Danny Brown is a 38 year old rapper from Detroit, Michigan that got his start as a member of the Rese’vor Dogs in the mid-2000s. He would go onto form the Bruiser Brigade in 2010, dropping his debut album The Hybrid the same year. This resulted in him signing with Fool’s Gold Records & delivering a near perfect sophomore effort XXX the next year, which was followed up with Old in 2013 as well as his 2016 magnum opus & Warp Records debut Atrocity Exhibition. Fast forward 3 years later, he’s delivering his highly-anticipated 5th full-length album & has brought on Q-Tip to oversee it.
The opener “Change Up” talks about never selling out over a hypnotic instrumental from longtime collaborator Paul White while the next track “Theme Song” is a dedication to the suckas over a gorgeously weapy strong sample. The song “Dirty Laundry” showcases his clever lyricism over an off-kilter instrumental from Q-Tip while the track “3 Tearz” with Run the Jewels gets careless over a psychedelic instrumental from JPEGMAFIA. The song “Belly of the Beast” talks about drug use over a misty instrumental that later builds up as suspenseful near the end of the final verse while the track “Savage Nomad” talks about going at his competition over an Alchemist-inspired instrumental from Playa Haze.
The song “Best Life” talks about living good over a boom bap beat sampling Tommy McGee’s “To Make You Happy” while the title track talks about keeping it moving over a disco-esque instrumental. The song “Negro Spiritual” not only finds Danny charismatically showing off over a funky instrumental from Flying Lotus & Thundercat, but Peggy does the best Pharrell impression ever on the hook. The penultimate track “Shine” talks about getting what’s his over a gargantuan boom bap beat & then the closer “Combat” with both Q-Tip & Consequence finds the 3 talking about how all 3 of them have come a long way over some jazzy horns.
While this obviously isn’t a masterpiece like Atrocity Exhibition, it’s still a fantastic album. It’s pretty much a more mature version of The Hybrid with grander production & you can really hear how much Danny’s pen game has stepped up since then.