Footnotes: Danny Brown

Photographer Ross Mantle
February 23, 2012

Footnotes is the section in our magazine where we take a deeper look at the music surrounding our feature artists. Read Duncan Cooper's FADER #78 cover feature on Danny Brown here, and check out our notes below.

Danny Brown, “The Hybrid” The Hybrid Deluxe Edition (Rappers I Know, 2011)
Before Danny Brown became known as the dude with weird hair who—oh yeah—also has a crazy voice and raps like he’s possessed, he was actually pretty much already that, only fewer people cared. Strangely, “The Hybrid” didn’t show up on the original version of the album of the same name and instead appeared on the 2011 rerelease, just before his rebirth into rap’s new, weird landscape. It is a perfect encapsulation of what Brown does so well. He raps about his shoes, drops a Les Nubians reference and makes smoking weed seem like the most glamorous thing anyone could do. He constructs a world around himself, and even at this point, before he was getting the kind of attention he’s getting now, he made that flawed, normal place one worth inhabiting. SHS

Stream: Danny Brown, "The Hybrid"

Danny Brown, “30” XXX (Fool’s Gold, 2011)
Every time Jay-Z talks about his age it is a disaster. He has adult sandals and a gardener or whatever. He sounds like he is bragging about getting a discount on salad bowls at Sur La Table. Is that the only way to mature in hip-hop? Though not quite as old, at 30, Danny Brown is certainly a village elder by rap standards. His song “30” tackles the hardships of being secure enough to even begin to have something to brag about. Though he’s always told himself that he is “the greatest rapper ever,” “30” demonstrates that self-esteem and success are not mutually exclusive. He imagines himself dead from a prescription pill overdose, but at bare minimum, he celebrates that it hasn’t happened. It’s sardonic—his version of uphill to school both ways is particularly cold and real. But he also gets in a reference to having a big dong. It’s a mixed bag, and bless him for it. MS

Download: Danny Brown, "30"

Tony Yayo and Danny Brown, Hawaiian Snow (G-Unit Records, 2010)
Tony Yayo, never called G-Unit’s most technically gifted rapper, may be the conglomerate’s most open-hearted. Presumably because he has fun rapping with other comfortably strange rappers, he made Hawaiian Snow with Danny Brown, who raps circles around him. Propelled by minimal, slapping drums, the tape comes across like a concept album about holed-up buddy criminals, smoking weed and talking about their shoes to pass the time. Yayo plays the cool, calm and collected uncle and Danny plays the young, spastic sidekick. NZ

Stream: Danny Brown, "Cyclops"

Footnotes: Danny Brown