ALBUM REVIEW: Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition

by Benny P
“I’m hooked.”

That was my instant reaction to the opening moments of Danny Brown’s latest album Atrocity Exhibition. He begins the project with a nasally recollection of his recent escapades and fame – aptly titled ‘Downward Spiral.’ It’s chaotic, it’s rough and it’s 100% the style of Danny Brown that I love to hear. Honest, raw, unforgiving and incredibly unique hip hop.

From there, we are taken on a trip inside Danny’s warped (no pun intended), yet genius, mind. Tracks like ‘From the Ground,’ ‘Tell Me What I Don’t Know’ and ‘Hell For It’ showcase his more slowed-down side, in which he reflects on his past memories of Detroit and his current place in the hip hop scene. Others such as ‘Dance in the Water,’ ‘Ain’t it Funny’ and ‘When it Rain’ display Danny’s love for loud, brash production and are sure to keep the listener’s body moving.

Then they’re the tracks that are almost too diverse to describe. Songs like ‘Pneumonia’ and ‘Lost’ are some of the best Danny has ever dropped, each showcasing an array of different sounds. There’s even a fantastic stoner anthem with B-Real, a simply nasty posse cut featuring three of the genre’s finest on a Black Milk beat, and a smooth collab with South African singer Petite Noir. And, no matter what direction the Detroit MC takes us in sonically, he always brings it in the lyrics department. His punchlines, wordplay and storytelling are they best they’ve ever been (“I’m like Kubrick with two bricks!” c’monnnn), and Danny’s verses on the project are top-notch front to back.

As a whole, Atrocity Exhibition shines. Brown stands cigarette-in-mouth atop a pile of broken liquor bottles, smashed vinyl records and torn-open Trojan packets – basking in his own hedonism with a crown resting crookedly on his head. This album is the grime of Danny’s grime and there’s no going back. Even if we’re going to Hell itself for it. A true celebration of the features, fetishes and faults that have helped make Danny Brown one of this generation’s top rap artists.

To conclude, this album brings me great joy. It’s almost funny to think of Danny relaxing at his home in the Michigan woods, lounging in his favorite robe and pinky ring combo. Here is an avid Joy Division fan who socializes with deer and watches Arsenal football games for fun – but you could never guess it from the music. We instead get to witness a man unhinged, delivering a disgustingly captivating performance every time he touches the mic. An atrocious exhibition indeed.

Favorite Songs: Tell Me What I Don’t Know, Lost, Pneumonia, Really Doe, Hell For It, Get Hi, Downward Spiral, When it Rain

A- (88/100)

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