than Brown’s previous albums, suggesting we’ve only cracked the surface of Danny Brown’s many personas.
Old is out now. FBi’s album of the week: 11.10.13 – 18.10.13
WHAT :: St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival
WHO :: Danny Brown, Earl Sweatshirt, Run The Jewels (and that’s just the hip hop contingency…)
WHERE :: Sydney College of Arts, Rozelle
WHEN :: Sunday 2nd February 2014
HOW MUCH :: $150 + bf from Laneway’s website