By Saebean Yi,
uknowhatimsayin¿ is the successful celebration to Danny Brown’s 10-year anniversary in the hip-hop scene.
Danny Brown is a unique figure in the hip-hop industry. His idiosyncratic vocals and production are so unparalleled, it often discourages many from being able to truly enjoy the music.
The real appeal of Danny Brown, though, stems from the intensity of his lyrics. This surreal style of rapping brings out how manic Danny Brown truly is, but concurrently, shows his hedonistic nature and true love for hip-hop.
This project was long anticipated, as Danny Brown had announced it almost two years ago, in November 2017, after the release of his most critically acclaimed album, Atrocity Exhibition. Around the same time, it was announced that Q-Tip would be the main producer for this album, which sparked a lot of interest in fans.
Q-Tip, a hip-hop producer most famously known for being in the ’90s group, A Tribe Called Quest, would effectively change the course of the album, since it would deviate from the usual punk and psych-rock production Danny Brown would frequently rap over.
It proved to be the right decision by satiating the cravings fans have longed for. The new production gives listeners an unorthodox combination of jazz instrumentals with Danny Brown’s cadence, which oddly works.
The first impression of this album is that it is much less personal and doesn’t have as heavy of an atmosphere as projects Atrocity Exhibition and his 2011 album XXX did.
Atrocity Exhibition’s recurring element was Danny Brown’s “downward spiral” in life and how he was stuck in a “rut.” In uknowhatimsayin¿, he seems to be more carefree and as he described it, a “stand-up comedy album.”
Some highlights of the album include: “Savage Nomad,” “Negro Spiritual (feat. JPEGMAFIA)” and “Best Life.”
“Savage Nomad,” appropriately named after the South African gang, is a brutal and vulgar track, which features a comedic aspect to it, by adding samples of audience laughter and humorous lyrics. The track doesn’t have much of a serious message, but his genius writing and upbeat production is what allows it to stand out.
“Negro Spiritual” features New York rapper JPEGMAFIA on the chorus, where Danny Brown raps about his career up until now, with some hints of decadence slipping from his verses. Again, the production on this track is mindblowing, with Thundercat’s bass thumping with excitement while Flying Lotus contains the bass from overpowering the beat with well placed drums.
“Best Life,” is the most unique track off uknowhatimsayin¿, as it features a calm and soulful beat, which is quite different from the usual gritty instrumentals he delivers over. Aside from the production, this song also provokes the most sentiment, as Danny Brown talks about his dysfunctional and rough upbringing which eventually led him to becoming who he is now.
While uknowhatimsayin¿ lacks the emotion prevalent in Atrocity Exhibition, it still easily cements itself as one of the best albums this year. Danny Brown just keeps adding masterpieces to his discography. Even with his overly grim style, his ingenuity will captivate any fan of experimental music.