Experience: Danny Brown

Download: Official mixtape: Danny Brown, XXX via Fool’s Gold

An indomitable presence and a strong, unique voice are invaluable tools in the rap game.  But upon hearing Danny Brown’s XXX for the first time, I was a bit overwhelmed.  His flow is light, airy, careless; his character is goofy, awkward, and just straight-up odd. He delivers this all loudly, early and often in his newest production–an effort so distinct and strange, it may hit as initially unimpressive.

But give him an open hear, even a second listen.  Once I took a break from trying to figure out his style, I began to listen to what he was actually saying.  As he raps about standard hip-hop topics like disrespecting women, using all sorts of illicit substances (namely Adderall), and the violence that surrounded him as a kid, his geeked vocal style almost loses him believability. Yet, he has the uncanny ability to seamlessly combine comical verses like “Your style’s like fried chicken without the seasonin'” with unexpectedly deep verses like “You ain’t been through what I been through / And if so, you would take a pencil through your temple”, as found on “Monopoly.”  He made me laugh while never completely shedding the grit and intensity of any other Detroit-born rapper.

On XXX, Brown’s just having a great time delivering, and that makes him fun to listen to.  He undercuts emotional or intense themes with a style that is carefree and silly, but he still retains a hardness that demands attention. What Danny Brown does have to offer is uniqueness, something that the hip-hop industry is lacking right now.

So download XXX,  see how Danny Brown does it, and don’t judge this book by its first read.