XXX, Danny Brown, 2011
I just downloaded this album yesterday. And I had only listened to about half the tracks on XXX at the time, but I had to put some of these thoughts down. All of this came from a friendly & respectful hip hop head debate w/ @artificialbeau on Twitter. I was in the zone, working on some graphics and working out while listening to XXX, Danny Brown's latest project. I couldn't stop raving about it and I'm sure it can be annoying to some people. The rule of thumb for Twitter is, if you really care who is reading your tweets, you probably shouldn't be on there in the first place. Anyway, Danny Brown has consistently stepped up his craft since I first heard of him a couple years ago. Last year, I heard songs on Danny Brown's albums, but from track to track, it wasn't as tight as XXX is. Danny Brown hip hop is like The Garbagepail Kids remade Menace II Society as an animated film. Nasty, graphic, extremely raw and I know that some people won't be on it until he blows up. I've said it several times over based on tracks Brown was featured on, but XXX puts Brown on new plane because he now has a masterful album for people to refer to from now on. That's no slam on his previous albums, but XXX is that dark void in hip hop that's has been waiting to be filled. My library is filled with examples like Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Cannibal Ox, Aesop Rock, El-P, MF Doom, Heltah Skeltah, Jeru tha Damaja, etc. One thing that makes Brown unique is that his dark style is mixed with a raw street attitude that is more like Too Short telling stories that sound real and could easily be true (even if they're not). One more thing...he's hilarious!
The debate that motivated me to write this started like this. I was listing the similarities, possible influences of Brown's style while taking in the music at the same time. So, I listed off a couple well known, welll respected hip hop artists that I could hear in the music. The response was something to the effect that "Danny Brown is like Danny Brown". I don't throw around names recklessly. Comparing a unique artist like Brown to icons isn't supposed to cut his style down to a collection of previous styles. His style is unique because it's a new combination of style and flow. Hip hop borrows from the world it inherited and it's infused into the music with samples, scratches and lyrical references. So, why should my understanding of hip hop be any different? There was on tweet that I wish I could RT into this blog entry. It goes: "Improvisation is a word that connects generations....& I always appreciate it when I hear or see it". I believe that 100% and I think I need to get that tattooed somewhere. Danny Brown is not only unique, but he's creative and he improvises. Another tweet from that mini debate was "Improvisation is rare in 2011".
The first couple songs are syncopated but they transition well from one vibe to the next. The production is dark, raw, instrumental, eerie, moody and I'll have to look into who produced it because they did a great job. No disrespect to the producers, but the name isn't really as important as the music. That's how you know they did a good job. It turns out that the producers are almost all new to me. Frank Dukes, Skywlkr, Brandun Deshay, Squadda Bambino, Nick Speed(heard of before), Quelle, Paul White and DJ HouseShoes (heard of before) are the contributing producers on XXX. This album is sequenced and mixed well and it can make or break an album, especially when there are this many producers working on the project.
[audio:http://ra-nyc.com/boywithstick/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/02-Die-Like-A-Rockstar.mp3|titles=Die Like A Rockstar_XXX_Danny Brown_2011]
(from the Hybrid by Danny Brown)