Review: Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition

danny-brown-atrocity-exhibitionDanny Brown‘s rise to become one of the most talked about MC’s in today’s hip-hop game is a little surprising considering his eccentric style and musical choices that are often the complete opposite of the traditional sound pioneered in the nineties. That being said, he’s still a talented wordsmith who has delivered some excellent projects including 2013’s Old and its 2011 precursor XXX. Brown makes his mark in 2016 with Atrocity Exhibition, and he pushes the boundaries once again, resulting in one of the most exciting releases of the year.

The off-kilter, glitchy Downward Spiral is a perfect reintroduction to Danny Brown’s leftfield style and experimental attitude that has made him one of the most talked about MC’s of the recent generation of spitters. The Detroit rapper prides himself on interesting music that pushes the boundaries, and Atrocity Exhibition capitalises on this from the word go. The arty, thought-provoking material on here takes Danny outside of the traditional box once more, and his charisma and excellent musical ear keep the album equally surprising and entertaining.

“Danny Brown continues his exciting growth, and with each release he experiments more freely and more successfully.”

Really Doe features Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Earl Sweatshirt, and with a line-up like that it’s easy to see how it took the online world by storm when it was released a week or so before the album’s due date. Fire verses are delivered by each MC, and with lyricists of this calibre operating in today’s scene it’s impossible to claim that real hip-hop doesn’t have a platform to speak from. Lost follows, and the grimy, jazzy slow-roller is an early highlight with cocky flows from the Detroit MC and production from California beatsmith Playa Haze.

With unashamedly weird soundscapes such as the ones found on White Lines and Pneumonia, it’s clear that Danny Brown had no intention of crafting a straight up hip-hop LP; utilising electronica influences and harsh, off-kilter sounds throughout Atrocity Exhibition makes it undeniably interesting and exciting, even if some of the experimentation does have an impact on the replay value of some of its cuts.

The penultimate track Get Hi features legendary Cypress Hill frontman B-Real, and the slow-moving, jazzy production is a perfect match for the two charismatic voices. With distinctive flows, tones and styles, this partnership is one that works fantastically over a beat produced by British musician Paul White. The subtle piano-laced Hell For It is the album’s closing track, and Danny’s energetic, lively performance rounds off the album perfectly.

Danny Brown continues his exciting growth, and with each release he experiments more freely and more successfully. Atrocity Exhibition is weird, and proudly so; it might not be for your stuck-in-the-nineties fan, but in today’s world of wide ranging influences and a concentration on charisma and personality, the Detroit MC is pulling in fans from the world over.

Words: Sam Bennett

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