Daily Listen-Danny Brown-XXX

“XXX,” the introduction to Detroit rapper Danny Brown’s 2011 album of the same name (Fool’s Gold Records), is also the perfect introduction to Brown himself. A former drug dealer who spent time in prison, Brown mixes a madcap sense of humor with a manic sense of desperation while telling his vivid stories of poverty and debauchery. After opening this track with vulgar wordplay referencing a famous cartoon character’s musical instrument, he paints himself as a crazed genius toiling away in solitude, looking for the perfect musical formula to hit it big. The stakes are astronomical; Brown himself bluntly states, “If this shit don’t work […] I failed at life.” I’m sure he was feeling absolutely no pressure while recording XXX, the title of which references his age at the time, well beyond when most successful rappers break out. By the end of the track, he’s addressing his self-medicated final straw mentality: “It’s the downward spiral/Got me suicidal/But too scared to do it, so these pills will be the rifle.” I get chills every time I hear that line; it’s so grim, yet so artfully stated. The menacing instrumental, replete with piano and string flourishes, only adds to the song’s gritted-teeth intensity. Even non hip-hop fans will be able to appreciate “XXX.”

Find more of Danny Brown’s (early) music on Datpiff.com: https://www.datpiff.com/mixtapes-search?criteria=danny%20brown&sort=relevance

(Some) later stuff can be found on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/danny-brown-official

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