2012 Edition: Another Quick Guide For Page Views And Hyperlinks
Here is last year’s for reference.
The first thing you notice about Danny Brown is his asymmetrical hairstyle. The second is how much time he spends rapping about getting his dick sucked. And this is why I often spend the extent of Brown’s XXX, one of the best records of 2011, fantasizing about kicking him where it hurts, mostly because I can’t help returning to the album repeatedly despite its blatant and unapologetic misogyny (“fuck a bitch mouth until her fucking face cave in,” “love a feminist bitch, oh they get my dick hard”).
Jenn Pelly, from a live review of Danny Brown from Pitchfork’s Primavera Festival in Spain.
You know when someone takes something easily very routine (a live concert review), and makes it amazing. Exhibit A.
A really really bad photo of Danny Brown performing last Saturday night.
Saturday, I got to see Danny Brown at free show presented by WQFS & Jazzy Joel Productions. Performing before Danny Brown was chilled out electronic act Rimar and slowly rising rapper Cities Aviv, who if not for the fact of coming on before Danny Brown might have been confused as the headliner…well maybe not considering who the actual headliner was but he was still great. Cities Aviv pulled off the altered voice effects of his songs, when I just would have assumed they were just programming effects he wouldn’t try to reproduce live. So, Cities Aviv was pretty good, but only after a minute of rapping it was clear who the headliner of the show was.
Danny Brown opened with “Monopoly”, which I have sort of casted aside as a good but not great song from XXX, but his performance on Saturday changed that. I’ve read that people don’t like Danny Brown’s high pitched rapping voice, which must be too nasally for some, but on “Monopoly” his voice went from nails scratching on a wall to a deep Darth Vader voice and any other voice that could be found on that spectrum in the brief three minute song. While the instrumentals sometimes overpowered Cities Aviv that was never the case with Danny Brown, as his voice came though so you could make out every syllable from ”stank pussy smelling like cool ranch Doritos”, which some in the crowd yelling it back with great enthusiasm.
Driving back home my friend and I listened to the second half of XXX, which is where Danny Brown offers a dark flipside to the joyous drug and sex talk that was the first half of the album by offering stories of his life and others struggling with these vices. Till the final track listening to the album becomes a very sobering experience, but that wasn’t Danny Brown’s live show on Saturday, as the only songs he performed with that emotional weight were “DNA” and the closer “Blunt after Blunt”. Instead were tracks of big fun and hilarious sex talk, which is something I feel I have kind of missed listening to the album, as I didn’t get just how funny Danny Brown can be. Nearly every line on “Monopoly” had me laughing as if I was watching a stand up performance: “This Kush has got me high like Pac bandanna”, a line I already knew I loved, nearly had me knelling over from laughing. Danny Brown has some emotionally devastating songs, but Saturday night he stuck with good time tracks, so even if you did not know any of his work it would have been hard to not enjoy the show.
In a rap blogger meeting “internet people” note, I said this to them already but it was nice meeting Brandon (notrivia), Adam (burzyum), Monique (monique-r), and Cities Aviv. It was a bit surreal, but cool none the less.
The way these bitches on cock,
You swear it 1985,
And Teenwolf just dropped,
And my name was Michael J. Fox,
But, no bitch,
It’s Danny Brown,
I got some weed up in my socks.
So, bitch get high with ya nigga,
The sack I got is looking like some green caterpillars,
But, it smelling like a skunk that’s o so defensive.
—Danny Brown, from “Detroit 187”.
Lie4 - Danny Brown
I turned on Danny Brown’s XXXthinking I would get a couple songs and turn it off then go off to bed. That didn’t happen. The first few songs were great but once arriving at “Radio Song”, part laugh out loud funny (“He made ‘Black and Yellow’, I’m gonna make ‘Black and Emo’”) and a rap industry complaint song, and a great example that rap production sometimes only needs a simple drum kit in place of opera singers and army of dark synths. It was then I starting to turn for this guy named Danny Brown.
After “Radio Song” comes “Lie4” which after one play through told me, my placed sleep was going to be put on hold for a bit. The song meshes the sound of Skream’s darkest dubstep tracks from 2005 and the stat and stop production of Travis Porter’s hit producer FKi (“Bring It Back” and “Make It Rain”). This bizarre combination along with strings stabs that make it feel like a killer is getting ready to come up from behind you, and Danny Brown’s off-kilter rhymes makes the song feel like it could come undone at any moment. This feeling is also added by the constant buzzing in the song, which is another element to make your skin crawl if Danny Brown’s voice did already to that.
But, focusing on the lyrics, this is a rap song that actually brags about paying income taxes (“I got that income tax swag”), which is something most rappers would boast about never paying—probably due to how they claim to get their money—but Brown views it as something to take pride in. Danny Brown laughs at the usual material rap boasts, pointing out for him they aren’t true just after making them, and reveals in this with the refrain “the fuck I have to lie for”. For a song that sounds so bizarre and unhinged, Danny Brown has a comfort in his own skin most rappers could not dream of.