Ever since I started listening to Danny Brown in like 2015, I've been a fan of almost everything he puts out. He hasn't made a bad album yet in my view and he is constantly challenging himself on each release. From the nostalgia and reflection of XXX to the drugged-out parade that was Atrocity Exhibition, Danny keeps things fresh.
What slightly changed my view on Danny was an appearance on the podcast The Church of What's Happening Now from 2016 or 2017. He fit right into the show. I was expecting the whole "vibe" of the show to be different, as a rapper hanging with comedians can turn out to be pretty interesting, especially when that rapper is someone as flamboyant and charismatic as Danny Brown. But it was a fantastic conversation. Danny talked about his admiration for comedians and how he wants to bring the kind of energy often found in stand-up comedy into his music. The whole show really gave me a new perspective on how different art forms influence each other, improving the final product.
So, its safe to say that I was intrigued when uknowhatimsayin? was announced. Executive production from a hip hop icon, Pryor-influenced cover design, and "bringing together Danny's love of music and comedy." Its been out for about 2 weeks now and I've given the album 2 good, full listens. uknowhatimsayin? is Danny Brown's easiest album to digest. At 34 minutes and 11 tracks, it is Danny's most brief LP; a choice that is nice to see in an age where albums have been getting longer and longer to boost those streaming numbers. Though short, nothing is unfinished or used as filler. These songs hold up on their own, out of context from the LP, but that is not to say that they don't fit together cohesively.
The production is my favorite part of uknowhatimsayin? With Dirty Laundry as the first single, it put a taste in my mouth akin to a watered-down Ain't It Funny. Less abrasive, less layered, and more structured than most of Atrocity Exhibition, much of uknowhatimsayin? sounds like the best parts of XXX being rolled in the least wild aspects of AE. Best Life & Dirty Laundry are probably my favorite of the beats here, but Belly of the Beast doesn't fuck around either.
Lyrically, uknowhatimsayin? probably is Danny's weakest effort. You can tell he's laid waaaay back on the adderall, but that is for the best and I don't mean that as a jab. Amphetamines are bad. The lyrics tend to get a little buried in the concepts and beats, however this is still a Danny Brown album, so its got no shortage of humorous one-liners and figurative language.
As soon as I heard Danny quote Joey Diaz in the Dirty Laundry video ("I'm gonna be livin' like a doctah!!") I knew this album would be awesome. And it is. Its not breaking new ground, its not topping charts, but it is progressing hip hop as an art form. In the days of absolutely brain dead trap and pop, its nice to hear some music that had some thought put into it.
fav tracks: Best Life, Dirty Laundry (standout), 3 Tearz, Belly of the Beast, Shine