Review Summary: "Danny. Party's over you gotta go man... Danny? Danny?!?"
XXX is a sick twisted carnival of truth that you've never visited before, a man with a strange haircut, messed up teeth, and a sinister top hat whose name tag says "Dannny" has been assigned as your tour guide. He takes your ticket, throws it in his mouth, swallows and smiles at you. Welcome.
The first 12 tracks are the fun parts of the carnival, and they’re still terrifying. Weed is served in giant cotton candy bushels (“Blunt After Blunt”), the girls are ready to be rode at all times if you got the tongue for it (“I Will”), the woozy beats are the rides and you puke constantly because of them. Handfuls of drugs are shoved down your throat and all drinks in the party are straight vodka or some other gut punch of a liquor and using a chaser (if you can find anything) gets your ass beat by the freak show (“Bruiser Brigade”). Danny peers down at you from his top hat, “What the f*** I got to lie for?” he says, and it’s that terrifying honesty that carries this record. Part one of XXX is about the best parts of Danny’s life, the most fun he can have in his Detroit ghetto wonderland and he takes such giddy joy in relaying them to you. “Ready to hit the studio and s*** all on your mixtapes… Naw literally, s*** on all your mixtapes!” You laugh at it cause he laughs at it, but something feels off.
Danny takes you to his main office and starts doing drugs with you while This Heat plays in the club downstairs. He looks up from his pile of pills and proclaims himself the "Adderall Admiral". You chuckle nervously and try to relax. Facedown in his pile he says,
“Rewind this and just smoke to it.”
He is not talking about the song. He is talking about the whole album. It’s a warning; things are about to stop being fun. Instantly after that line the curtain is pulled back and the illusion is gone. Everyone sits around in a weed haze, too depressed to move, the girls sob helplessly for their wasted life (“Nosebleeds”, “Party All the Time”), people blame their families for the way they are (“DNA”), members of the Brigade become humans again, with families to mourn them. It’s horrifying to look at it. But Danny. Just. Keeps. Going. The tone is tragic now, but he keeps telling their story with the same phenomenal wordplay, the empty parts of the landscape become symbols of broken homes and trashed potential (“Fields”), and the set repping that was so celebratory not that long ago is now a tragic reminder of everyone that’s been hurt by those gangs (“EWNESW”). Nothing seems fun anymore. You want to go home, you want your mommy, you want something to tell you everything is going to be fine, but Danny just keeps dragging you through it because he knows that sometimes it isn't. It hits the bottom when you, Danny, and his family start stealing aluminum siding and the computers straight out of already resource stricken schools just to survive (“Scrap or Die”).
But wait! It’s all a ride, Danny smiles at you, he knows, and you’re just in time for the firework show. And holy hell, “30” is one of the most amazing album closers I have ever heard. It is a jaw dropping charge back through the album, back through time, into the future, it roars of life and possibility. It screams to be heard, “But I always told myself, that it’s going to get better. You know who you is? You the GREATEST. RAPPER. EVER!” His confidence shoots through the fireworks and blinds you, even if you don’t believe him outright, you believe that he can do it. You believe that he believes he can do it. You believe in Danny Brown, I sure as hell do. After all, what the f*** does Danny have to lie for?