Old by Danny Brown Makes Us Want to Check In to Rehab


After once through Old, the first proper album by Detroit rapper Danny Brown, we felt nauseous, dizzy and disoriented.  The whole record is a blur of nights filled with Molly and booze, blunts and pills.  Some of it is fun.  The tracks with the trademark Danny Brown, high-pitched, nasally voice are when he's at his best, dropping ghetto-ass rhymes with his signature sense of humor.  

"Blowjobs from model twins

doing drugs with acronyms

so many lines thought that shit was Busch Garden

Party startin monster with the hair like Blanka

Hotel room like a hair metal concert" 

                                               -"Red 2 Go"

Lines that can only rhyme with that drawl he's perfected.  Brown is heralded as the second coming of Ol' Dirty Bastard.  The similarities are pretty uncanny.  Raw, uncouth, rhymes from nuthin, vulgar-even-for-gangsta-rap styles. Grimy personas.  Brown even released a teaser song/video for this album named "ODB".  

Overall, its a fun album.  Decent, modern beats from producers and collaborators like Purity Ring, Paul White, SKYWLKR, Scrufizzer (pretty dope rasta-style rapper from West London), and Schoolboy Q.  But EVERY SINGLE SONG is all about getting high on something.  Gets old after a bit.  Good party music, obviously, but can't bump that all day in the headphones.  

Why didn't the teaser track make the album?  That beat was innovative and gnarly. With that track on the album as well as songs like "Wonderbread", which has a triplets feel in the beat, causing Brown to rhyme in almost 6/4 time, something you never hear in rap, the record could have been truly innovative, Instead, its just an ode to drug life. 

Brown shows flashes of artisanship.  "25 Bucks", the track featuring Purity Ring, is one of the better tracks.   Its honest and real, with a good hook and less about drugs and more about growing up poor.  Or "Clean Up', the almost exact middle of the album where he seems to be almost lamenting his constantly being fucked up and is missing his estranged daughter.  More tracks like this could do Danny Brown good, but he loves his Molly and blunts.  And that's cool.  we just can't ride with that every time.  

Brown has it in him to be an innovator, artist and trendsetter, but he seems a lot like the kid in class that you know is really smart, he's just so focused on trying to be funny and seem cool that he can't ever try to do anything worthwhile.  Let's hope he figures out how to capture the "genius" part of "mad genius" before he ODs on Molly and never fulfills that potential, like ODB.