Monday, 6 February 2017

Danny Brown "Atrocity Exhibition" (2016)

With an experimental, psychedelic approach to instrumentals, a subtle subduing of the drums immediacy, the tone is set for a more artistic endeavor which is frequently peaked by the borderline eccentric performance of Detroit rapper Danny Brown. With a smart head for the old ways of lyrical creativity and imaginative word play his pitched, nasal delivery creates quite the excitement and uniqueness maybe only comparable to B-Real of Cypress Hill who features on the slow track "Get Hi". "Atrocity Exhibition" is Danny's fourth full length, mustering a fair amount of acclaim for his courage to step into strange and adventurous territory. Unfamiliar with his back catalog, this certainly sounds like a breath of fresh air to my ears. The rules are spun on the side as beats and rhymes unite though a different filter of perspective.

After many concurrent listens Ive grown very fond of these instrumentals, they craft there vibe and atmosphere through assembled oddities that find cohesion in moments of overlapping as wild, eerie, eccentric, dark and rampant samples rub up against one another, often appreciating the friction that emerges from the chaos many colliding sounds bring. Percussion and rhythm avoids the tropes of trendy programming or bombastic loops, instead each track samples, or programs, a different flavor that appreciates the craft of the song. The pace keeping often feels minimal and sparse as many subtler sounds litter the backdrop with percussive oddities. In the moments where the drums do come forth and elevate the track they are not what you'd expect from a traditional perspective and that uniqueness goes the distance.

Chemistry is key, impressive as the instrumentals are, Danny is a mark ahead as his intelligent raps seemingly burst from his lungs in the midst of his contagious flow, its as if every word counts. The emotion is anxious, immediate and paranoid, he walks us through his thoughts and life experience with a wildcard persona. Nothing feels for granted as he works what we might called "hooks" into the middle of his lines with all sorts of variety in the flow and dexterous word play that has you hanging on each word. Its an engrossing style with little to criticize, initially he seemed a little raw but as my ears adjusted and I became accustom to his tone more and more of the magic was revealed.

Danny's got rhymes by the boat load but a few tickled me plenty. On the uncompromising oddball track "Lost", Danny proclaims "I'm like Kubrick with two bricks", to latter follow it with "I'm like Speilberg with ill words", loving the imagination here. He also drops mid verse into raps and lines from Slick Rick and Outkast, the second feeling especially relevant in today's world. I felt like there was more to it, but couldn't put my finger on the meaning of their inclusion to his own raps.

"Atrocity Exhibition" is a fantastic and ambitious record that really makes its mark and carves a niche for Danny to rule. Its not without its flaws though, as each track aims to experiment and be unique, a few fall behind in comparison to its better moments. At forty six minutes its track listing feels a touch stretched with a couple of weak tracks in the start and end but it doesn't ruin the experience, just a matter of preference with a few songs. Otherwise its been one of the most impressive and fresh record Ive heard in some time and I can't help but feel it will continue to offer more as time goes by.

Favorite Songs: Tell Me What I Don't Know, Really Doe, Lost, Ain't It Funny, Golddust, White Lines, From The Ground, Hell For It
Rating: 7/10