Danny Brown


(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Hot Soup (2008) , 5/10
The Hybrid (2010), 6.5/10
Hawaiian Snow (2010), 6/10
XXX (2011), 7/10
OLD (2013), 7/10
Atrocity Exhibition (2016), 6/10
Uknowhatimsayin (2019), 6/10
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Detroit's rapper Danny Brown, a former member of Reser'vor Dogs, debuted with Hot Soup (2008) and The Hybrid (2010). Hawaiian Snow (2010) was a collaboration with G-Unit's Haitian-born rapper Tony Yayo (Marvin Bernard).

The claustrophobic XXX (2011) was basically a collection of suicidal odes, starting with XXX, in which disjointed gloomy audio signs emit a sense of drama in multiple directions, and ending with the social fresco Fields. Noteworthy are the songs produced by Skywlkr (Skylar Tait): Die Like a Rockstar, Lie4, Bruiser Brigade, and the surreal Outer Space. Other creative productions include Radio Song by Brandun Deshay, Monopoly by Quelle, and the spaghetti-western soundtrack for African caravans Scrap or Die by Paul White. However, the album also included the party anthems Blunt After Blunt and I Will..

The EP Black and Brown (2011) exposed Brown's wildest side, but mostly thanks to the explosive sound provided by Detroit's producer Black Milk (Curtis Cross).

OLD (Fool's Gold, 2013) is two albums in one. The first side is a carnival of creative productions and tantalizing raps. The parade begins with Paul White's thick claustrophobic arrangement for Side A and The Return, penning in the latter the most tragic atmosphere of the album. Like on the previous album, the songs seem to compete for utter dejection: the industrial expressionist nightmare Dope Fiend Rental, produced by Skywlkr Torture, produced by Oh No (Michael Jackson) and radiating almost a religious feeling, with monk choir and funeral beats, and the Paul White-produced Clean Up, with Indian war dance and lysergic backup vocals. Even when Brown tries detours into lightweight fare, the results are upsetting and unnerving, as if in the ditty 25 Bucks, produced by Corin Roddick of Canadian electronic duo Purity Ring with undercurrent of apocalyptic electronics, and the cabaret-ish Wonderbread, produced by Paul White. The second side of the album is much less intense. Rustie's childish beats Side B - Dope Song and Break It - Go are emblematic. And the six songs framed by two Skywlkr productions, Dip and Kush Coma, basically constitute a sex-and-drugs suite.

By comparison, Danny Brown's Atrocity Exhibition (Warp, 2016), almost entirely produced by Paul White, is an irreverent merry-go-round of brief songs, lo-fi beats, and hippy freak-ery. There are five highlights. First and foremost, the demented circus polka Ain't It Funny. Next the limping, fractured, vibraphone-tinged White Lines, produced by The Alchemist. Then the three singles: When It Rain, produced by Paul White (like most of the album), in which he wears a comic register worthy of a cartoon of chipmunks over a childish pounding beat; Pneumonia, produced by Evian Christ, that sounds like a Burmese street band with a rapper just released from the madhouse (ancient memories of the great David Peel); and Really Doe, produced by Black Milk, a skeletal composition with tinning bells. The rocking Tell me what I don't Know and Golddust and the exotic muzak of Dance in the Water are cute novelties, but there is too much that doesn't work here. This should have been a six-song EP.

Many of the playful songs on the brief, 33-minute Uknowhatimsayin (Warp, 2019) feel like comic skits, but Danny Brown's silly lyrics are not the reason to listen to the album: the real treat is the production (mostly Q-Tip and Paul White) that shapes each song in a different style and mood. Theme Song veers towards chamber music, Dirty Laundry is hip-hop's version of vaudeville, the Jpegmafia-produced 3 Tearz is warped blues. Qtip's production peaks with the midly dissonant boom-bap fanfare Combat, and the way he sneaks a sample of Tommy McGee's funk-soul hit To Make You Happy into Best Life, although the best instrumental touch could be the jazzy synth and guitar blob in Flying Lotus-produced Negro Spiritual. The White-produced Belly Of The Beast is cinematic but not very musical. The trap-infected Savage Nomad is the best of the verbose songs.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Pierluigi Napoli)

Il rapper di Detroit Danny Brown, un ex membro dei Reser'vor Dogs, ha debuttato con Hot Soup (2008) e The Hybrid (2010). Hawaiian Snow (2010) e’ stata una collaborazione con il rapper Haitiano dei G-Unit, Tony Yayo (Marvin Bernard).

Il claustrofobico XXX (2011) e’ sostanzialmente una raccolta di odi al suicidio, a partire da XXX, nella quale segnali audio cupi e sconnessi emanano un senso di tragedia in molteplici direzioni, e terminando con l’affresco sociale di Fields. Degne di nota sono le canzoni prodotte da Skywlkr (Skylar Tait): Die Like a Rockstar, Lie4, Bruiser Brigade, e la surreale Outer Space. Altre produzioni creative includono Radio Song di Brandun Deshay, Monopoly di Quelle, e la colonna sonora da spaghetti-western per carovane africane Scrap or Die di Paul White. Comunque, l’album include anche gli inni da party Blunt After Blunt e I Will.

L’EP Black and Brown (2011) scopre il lato piu’ selvaggio di Brown, ma soprattutto grazie al suono esplosivo fornito dal produttore di Detroit Black Milk (Curtis Cross).

OLD (Fool's Gold, 2013) e’ due album in uno. Il primo lato e’ un carnevale di produzioni creative e rap allettanti. La sfilata inizia con il denso arrangiamento claustrofobico di Paul White per Side A e The Return, segnando in quest’ultimo l’atmosfera piu’ tragica dell’album. Come nell’album precedente, le canzoni sembrano competere per il totale abbattimento: l’incubo di espressionismo industriale Dope Fiend Rental, prodotto da Skywlkr; Torture, prodotto da Oh No (Michael Jackson) e radiante quasi di religiosita’, con coro di monaci e battiti funebri; e Clean Up prodotta da Paul White, con danza di guerra indiana e cori di sottofondo lisergici. Anche quando Brown prova a virare verso percorsi piu’ leggeri, il risultato e’ fastidioso e snervante, come nella canzoncina 25 Bucks, prodotta da Corin Roddick del duo elettronico canadese Purity Ring, con un sottotraccia di elettronica apocalittica, e Wonderbread in stile cabaret, prodotta da Paul White. Il secondo lato dell’album e’ molto meno intenso. I beat infantili di Rustie Side B - Dope Song e Break It - Go sono emblematici. E le sei canzoni comprese tra le due produzioni di Skywlkr, Dip e Kush Coma, costituiscono fondamentalmente una suite “sex-and-drugs”.

In paragone, Atrocity Exhibition (Warp, 2016) di Danny Brown e’ un irreverente giostra di brevi canzoni, beat lo-fi, e stravaganze hippy. Ci sono cinque momenti salienti. Il primo e piu’ importante, la folle polka da circo Ain't It Funny. A seguire la zoppicante, frammentata, venata di vibrafono White Lines, prodotta da The Alchemist. Poi i tre singoli: When It Rain, prodotta da Paul White (come la maggiorparte dell’album), nella quale indossa un registro comico degno di un cartone animato di scoiattoli su un infantile beat martellante; Pneumonia, prodotta da Evian Christ, che suona come una street band birmana con un rapper appena uscito da un manicomio (memorie lontane del grande David Peel); e Really Doe, prodotta da Black Milk, una composizione sceletrica con campane tintinnanti. L’oscillante Tell me what I don't Know e Golddust e la muzak esotica di Dance in the Water sono novita’ carine, ma ci sono troppe cose che non funzionano qui. Sarebbe dovuto essere un EP di 6 canzoni.

Molte delle giocose canzoni sul breve (33 minuti) Uknowhatimsayin (Warp, 2019) sembrano scenette comiche, ma ma i testi sciocchi di Danny Brown non sono il motivo per ascoltare l’album: la vera chicca e’ la produzione (per lo piu’ Q-Tip e Paul White) che modella ogni canzone in uno stile e umore diverso. Theme Song vira verso la musica da camera, Dirty Laundry e’ la versione hip-hop del vaudeville, 3 Tearz, prodotta da Jpegmafia, e’ un blues deforme. La produzione di Q-Tip raggiunge il picco con la fanfara boom-bap moderatamente dissonante Combat, e nel modo in cui intrufola un campionamento della hit funk-soul To Make You Happy di Tommy McGee in Best Life, anche se il miglior tocco strumentale potrebbe essere il sintetizzatore jazzato e la chitarra blob in Negro Spiritual, prodotta da Flying Lotus. Belly Of The Beast, prodotta da White, e’ cinematografica ma non molto musicale. Savage Nomad, con contaminazioni trap, e’ la migliore tra le canzoni verbose.

(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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