Welcome to the South Easy
I don’t regret being cynical about the new Danny Brown album Old and it’s a joy to be proved so wrong. Way back in the mists of time when I used to read the British music press one of their well-worn formulae was to say, towards the end of a writeup of any band who’d just been through a phase of rapid artistic growth, ‘just imagine what they’ll do next‘. The implication being that said growth curve would continue and in a couple of years time said artist would redefine pop music. These days I’ve lowered my expectations to the point where I figure if an artist has released a great album the next one probably won’t be much cop at all. In this case a slump after the immaculate XXX seemed even more likely given the formulaic rut he’d sunk into with his cameos.
The key line for me in new single ‘Dope Song‘ is when he sneers at emcees who still rap about selling drugs despite being ten years away from their criminal past. I think that sums up nicely the attitude if the album as a whole, Old is a promise to move on. Not a bold departure, but a statement that Brown is an artist who’s determined not to slacken off creatively. Creatively slacken off, though? That’s a whole other thing. That’s what I’m counting on, actually. A few more spanners in the machinery before he’s rich enough to stop caring.