Danny Brown is peaking from behind a colorful screen in front of other colorful screens. On the left side it says, vertically, uknowhatimsayin¿ by Danny Brown

In Anticipation of uknowhatimsayin¿

By Kevin Baxter
Music Journalist

Artist: Danny Brown
Album: uknowhatimsayin¿
Label: Warp
Website: https://uknowhatimsayin.com/

I’ll always remember the first time I heard Danny Brown’s high-pitched sporadic flow. It took me a second to really get into his unique sound, but once I grew accustomed to his unusual beat choices and unpredictable flow, I fell in love with his music. Danny Brown knocked it out of the park with his last album Atrocity Exhibition, released in 2016. This album is a dark and haze-y experimental hip-hop album with beats you would never imagine someone rapping over.

 As great as Atrocity Exhibition is, the cost of all of the samples on the album put Brown in debt. Through the creation of the album, Brown decided to pay for all of the samples out of pocket, which ended up costing him $70k. Although the album got high ratings, the sales did not make up for this amount of money spent. This put a delay on any future projects and made it difficult to start the process of creating another album without the help of a producer.

Three years later, Brown is set to release his fifth studio album, uknowhatimsayin¿, with Q-Tip as the main producer. Q-Tip is known for his work as the head producer for the ‘90s jazz influenced hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest. Last Thursday, the first single from the new album was released, “Dirty Laundry”, which is an energetic song filled with many references to Danny Brown’s “dirty laundry” from his past. The song consists of Brown telling ridiculous stories, mostly having to do with sex and/or drugs, from his past whilst sticking with the theme. Always tying the stories back to doing the laundry suggest that he doesn’t feel any regret or embarrassment from the stories but sees these experiences as nothing more than doing the laundry.

The beat of this song sounds pretty different than most of Brown’s past tracks. It feels brighter and more electronic with a funky beat and raspy synths. Lacking the dark and cloudy feel from his previous albums. I’m sure much of this is due to the fact that Q-Tip is the main producer of the album and Danny Brown is letting him do his thing. There is also less use of samples, which would make sense due to Danny Brown’s previous experience with spending all of his money on clearing samples for the last album.

The new sound expressed in this single shows an exciting new direction for Brown’s music. With Q-tip producing the album and Brown seeming to be in a less depressed headspace, it seems that uknowhatimsayin¿ is going to consist of a more upbeat sound with comically  obscene lyrics, which Brown is a pro at.uknowhatimsayin¿ with all of it’s exciting features will be available on October 4th. JPEGMAFIA, Obonjayar, Run The Jewels and Blood Orange will all be featured on the album. After listening to the single, I look forward to seeing the evolution of Danny Brown’s sound. He has always taken risks and experimented with his writing style and selection of beats. Although the instrumental is brighter than the usual, Browns’s writing is still as crazy as ever. I would definitely recommend checking out this album to anyone that has enjoyed Brown’s previous work or is just a fan of hip hop.

Featured image by Daniel Sewell.

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