Danny Brown’s fifth studio album uknowhatimsayin¿ is a breath of fresh air not only for hip-hop but within his own eclectic discography. His albums, consisting of The Hybrid (2010), XXX (2011), Old (2013) and Atrocity Exhibition (2016) have brought a unique blend of introspective, visceral raps as well as some of the most psychedelic production you’ll ever hear on a hip-hop record.
uknowhatimsayin¿ is somewhat of a return to the traditional, boom-bap “old” sound Danny Brown has created back in the early 2010s. Starting with a heavy, Portishead-sampled “Change Up,” the heavy beat and ethereal synths that drive this track forward make it a memorable start to the album. The soulful and off-kilter sample on “Theme Song” is incredible, while the humorous introspective lyricism make this track among others highly enjoyable. The Q-Tip produced singles “Dirty Laundry” and “Best Life” are engaging and soulful, with the latter being one of my favourites on the album because of its upbeat energy. “3 Tearz” is another highlight, featuring Run The Jewels and produced by JPEGMAFIA. The heavy, distorted beat is accompanied by excellent verses from three emcees at the top of their game. I’m incredibly happy seeing Obongjayar featured on two tracks on the album. “Belly of The Beat” is a suffocating, claustrophobic track, wile the Nigerian, London-based singer brings incredibly raw vocals over Paul White production. “uknowhatimsayin¿” has more of a colourful, synth-heavy vibe with Obongjayar killing the vocals again. “Negro Spiritual,” produced by Flying Lotus and Thundercat is another eclectic, fascinating moment, as the bass-heavy track sees Danny rap in his distinctive high-tone raspy voice. His high-pitched vocals are heard a lot less on this album, as he brings a more mellow and chilled tone throughout, bringing the old, introspective and fascinating character back in style. As he mentioned, Danny Brown has gone full circle, and it’s exciting to see him continue to thrive.
uknowhatimsayin¿ is an undeniably great album that sees the Detroit legend continue to push himself and establish himself as one of the greats. Listen to Danny Brown’s new album uknowhatimsayin¿ below via Spotify and don’t forget to support! Released via Warp Records.