The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

Newsletter Signup

Get our news delivered straight to your inbox every week.

* indicates required

Danny Brown brings new with ‘Old’

Danny Brown brings new with Old


Critical rap darling Kendrick Lamar made waves recently with his verse on Big Sean’s “Control.” Lamar challenged a number of his peers, including A$AP Rocky and Drake, to get on his artistic level.

He didn’t mention left-field rap icon Danny Brown. While this is likely due to time constraints, it’s tempting to think it’s because Brown could “murder” Lamar at his own game.

Granted, Brown’s helium-tinged yelp and quirky production choices place him in an entirely different realm than Lamar’s take on East Coast rap.

At 33, Brown is well established in the rap game with acclaimed mixtapes, show-stealing guest verses and an amped-up live show. He brings his strengths and a number of modern twists to his first solo studio album, “Old.”

The first half of “XXX” was full of drug-addled debauchery and the second full of intense introspection. On “Old,” the halves are switched, with the rumination first and the party-starters closing the album in style.

Opener “Side A (Old)” sports the hook “They want that old Danny Brown.” It’s a triple entendre; encompassing his old rap style, his history in drug dealing and his current, mature artistic sensibilities.

Highlights abound in the killer first half, including the totally off-the-wall “The Return,” the psychedelic one-two punch of “Wonderbread” and “Gremlins” and a beat by synth-pop duo Purity Ring on “25 Bucks.”

When inward-looking tracks “Clean Up” and “Red 2 Go” come to a close, it feels like the end of a satisfying, complete arc that directly addresses the humanity behind Brown’s madcap, pill-popping persona.

While the party songs on “XXX” featured queasy, off-putting beats, Side B of “Old” overflows with huge bass hits, neon synths and skittering hi-hats that are immediately appealing.

The album’s two halves also bleed into each other. “Kush Coma” scans as a stoner anthem but is clearly about depression. Closer “Float On” is one of the album’s best tracks, returning to the down-tempo style of Side A for a nice summation of the album’s themes.

“Old” is an exhausting listen at 56 minutes, and could do without its few misses – “Dope Fiend Rental” and “Smokin and Drinkin” stand out in particular. Brown’s extremely eccentric range of flows is also certainly not for everyone.

That said, “Old” is a very enjoyable rap release thanks to its impressively diverse themes, truly innovative beats and Brown’s lyrical precision.

Rating: four out of five stars

REVIEW: COLIN MOORE, Senior A&E Reporter

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Appalachian
$1371
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

We hope you appreciate this article! Before you move on, our student staff wanted to ask if you would consider supporting The Appalachian's award-winning journalism. We are celebrating our 90th anniversary of The Appalachian in 2024!

We receive funding from the university, which helps us to compensate our students for the work they do for The Appalachian. However, the bulk of our operational expenses — from printing and website hosting to training and entering our work into competitions — is dependent upon advertising revenue and donations. We cannot exist without the financial and educational support of our fellow departments on campus, our local and regional businesses, and donations of money and time from alumni, parents, subscribers and friends.

Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest, both on campus and within the community. From anywhere in the world, readers can access our paywall-free journalism, through our website, through our email newsletter, and through our social media channels. Our supporters help to keep us editorially independent, user-friendly, and accessible to everyone.

If you can, please consider supporting us with a financial gift from $10. We appreciate your consideration and support of student journalism at Appalachian State University. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, or if you would prefer to make a recurring monthly gift, please give to The Appalachian Student News Fund through the university here: https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1727/cg20/form.aspx?sid=1727&gid=2&pgid=392&cid=1011&dids=418.15&bledit=1&sort=1.

Donate to The Appalachian
$1371
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Appalachian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *