Though plenty of rappers get labeled “alternative,” Danny Brown seems to embody the notion, growing, ever since the breakout success of 2011 sophomore effort XXX, to become one of the most interesting, critical beloved, and unpredictable forces in hip hop. Over the past several years, Danny has has helped bridge the gap between mainstream rap and the weirder, off-kilter, and refreshingly unique subset of artists bucking conventions and paving new ground. Raised and wholly influenced by Detroit, Brown always harbored dreams of becoming a rapper, but it wasn’t until a failed few years of small-time drug dealing and a subsequent incarceration that he began to get serious. Early G-Unit associations helped Danny get his start, but his style and image didn’t mesh with that crew (he’s been rocking skinny jeans and rocker clothes since before Kanye helped make it cool at a widespread level), and, subsequently he signed to A-Trak’s more alternative and hip minded Fool’s Gold Records. A talented and technical rapper, Brown’s flow is as free-spirited as his image, wavering from high-pitched, intense screeching to more conventional and cool rhyming. Where he really shines, however, is in his far-reaching gift for smart, gritty, and relatable lyricism, coupled with a sharp and unbeatable sense of humor.
Danny’s 2013 effort, Old, took a more serious tone and boosted his appeal, but it’s the rapper’s latest, Atrocity Exhibition, which perfectly reconciles all sides of his personality and artistry, that seems to embody everything that makes him so essential. Featuring guests like Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Earl Sweatshirt, B-Real, Kelela and Petite Noir, and drawing widespread and resounding critical acclaim, the album marks Brown’s first effort for Warp Records, named for and inspired by both the Joy Division album and J. G. Ballard novel the same name, and produced largely produced by Paul White. Easily a short-list contender for one of 2016’s best releases, Brown is currently out on the Exhibition Tour to support his latest effort, and will be stopping in Nashville tonight, Oct. 26 for a performance at Exit/In with Maxo Kream and Zeeloperz. Unsurprisingly, tickets just sold out at the last minute, so if you didn’t grab yours quick, you’ll have to wait until the enigmatic rapper makes a return visit to Music City.
Known for wild, engaging shows and a presence that’s equal parts rock star and rap star, Danny Brown in a must-see live force, and if you happened to snag tickets for this one in time, you’re in for what’s sure to be one of the best shows of the fall! Get a taste with Brown’s latest video, for “Pneumonia,” below!