Danny Brown is back with a record that combines all of his past personas into one | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Danny Brown is back with a record that combines all of his past personas into one 

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click to enlarge Danny Brown

Danny Brown

Tom Keelan

Danny Brown’s sophomore album, 2011’s XXX, put him on the map—its Adderall- and molly-fueled hyperdrive take on hip-hop merged head-rattling Detroit-techno-flavored production with Brown’s larger-than-life, vulgar-as-hell, over-the-top persona. His relentless, almost cartoonlike rapping helped him make his name, but he’s calmed down a bit over his subsequent albums: 2013’s Old showcases introspective lyrics on its B side, and 2016’s Atrocity Exhibition goes full-on psychedelic, replacing typical hip-hop slaps with heady guitar smears. On Brown’s newest LP, last month’s U Know What I'm Sayin? (Warp), he blends all his past identities into one, and the result is his most cohesive release yet. Brown’s raps are still wacky and hilarious, and he still has his mesmerizing ability to morph words to fit meters—I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to pronounce LinkedIn properly again after hearing his “Link-ed-In” check on “Savage Nomad.” The production on U Know What I'm Sayin? skews dark and eerie, and the whole thing gives off a hazy, smoky feel that recalls Cypress Hill. It’s been close to a decade since Brown first landed at the forefront of modern hip-hop with his rapid-fire rhymes and idiosyncratic energy, and no matter which direction he explores, he can do no wrong.   v

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