Danny Brown is 32 this year. In hip hop years, the gap toothed Detroit rapper is practically a veteran and if you know even the slightest bit of his background, you’d know dude has been through more than any other self-proclaimed hood MCs. In fact, Old — its Side A at least – might just be the last great gangster rap album. Referring to Danny’s previous incarnation pre-XXX, the release that made him a hipster favourite and something of a festival jester, the first half of the album explores the stark reality of his life in rundown Detroit as a former dope dealer.
Here’s the catch though, it’s f*cking scary. Danny never glorifies being poor and doing crime — this man isn’t selling the Great American Gangster Story perpetuated by the likes of Jay-Z and most NYC rappers, homie was a low level hoodlum who witnessed a meth head almost burnt his lips (‘Torture’). And that was the kind of sh!t that gave Danny night terrors till this day, consequently leading to his drug dependency.
It was no wonder then that the opening track to Old’s second half, ‘Side B (Dope Song)’, is a treatise against the glorification of black poverty and the criminality that comes with it (“Long time ago, I don’t do that shit no mo’/This the last time I’mma tell you, wanna hear it?”). With that, Side B aptly ends that cycle and signals the EDM punter, hipster interpretation of Old Danny Brown – the pill-popping, pussy-loving jester rapping over future-forward beats (by the likes of Rustie, SKYWLKR, and Darq E Freaker no less).
However it is worth to note that the serious, slowed down Danny did appear on XXX, just that structurally it was backwards, making it easier for listeners to associate Danny with his party persona. Even then, his party tracks have always had some level of self-awareness about the dangers of his drug use, just that most of us choose to ignore it – like Danny’s personality, his fans are split into two.
LISTEN TO: ‘Side B (Dope Song)’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Freddie Gibs