ALBUM OF THE DAY: Danny Brown — “Old”; review by Tom Silver

For the past four years I’ve had the same answer to “If you could be one person in all of history, who would you be?”

Danny Fuckin’ Brown

Starting as a relatively underground rapper from Detroit, Brown is now, without a doubt, the most unique and transcendent figure in modern hip-hop. He is an enigma. A man who can get his dick sucked onstage mid-song at a live performance, and the next moment can model for GQ and Mark McNairy. He is the mature man’s crazy fuck. The Ol’ Dirty Bastard for those who have outgrown the shock-value of Odd-Future’s fluffy horror-core rapping.

Move over Yeezus; Danny is the new God, and I pray to him every day.

In the past year or so we have seen Mr. Brown release his single Grown Up, a catchy and rhythmic anthem on his rise from Detroit gutter to glitzy fame. To continue the image of an aging rapper his junior album has been dubbed (and rightfully so) Old. And let’s face it, Danny Brown is pretty fucking old for a rapper. In a decade filled with young pretty boys like A$AP Rocky, Earl Sweatshirt (I guess I’m using “pretty” figuratively with this guy), and Chance, the Rapper, rappers over 30 are scarce and ultimately hard to take seriously.

Old gives us a Danny Brown that was seldom heard in his last album (XXX), a man aware of his mortality. This awareness seems to both humble him and at the same time give him an excuse to live to the excess life that he perfectly embodies. In short, Old is an audible manifestation of his sex and drug filled mid-life crisis. Two starkly different sides of Danny are presented on this double-sided album compilation. In Side-A we see the mature Danny, the Danny who does not constantly have his tongue in his cheek. In songs like “Lonely” and “Clean Up,” Brown ditches his nasally voice for a more mature one. He discusses the darker side of his life, including growing up in Detroit and finally being too old for certain illicit substances. Most of the songs on Side-A are produced by long-time affiliate Paul White, which explains the trance-like rhythms.
Departing from calm Danny, we quickly return to the drug fiend-ing, pussy loving Danny we have come to love in Side-B of Old. This side starts with what could be the best song on the album (“Dope Song”) and keeps hitting with bangers like “Kush Coma” and “Smokin and Drinkin.” Where Paul White goes mellow, SKYWLKR produces a good amount of the good stuff on this side of the album. Given that this album is his real first launch into mainstream fame, it’s a breathe of fresh air to see that not too many featured artists crowd the track-list (a feature that is all too common in popular rap albums today).

Saying you should obtain this album is like saying you should breathe air or eat three meals a day.
Get it.
Love it.
Praise Danny Brown.

-Tom Silver