By Bethany Marris, Deputy digital editor
This week, rap anomaly Danny Brown released his eighth studio album; U Know What I’m Sayin?. The record follows 2016’s critically acclaimed Atrocity Exhibition, an often chaotic sonic depiction of drug abuse, growing up in Detroit and maintaining positive through all the glitches life brings.
Goofy and unapologetically infantile, the unique personal image that Brown has conjured over the years has enabled the rapper to rotate within in his own realm. In an industry saturated with intimidating demeanours and unflinching facades, Brown’s success through his wacky yet eerie brand of alternative hip-hop has garnered him a loyal following of critics and fans alike.
Never short of big names eager to collaborate; his previous two albums have boasted some of the biggest names in the rap game, including the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul and schoolboy Q. Also enriched by a host of contemporary talent, Sunday’s release features Blood Orange, Obongjayar, Run the Jewels and JPEGMAFIA. Such artists are exciting to see, representing a shift away from the strictly-hip-hop lineups that Brown has curated in the past.
Where Atrocity Exhibition is a concoction of glistening percussion on tracks such as ‘Really Doe’, rhythmic sirens on ‘Ain’t it Funny’ and dark, plodding baselines on ‘White Lines’, U Know What I’m Saying? feels significantly more collected, symphonic and orchestral. Furthermore, Q-Tip’s role in executive producing the record maintains apparent throughout. Whether through The Abstract’s influence or not, Brown’s bombastic bars, in parts, have given way to a calm, more calculated flow. At almost 40 years old, Brown unmistakably remains in the prime of his career, instrumentally and lyrically evolving with every new release.