Once I heard Danny Brown's off-kilter flow on “Contra” I entrusted that he meant it when he said, “I'm brainstorming on how I'm gon run it.” His debut The Hybrid delivers the goods.
Detroit can never seem to properly cultivate the renaissance in rap it deserves. I'm too disconnected from the scene to comment further on the D's disjointed scene, but the talent is in the streets. It's not from a lack of collaboration, I might have never heard Danny Brown had Elzhi not put “Contra” (a Brown song) on his The Leftovers Unmixedtape. Black Milk produces for the entire city, it seems, but my guess is the media won't be talking about the D like it celebrates LA in 2010, myself included.
Danny Brown could not have picked a better name to describe his record. Brown is a cyborg of Detroit rap styles. He's got a screw loose in his stream of consciousness bars, crack recipes juxtaposed with madcap lyrics akin to the D-12 shock value, but no gimmicks here. Danny Brown sounds dead honest when he says, “the only thing I give a bitch… a fucking orgasm,” but more importantly he raps “I rap like I bet my life, cuz in all actuality, n**** I did!” For once, we do believe you, no need for back up from your people.
The short-coming of Brown's predecessors is always the departure from a comfort zone of battle raps and street stories. So many have faltered trying to prove a range in consciousness that just ain't there. Brown ain't exactly conscious like Common, but he questions the hypocrisy of our pill addictions on “Generation Rx,” weighing the pros and cons of prescriptions. “Got a n**** focused / feelin' alright / with this type of feeling I can write all night / I never had a problem with paying attention / pop the Adderall then wrote a verse a minute… fags take hormones to grow a set of titties / got a pill to make your dick hard when you're 60 / now tell me, do that add up G, when they lock your ass away for a dime bag of weed? / teen girls take birth control / killing off the seeds / got her lookin' 20 when she only 15 / they got illegal ones like X and mescaline / my homie took one, now he's doing 15.”
With production from Danny! Swain, Chuck Inglish, Mainframe and a slew of upcoming beatsmiths whose names I do not recognize, Brown proves he's keyed into a sound that best fits his style. He's balanced in a manner that will appeal to the streets, peddling CDs out of his trunk, but if Tom Breihan hears this record on a good day, Brown could easily get that hipster cred from Pitchfork that The Clipse and Freddie Gibbs enjoy. So quit waxing off on the same four rappers and get your ear to the streets, Tom!
The Hybrid is out now on Rappers I Know.
The record is available for download here.