Danny Brown Exhibits Atrocity

According to Danny Brown, Danny Brown has no competition. The Detroit rapper has one of the most unique voice and flows in hip hop today or ever. It has been just over three years since the virtuoso released a full album–though Brown has appeared on various albums, including the single from the Avalanches’ Wildflower. Now, Atrocity Exhibition is available on vinyl. The translucent red wax features some of Danny Brown’s most infectious raps and ambitious beats.

Though Brown wrote most of the album in his Detroit home, some of its strongest moments happen when the rapper teams up with fellow masters of his craft. One of these moments is in the track, “Really Doe.” Featuring Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, and Earl Sweatshirt, the song is built from minor and dissonant beats. While the instrumentals layer over scratching, a feast of rappers flow post-modern. Danny Brown begins the song with his spitfire delivery before Kendrick Lamar waxes conversational and Earl Sweatshirt growls his verse.

As shown above, Brown’s mastery resides both in penning fresh lyrics and being a musical architect. In Atrocity Exhibition, Brown again and again shows his strengths at combining and tearing asunder beats and tracks–collaging different aesthetics to make a soup of styles that is impossible to place specifically within the different camps of hip hop. Burning through verbal lightning in songs like “Ain’t it Funny” and “Golddust” and slinking through the grooves of tracks like “White Lines” and “Pneumonia,” Danny Brown keeps the album variegated without it feeling incoherent or scattered.

Throughout Atrocity Exhibition, Danny Brown laces his songs with surprises. One of those comes in “Dance In The Water.” Reverbed and poppy, “Dance In The Water,” aesthetically, is far from being universally safe. Perhaps, this could be the one criticism of the track (and the album as a whole). That said, the song is anthemic and, if released in the summer, would easily be the soundtrack of heated debauchery. Released in the fall, the track might be overlooked, yet as it is, “Dance In The Water” has a weird heat that is intriguing even to the most casual hip hop fan.

Overall, Danny Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition is edging close to the artful strangeness of rappers like Busdriver or Death Grips without biting any style. From start to finish, Brown refuses to comprise his voice and vision–rapping some of his best verses and arranging tracks near perfectly. The album is equal parts traditional spitfire hip hop and pitch-shifted samples, angular raps and smooth lyrical quilt work. Whether you’re a fan of Danny Brown’s previous releases or new to the Detroit rapper, Atrocity Exhibition has something to hook the noise crowd, EDM circles, or more traditional hip hop aficionados.

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