The time has finally come and its been a while! The first album review in what could be a year and a half! It’s funny because as I’m reading it, I start off with the usual “It’s been a while!”. It’s one of the disadvantages of being a college student trying to find work in New York City, while constantly producing the shows for the network. Plus, following quitting my show after getting tired of objectifying music for a bit…I’ve come back to accomplish one thing and one thing only. Reaching 100 album review milestone written wise, so I can look back and say I did something like that.
But the last album review I did was for Toro Y Moi‘s “What For?” album back in June of 2015 here (https://wiseguyjukebox.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/toro-y-moi-what-for/).
Enough about that! It’s about the album review. There were a ton of albums to review this year, but they were amazing musically. I didn’t have much to say about them, besides they were all really good, but I’m sure I’ll get around to it eventually. So I’m going to review an album I enjoyed very much that is a bit recent. I’m here to review Danny Brown‘s “Old” album, which was my first album from the artist.
“Old” was released on October 8th, 2013 under Fool’s Gold Records and is Danny’s third studio album. It debuted at #17 on the Billboard 200 during it’s release, which is pretty high in retrospect. The album is 19 tracks long and with a runtime of 56 minutes making it almost an hour, which is surprising considering its tracklist size being so large. This tape isn’t super feature heavy, but it does include TDE artists ScHoolboy Q and Ab Soul, Purity Ring, Freddie Gibbs, A$AP Rocky, and Charlie XCX as the major ones. Now Mark Ronson and A-Trak both had productions on this album, so it definitely had flavor all in the background while you go through it, mixing up the styles of what you’d normally get from a hip hop tape.
Now this album spends most of it’s time talking about what Danny Brown was like back in the day, but it talks more about his coping mechanism: drugs. Growing up in Detroit as a poor black kid is a typical hip hop story for a lot of artists who wish to talk about their upbringing, but this one is a bit different since Danny really focuses on his influence from being a drug dealer. He mentions a list of drugs he takes to help deal with his stress and the overall negativity of life, from Xanax to Adderall. Hell, he even threw liquor and weed in there, but apparently pills are the highlight. It’s a quite unhealthy fix and he even acknowledges how bad of a habit this has become. But outside of the negative causes that might come from these drugs, he celebrates how much of a high he gets from doing drugs and drinking alcohol. But Danny’s character would be described as a fun one. He’s always loud and obnoxious, especially with the way he changes his voice into this high pitch child spitting into the mic with excitement and enthusiasm. The album is riddled with this excitement and his way to display it in different forms, from slight comical humor, to just pure boasting.
Side A (Old) – This is the introduction track and it starts off really hard. There’s barely any pause on this track during its 2 minute run and it gets straight to talking about what this album might be about. Here he talks about what he used to be about, having braids selling drugs and hustling on the cold poor streets of Detroit. It was dangerous and at anytime he could’ve lost his life doing it, but he celebrates this lifestyle because this is the life he lived and succeeded in.
Torture – Out of the few tracks that really talk about his past, this is the one that really dives in head first. This is the track that talks about the struggle in detail, but it paints a very uncomfortable and awkward picture of what he remembers about his childhood. From a crack dealer burning his lips from using a stove, to sleeping with full pair of clothes during the winter because it was too cold and they didn’t have any heat. There’re other darker tones and representation of this childhood and it really justifies the overuse on drugs as a way to forget such a cold upbringing.
Side B (Dope Song) – I like this song because it’s clever. It’s heavy electronic beat might be off putting, plus the weird intro and outro segments that remind you of a weird movie or game setting. Nonetheless, this song is about selling dope (obviously from the title) but it’s also about it being the last dope song. So it’s a weird oxymoron, but it works for me.
Float On – This is the last track to the album and it’s slower than the more upbeat and energetic pace of the other tracks. This one takes its time to talk about his current struggle with being a music artist and giving people insight on what he feels currently. He still uses drugs as relaxer and tries to justify it by explaining what he’s been going through during the recording process and how he got where he is now.
Great album… long, but great. You can feel all the effort put into making this album and it’s solid to listen to from start to finish. It has tracks that boast excitement and other tracks to remind people he can be humble and true to himself. He’s a street dude and rap is his passion outside of the dope dealing and drug addiction. He’s got a weird style, and weird approach to rap that makes him fresh and new. It’s a definite pick up for hip hop heads who want a little spin from the norm, but also want to have fun. Outside of that, check out Danny Brown’s new album “Atrocity Exhibition” which dropped this year.