If you’ve even heard of Danny Brown (pictured above) there comes a point where you become compelled enough by his image alone to give him a listen. From what I first heard of the Detroit rapper, I discounted him to a degree based on the sheer ridiculousness of his voice. Not to mention all I thought he rapped about was his “bonah”.
When I heard about Brown’s new album though, I thought I’d give it a listen to see how he was able to expand his craft (something I thought would get old fast) to 19 songs. What I heard blew me away. Brown not only works schizophrenically between various vocal personas, but the beats he raps over vary just as much.
Fortunately for me, I’ve already written about this album for EMMIE Magazine, and I’d like to quote myself to more easily give detail to my thoughts:
“At the album’s beginning, my original impression of Brown immediately melted away. I was struck by the gravity of his voice. From “Side A [Old]” through “25 Bucks”, Brown sets the tone for the first half of the album. Unique instrumentals and a mostly settled Brown make the rapper come off as focused and finessed. By the time you get to “Side B [Dope Song]”, you are actually yearning for the ‘turnt up’ Danny Brown, and he does not disappoint. “[Dope Song]” and “Dip” are absolute bangers worthy of any rager’s playlist. The instrumentals on the second half of the album are influenced highly by trap and modern hip hop , and inherently not as compelling as the instrumentals from the first half. That being said, each song averages between two and a half to three minutes in length, so even the trap-based tracks are not overwhelming.
The lyrical content is equally diverse as the instrumentals and flow of the album. Topics range from hood life and being around dope fiends to the ‘typical’ popping Molly, selling drugs, and promiscuous women. Regardless of the song, Brown still drops ludicrous lines involving peanut butter, pitbulls, “rolling like Lieutenant Dan,” and the post-secondary education of 2chainz. Needless to say, they make the album all the more entertaining.”
I love the double album feel of Old, giving me two musical experiences within one project. Usually when I’ve listened to a band who’s released a double album (2CDs worth of content in one package) the music doesn’t feel too different from CD to CD, so hearing Brown’s version of a “double album” is refreshing. In addition, Old’s beats have that similar Altoid swag, keeping hip hop alive in its own right. Even if you’re not a fan of rap, you respect Brown for the stories he tells through his album, and you know he’s been on a grind to get to where he is today. As spectators (of anything) we are naturally attracted to great stories and unique personas. Both of these elements are present in Danny Brown and his music, and combined with the great sounding music on his latest album, it’s a no-brainer that his latest project is one of my favorite projects of the year.
I’d love to hear all of you favorite albums from the year (and why) as well. Feel free to hit me up in the comments below or @AndrewMackens on Twitter. Stay tuned for albums #2 and #1 over the next couple of days.