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Essential Listening: Danny Brown

Essential Listening: Danny Brown

Despite being overlooked by 50 Cent during his formative years Danny Brown has firmly cemented his place as one of the most exuberant rappers to emerge out of Detroit.

A distinctive high-pitched voice became a definitive feature of Brown’s style as heard clearly throughout his first album The Hybrid. 50 Cent might’ve thought he didn’t have the right image but not long after his debut record was released, A-Trak and Fool’s Gold came calling. When one of the most forward-thinking electronic and hip-hop labels registered an interest it signalled just how much Brown’s style was admired. Since that moment there has been an insatiable demand to constantly hear his latest music, releasing a further three albums over the next five years, and plans for another one in 2018 are already in motion.

Such a tasteful and extensive collection of records meant it was always going to be difficult to identify five of the most iconic tracks from Brown but nevertheless we persevered and gave it our best effort.

Greatest Rapper Ever
After losing some of the most iconic hip-hop artists to emerge out of Detroit including J Dilla and Proof, there was a great deal of anticipation to see whether the next wave could live up to their predecessors.

Danny Brown certainly wasted no time in staking his claim as one of Detroit’s elite, showcasing a vivid imagination, as you can hear with this record.

This track perfectly demonstrates Brown’s lyrical prowess, drawing on a wide range of references to supplement his rhymes.



Die Like A Rockstar
This record stands out because of the beautiful marriage between two contrasting styles; rock and rap.

The way in which the blistering percussion provides a sumptuous backdrop for Brown’s fascinating style makes this a standout track.

First signalling to the world he was a completely new breed of rapper with the name of his first album, Brown once again demonstrates a unique identity with a microphone, incorporating varying registers and dynamic tones.



Bruiser Brigade
Always looking to embrace different sounds this song is another great example of the way XXX is so much more unhinged.

The tilt to the UK grime scene in this track captures Brown’s versatility as an artist and also reflects his huge admiration of the genre.

A thunderous flow and an ability to charm with each verse have once again resulted in a track which is completely unrestrained and steeped in honesty.

Dubstep

This is another dynamic endeavour from Brown, who has once again shown his affection for grime by enlisting the help of UK artist Scrufizzer.

This record embodies Brown’s mission to step outside of his comfort zone by working with complex time signatures.

Throughout the song you can clearly hear how the narrative has switched, shining a rather intimate spotlight on Brown’s life, whilst still achieving the contrast between the two sides of Old.



Really Doe
A stellar combination of collaborators including Kendrick Lamar allow for some of the most captivating raps to unfold, encapsulating the theme of Atrocity Exhibition which focuses on the struggles around addiction.

All the while Brown’s long-time friend, Black Milk, is responsible for conjuring up a beat which instantly induces a murky and raucous overtone.

Throughout this record it is clear that Brown is sharp and purposeful, carefully knitting together each verse. If ever you needed a record which displays Brown’s rapping pedigree this is it.



Danny Brown will be accompanying Run The Jewels on their trip to Leeds next week, performing at O2 Academy on Wednesday 15th November.

Photo courtesy of Danny Brown

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