Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Live Review - Danny Brown - Old

Low Qual Steam Rip Edition

Yeah... I wanted to wait until we had something in higher quality, but oh well...

What's Danny Brown to you?

I love Danny. XXX is a fantastic album with very few tracks that I wouldn't be happy blasting on repeat for upwards of an hour. "Pac Blood", "Blunt After Blunt" and the absolute masterpiece tier "30" are all certified bangers with a whole lot going on underneath. Then you get stuff like "DNA" which has the real emotional side of Danny right out in the open. Danny's unique in that he can have some of the most outrageous and shocking lines in hip hop while also spilling his guts in a way that doesn't seem insincere, corny or cloying. For me, though, my favorite part is his absolutely ridiculous flow. Whenever he shows up as a guest - the "Huzzah" remix, "1 Train", "You Have to Ride the Wave", etc - he completely steals the show for me.

Hype for Old

I'd heard three songs that I figured would be on old - "Jealousy" (which has this awesome music video), "Kush Coma", and "ODB". I guess "Jealousy" is actually a track by The Purist, "Kush Coma" was actually a leaked incomplete version, and "ODB" couldn't clear a sample and isn't on the album. By the time actual singles came out - "Side A (Old)" and "Dip", I think - I didn't want to listen to them 'cause I wanted to save some new stuff for the album. But now it seems like I haven't actually heard any of the album yet, lol. At any rate, the three songs I did hear I'd place on the top tier of Danny Brown tracks I've heard, so... I'm pretty excited.

I like this artwork and all but I still think I like the first one I saw better:

Danny Brown - Old
Live Review

1. "Side A (Old)"
Here we go... rapping right away, I like it. I loved that single cello-y pull at the start too. Wow this is insane. He's going in in a major way right away... "Won't live for anything but might die for nothing" Jesus wow yup that's that old Danny Brown. I think people don't give enough credit to what might be the craziest pre-rap career in hip hop today. I love this flow so much, so rugged and raw and yet absolutely on point. I like this turntablism here too, Danny Brown would do well with a Kool Keith-style production. This beat is amazing too. I can't wait to hear it in uhh not 128. S+

2. "The Return"
Sorta a boxing ring feel on the intro to this, that mixed with comic stuff... Freddie Gibbs sounding mad smooth here. "Wanna pull me in that fire while I'm trying to feed my daughter", "And when they don't listen gotta speak with violence.", I like the vocal sample in the back, and now we got a sitar sorta thing... This makes me think of a Madlib track, but that might be more 'cause Freddie Gibbs fucks with Madlib a lot. Freddie gets like a whole half song just to himself, no sign of Danny yet, that's okay, he's really going well here. His flow here with the little triplet mixups is really nice. Homage to Outkast. Wait where is Danny Brown on this actually? Was one of those rappers Danny and I didn't notice? That would be like... the first time that's ever happened. He is like one of the most identifiable rappers. Lol what. Okay though that was cool. A+

3. "25 Bucks"
Feat Purity Ring huh? Witch house really out here... Danny goes really well on a beat like this. "25 momma braid your hair", lol. Purity Ring vocalist sounds really good here... Danny Brown flowing so so precisely and tightly, really going in. I can't even speak on this he just keeps going. "Trapped in a trap and the devil ain't forgetting", this is classic Danny styled hybrid of genuinely sinister and unsettling and also banging and catchy as hell. "If we really balling then we cop Chinese food", both hilarious and depressing... Insane. S+

4. "Wonderbread"
I mean already we have this duality just on the song name... wow this beat is crazy, sort of thing that makes you feel like you're going insane. This is some crazy kid's book storytelling sorta flow, really clever. Danny Brown childhood is um absolutely fucking insane. "On the way to get Wonderbread/I swear I just wonder bread?" I dunno if I'm hearing that right. S-

5. "Gremlins"
Sorta outerspace sorta beat. Really smooth and jazzy while still feeling like that. Neat. "Pop that bitch on camera and we ain't talking about twerk team" - shout out to twerk team! Danny going straight in here again. He's using this, um, set of octaves a lot on this one, I want more of the hybrid but whatever lots of time for that. Rapping about the sort of monotony of his life, same damn week/street, etc. "'Cause they Gremlins!", I like that. Good bridge sorta thing. "You hear it in a song then do it for real" or something haha yeah... "Thinking about two chains, not thinking bout collage/I wonder if he knew that 2 Chainz went to collage" oh my god nice. S

6. "Dope Fiend Rental"
Another totally hellish insane beat, and here we go with the hybrid flow, this is classic sort of Danny flow, I love it. Haha oh my god his kinematics, the feeling of momentum in this flow, absolutely unmatched. "Open wide ho!", haha. And Schoolboy Q coming in, I like him a lot. He does the same sort of cadence, that's like, his specialty, this sort of flow. "My dick as long as the Brooklyn bridge", lol. "I used to play house with your little sister/she always call me daddy or mister mister", awesome line. I love this outro too. lol. S+

7. "Torture"
This beat is really really cool. I feel like it captures the two styles of flow Danny has really well, that sort of duality. And here yeah he's on that slow low grindy flow. I love it... Intense. Back to episodes of his childhood. Seven years old when he first saw someone cooking rocks on the stove. Wow. Can you even imagine? "Look in my mind and see the horrors/All the shit that I've seen, nigga, it's torture". Not really an exaggeration lol. Needs to see a shrink, kush + xanax to sleep... man, poor Danny. How can I feel so tortured and sympathetic about someone who shouted "Open wide, ho!" less than 5 minutes ago? That is the real magic of Danny Brown. S

8. "Lonely"
Um I'm gonna guess this track isn't happy either... Haha what is this language? And this sample? It sounds like dad rock. "Hipster by heart but I can tell you what the streets feel", is that what he just said? This is crazy crazy. I don't think I've ever heard a beat like this, a general aesthetic to a song like this... "Don't nobody really know me"... and his flow here is really smooth and nice too. This is just a really... nice... song. Sad though. Very sad. S+

9. "Clean Up"
Sort of carrying on the psychedelic feel from last song... wow the way the beat comes on there was really nice. Cloudy but raining molly. Nice. I love this flow... modern times sort of bleakness. "Ain't slept in 4 days and I'm smelling like seaweed", ha... ha? Aw... "It's time for me to clean it up/I came too far to fuck it up", damn Danny. Says he's 31 on this... so he wrote it last year I guess... I dunno too lazy to do the math here. Feeling guilty about how he spends his money, so many new issues with success... this is super interesting, feels very real, which is really hard for a successful rapper who used to rap about being unsuccessful. So good job Danny. And oh god I love this beat. S+

10. "Red 2 Go"
That was like the biggest flow switch up ever lol. "Codine in my cereal" lol, actually all of these lines are really hilarious. "Red head ho like a young Kathy Griffin" hahahahahahaha, "Make 2 Live Crew look like some Mormons" hahahahahahahahaaaa. I love this hook. "Is anybody nervous?", awesome. "So many lines I thought this shit was Busch Gardens" hahahahaha oh man he is just way too clever with these. And yet he still has these really genuine compelling poor history lines... This beat is really sick too, really frantic and fast. S

11. "Side B (Dope Song)"
Alright cool midway point sort of thing. This intro is bananas. Like what sort of Hollywood movie sort of dramatics is happening here? And then this beat and this flow, what the heeeeeeeeellll? This is crazy. I really like how this beat is coming together, and this hook oh my god "Dope song! Dope song dope song!" and then this like... jumprope skip sorta flow, with the super pitched up thing, oh man what is gonna happen? Crazy crazy. S-

12. "Dubstep"
Haha what is up with this title? This doesn't really sound like dubstep... um,  neither real dubstep or "brostep", okay here's some wubs. "I had them dubs on the step", ohhhh haha. The same sort of duality as "Wonderbread". "Slow days fast days getting paper anyway". I really like this beat, Danny on a really classic flow. BUT WHERE'S THE DROP??? I like that silence and then this grimey-ass British rapper coming in, wow yeah he's going crazy, I really like this, that was a damn impressive little verse. S

13. "Dip"
This is pretty cool, wait, what is this "dip" referring to? Haha on that Kanye zone grind "you haters leave me alone", ahaha I love it. "Like Lieutenant Dan I'm rollin'", haha... But yeah is this like, that "sherm"? Or something to do with the "molly"? Oh okay here he like spelled it out pretty clearly there on the second verse okay yeah. "Grinding on my bitch while I'm grinding on my teeth" haha oh man showing both sides to um rolling really hard every night which is what he seems to be doing. The flow here near the end, this sort of jerky start-stop stuff, oh man. I love the vocal effects on the hook too. Great track, really good party anthem while also being engrossingly anti-party. S

14. "Smokin & Drinkin"
Woah man this flow is crazy, this beat is crazy. Really percussive and direct and like, boom, boom, boom etc. "And we smoke blunt after blunt after blunt after" etc wow yes this is the sort of crazy careening flow that only Danny can do. The sort of "train going off the rails" flow, I love it. And yet he has legitimate concerns about his health in here, there's like, no feeling of invincibility, just reckless abandon. This is really cool. This feels very intense and real but also surreal and spacey. That dualityyyy. S+

15. "Break It (Go)"
This is a really freaky sort of beat and feel... "Don't stop till you break it", aaaa what is this building to, THE DROP? Yeah I like this. I like how the beat changed, I really like that one "whoop" sorta sample. "Make that booty go" and then the clap sorta sounds, haha I love it. His flow is really consistently on point, and the way it built up there again was so great alongside it... This beat is just coming from every direction at once. "Girl you make me wanna do things when you grind up on that ding-a-ling", lol, silly... And then these vocal clips in his "rugged" sorta voice, this works really well. S-

16. "Handstand"
Another really crazy sort of spacey sound that I can't see how a beat can emerge from and yet it does... some cunnilingus raps here, common Danny theme. "Got a nigga amnesiagic" haha I like how he said that... "With her hands on the floor and her feet on the wall", "Pop the pussy on a handstand", Diplo made a song about this, right? Express yourself? Upside down twerking is the next level. "That pussy was under the mistletoe" haha, he has so many ways of expressing this idea. He is sort of monomanical about it. A+

17. "Way Up Here"
Woah this beat, the way it like, burst there, I really really like that sound. I think it's really bitcrushed is the effect... Sounds like a whale. I like this sort of call-response flow. "Bitch I'm way up here", and the effects of that. "Can't hear what you sayin/Gowan with all that hatin'", I like it. Ab Soul is cool too, I've been liking him a lot lately. He does this sort of pattern really nicely too. "Like a super sayian", "All dogs go to heaven/Not y'all", lol. Okay cool. S-

18. "Kush Coma"
Ohhhhh man I love this song. This beat is just crazy, his flow is just crazy. The way those drums come in... the way the intensity builds. And then the roboty voice on the hook oh man I love that effect. "Kush coma... I am in a kush coma". And oh man there's Rocky, I didn't hear this part before I think. "So many numbers in my phone book/I could start a motherfucking phonebook" lol. Oh man his verse is just crazy, the flow here on the end, that's just top tier Rocky. "In a kush coma finna take a nap" hahahaha. Then Danny back in, really real sort of guts spilling here... wow yes that was awesome. So intense and yet so meticulously assembled. *

19. "Float On"
Yet another style of flow here.... and this beat... wow I love it... oh my god I love this beat. I can't even process the vocals because I love this beat so much. Charli XCX has been getting a lot of hype lately and I like what she does here even if it's a sort of generic "girl voice" effect... oh man comboed with that super low shifted, I love that... Remembering the Wonderbread story... He's sort of going back to a lot of themes of the album again. I like it. "Can't get a wink unless I'm leaning off the syrup", man... Oh man now he wants to live, wants to see his influence... you can really feel the maturation from "30", amazing. This is hypnotic, I feel like I could listen to this for an arbitrarily long period of time. Yes. Wow. Good job. *

Okay yeah that was pretty great

Overall I think I liked it better than XXX, although it's close. It feels like it doesn't have as many "instant classic" type moments as XXX, like, I feel like the first time I heard the hook to "Blunt After Blunt", or heard "30", my jaw dropped in a way that it didn't do here... but that's probably just hindsight, it's hard to know these things right away. On the other hand XXX has a few tracks that don't really interest me too much... and maybe Old will have some stuff I get sick of sooner than later too. Hard to say. I really enjoyed it, though. He managed to continue being very personal and confessional even though his situation has changed so much and yet it didn't seem hypocritical or whiny. Everything seemed very real and genuine, which is near miraculous when you know how much he knows he's expected to follow up on his previous real and genuine works... there's a sort of paradox there that he escapes.

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