Thursday, October 3, 2013

Danny Brown- Old

I'll be honest, i never got into Danny Brown's music because his voice was too much for me to take. However, i did like the stuff of his that i did check out like Grown Up and his feature on Terrorist Threats. Those two tracks were really the only Danny ones that i ever listened to and that was it. It seemed i liked him more for his interviews than his music because he seemed like a funny ass dude who was genuine in everything he said no matter how outrageous it was. For real though, if you need a laugh just go watch a Danny Brown interview on youtube. Then i heard him on E-40's All My Niggas track and i had to do sort of a re-evaluation on his music because his verse was that sick. I didn't get crazy with it but i did check out Blunt After Blunt (directed by ASAP Rocky). I was like cool, let me check out his mixtape XXX. I knew that was considered one of the best mixtapes of 2011 and i always meaned to get around to it but just never did. SO i finally checked it out and my assumptions about Danny were completely wrong. He wasn't just some party rap dude (although i should have picked that up from listening to Grown Up and Terrorist Threats) but he was a man with a story to tell and he told it the way he wanted to. I always got respect for people who not only do things their way but are successful at it too. If you haven't checked out XXX, check that out. Well listening to that got me anticipating his album, Old, which is what i will be reviewing if you haven't figured that out. I went in with some expectations so let's see if they were met.

You'll notice as you listen to the album and look at the tracklisting that it is split into two parts: Side A and Side B. The first half is Danny rapping more over traditional hip hop Detroit style beats. This is reminiscent of XXX because he is telling stories here. Danny is letting us into his mind and his life. If this is your first listen of Danny, it most likely is a shock to the system especially if all you know about him is the stories you hear about him or the interviews you watch or read about him. We here a theme beginning in the first track of the album that obviously has been bugging Danny ever since he blew up after XXX. He is pretty much venting that too many people want the "old Danny Brown" back meaning they want the underground rapper who spits lyric after lyric, bar after bar. They want him to be a "traditional" hip hop artist rather than the weird nasally high pitched Danny Brown we receive today. He addresses in the hook that he's moved from that. Not that he can't rap like that because he does go back to rapping "traditionally" for the first half of the album but the reason he rapped that way was because of how his life was. He was selling drugs, serving a stint in prison, unafraid to let it fly on anyone who stepped on his turf. That was the old Danny Brown and he is saying that he has no reason to be rapping like that anymore since he is in a different place now. But it's funny that Danny is saying he is going to do what he wants yet he won't hesitate to give the fans what they want. He is rapping like the old Danny Brown through the first half of Old but he isn't talking about the same stuff. Which transitions beautifully into the next track, Return featuring Freddie Gibbs. If you didn't catch it, it is a sequel of sorts to the Outkast track, Return of the G off the classic album Aquemini. People want the old Danny Brown back because they feel like he turned into this weird drugged out hippy that got out of Detroit and lost touch with the hood. If you thought that way about him, Danny is quick to remind he won't hesitate to take the gun out and shoot you. He has stated in many interviews that people get him wrong all the time and forget that he was a drug dealer in Detroit and that kind of personality doesn't just leave a person because they make some more money. Of course Freddie Gibbs comes in with yet another cold verse. I've said this before but i'll say it again...i have never heard a bad Freddie Gibbs verse. He does what he does and does it well.

that old danny brown

After looking back i'm realizing i'm just recapping the album song by song and i don't want to do that and i'm sure you guys want to read about it so i'm just going to give my thoughts on the first half of the album as a whole. In short, I liked everything about it. If he had just done the first 9 or 10 songs as an album, obviously it would be too short but it was so good that i would have nothing bad to say about it. It was as flawless as it could be. Honestly, if Side A was its own album it would be in my top 2 albums projects that were released in 2013. I can't say anything bad about it and i'm not even jocking Danny Brown. It wasn't groundbreaking but he did everything so well. he got his point across that the old Danny Brown isn't coming back because he has grown as an artist and is going to keep doing him since that is what got him to the next level. Look at what he says on Red 2 Go which is the last track of Side A and the transition between Side A and Side B, "Did it my way, i ain't nobody's hoe, bout to pimp the rap game." He is reiterating again he is going to do it his way because that is what got him to where he is at today.

Speaking of what got Danny Brown to where he is today, that is what the second half of the album, Side B is. It is Danny rapping over EDM beats or dubstep beats, i don't know what you're supposed to call them. I normally don't never listen to these kinds of beats but i actually like what Danny did. He did party rap over party beats. If you didn't follow the path he took over the course of the album, Danny Brown did "hip-hop" for Side A, and Side B was the experimental hip-hop. I definitely like the first half more but i wasn't hating on the second half. My favorite tracks on Side B were Smokin and Drinkin and Dip. Honestly there's no need to go in depth on these tracks other than he subtly shouts out A Tribe Called Quest on Smokin and Drinkin. I was surprised to hear the Ab Soul feature on Way Up Here because i have never heard him over these beats and i wasn't feeling it too much. It's not like it was bad but i definitely prefer him on those TDE beats. Side B wasn't my favorite but i still fuck with it nonetheless. The only thing i'm scared of is now there is going to be a bunch of trash rappers going over edm beats so that is going to suck.

I'm going out on a limb here and am going to say this album is a game changer. I don't think there has been a rapper who has the love from so many different types of people and has dabbled in the types of sound that Danny Brown has before. It took me a while to get used to Side B because that is not the type of music i ever listen to but i finally got the bigger picture. Danny Brown has spoken before about progressing hip hop and he is right. With so many people clamoring for the "old danny brown," they want him rapping over 90's type Detroit beats and there is nothing wrong with that. But the problem is that if Danny Brown sticks to that and doesn't attempt to go for something new then who knows how long it would take for someone else to rap over these edm beats. Even if this project fails at least rappers would now know not to rap over these types of beats. Danny Brown is looking at hip-hop not only as music but he is looking at the culture as a whole. If all rappers stick to the same script there is no way for hip-hop to progress. Nothing against Joey Badass because i think he is a very talented individual but he isn't doing anything special by doing his whole 90's revival thing. All he is doing is going backwards and by doing so he can't go forward. With his ever growing fanbase digging what he does, they too would clamor for that 90's revival stuff meaning there would be less of a demand for progression. Although i haven't listened to Yeezus, from what i hear it is even more experimental than Side B of Old. Even if it sucks it at least pushes the boundaries and takes hip hop into new directions. So if we don't give Danny Brown a listen because of the beats he raps over like i used to, then hip-hop won't be able to progress as a genre of music or as a culture. Peace

Just found this interview/article where Danny Brown talks about his goal to progress rap. I can't believe i actually understood the album like that and was right for once.

Gang Starr

Nas and Damien Marley

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