Danny Brown
uknowhatimsayin¿


3.7
great

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
October 13th, 2019 | 59 replies


Release Date: 10/04/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Joke's on us, and Danny's the one laughing.

Danny Brown raps like he's from the future and burns through formulae like packets of cigs, so it's only natural that at some point he would deliver his most shocking change of style yet: a laidback 90s jazz rap vibe that brings out the hip-hop classicist in his hyper-modern style. From my perspective it's the smart move. It was getting hard not to feel that lyrics and production had become mismatched; Old's poppier concerns played host to some of Danny's darkest lyrics in a way that was sometimes brilliant and often confusing, whereas Atrocity Exhibition's aural insanity came at the price of the rapper falling back on simplistic and uninventive rhymes. uknowhatimsayin¿ induces a sea change when The Hybrid and The Abstract connect, and it's the most inspired odd couple pairing since Madlib and Freddie Gibbs.

Brown still raps like he's from the future, it's just a timeline less removed from ours where Tribe Called Quest nostalgia and retro instrumentation is fully in vogue. Of course, this being Danny Brown we're never getting an easy meal, and some of the best moments see him shaking it up once again. "Belly of the Beast" is one of his funniest ever songs, true evidence of the 'stand-up comedy album' he claimed uknowhatimsayin¿ would be, yet the side-splitting rhymes are delivered in a hazed-out murmur over Paul White's most ethereal production. "3 Tearz" is the most surefire crowd-pleaser since "Really Doe", but throws Run The Jewels over a lumpen beat that stumbles along like a three-wheeled shopping trolley; it brings the best out of El-P, no stranger to a weird off-kilter beat, while Killer Mike turns in a lazy and feckless verse. The best song on the album, "Negro Spiritual", has JPEGMAFIA doing his best Pharrell over Flying Lotus and Thundercat and somehow comes together like a dream. While Danny rarely loses his shit in the way longtime fans are hoping for – there's no "Ain't It Funny" in evidence, unfortunately – don't think he's been reigned in by the good-vibes blur of Q-Tip's production. Once career highlight "Combat" rolls around it's evident that the influence was a two-way street; Tip fucks up his production in a way we've never heard, spilling decaying trumpet lines and frazzled electronics like synapses firing all across three-and-a-half minutes of hip-hop royalty. Over this Tribe-from-hell backing track it's only fitting that Q-Tip and Consequence make vocal cameos, functioning as a kind of Greek chorus with a whip-fast back-and-forth, but the final verse rolls around and Danny Brown makes it clear with a wicked double-time flow: this is his song and no mistake.

If you could more than occasionally accuse Brown of being weird for the sake of weirdness – an endearing quirk or fatal flaw, depending on your tolerance for his style – uknowhatimsayin¿ shows how that insanity can be packaged in a more unassuming container without ever losing its fury. Approaching 40 years of age and showing no signs of compromise, it's looking unlikely that Danny Brown will ever be caged, but his newest plan of attack is figuring out ways to shake your hand before he throws you out the window of a moving vehicle.



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user ratings (223)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2019


42519 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

somewhat aimless review, good album but I didn't really have much to say about it

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JayEnder
October 13th 2019


5480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally a review for this. Great job Row.



Combat has grown to be my favorite. Beat is so MF DOOM

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Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2019


42519 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Combat is 100% the peak even though I'm playing Negro Spiritual more often ya know. NS is the playlist song but Combat is a work of art, and it sounds silly but that Q-Tip/Consequence cameo gives me chills

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2019


8127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just doesn’t have that same cohesion/conceptual heft that usually takes his stuff over the top



The bars are the best they’ve been since XXX tho

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spanndrew58
October 13th 2019


127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is creeping higher and higher on my AOTY list

Digging: Danny Brown - uknowhatimsayin

rabidfish
October 13th 2019


5437 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

tbh this is really good. Like the production on this, it's got a gorillaz kinda vibe with the quirky synths.



and JPEG coming on with actually decent beats for once? wtfffff

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Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2019


42519 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Just doesn’t have that same cohesion/conceptual heft that usually takes his stuff over the top



The bars are the best they’ve been since XXX tho




hard agree with all of this, spot on

wwf
October 13th 2019


6462 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

3 tearz is probs my favorite on this



beat goes so hard

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Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2019


42519 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

would agree with you if Killer Mike hadn't just algorithmically generated a random sequence of lines he's used 10 times before (each) for that awful verse

DoofDoof
October 13th 2019


5809 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is best when it's funniest

WatchItExplode
October 13th 2019


7148 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Better/more cohesive than Old. I dig the vibe on this.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2019


25000 Comments


about to check XXX for the first time. I’ve heard practically no hip-hop music this decade, lol

Avagantamos
October 13th 2019


6673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

XXX is his best, and one of the top 5 of the decade

WatchItExplode
October 13th 2019


7148 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Truth. Probs my rap aotd

Lord(e)Po)))ts
October 13th 2019


46059 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Quick question



How did Danny Brown age 20 years in the last 3 years?

Digging: ((( O ))) - ((( 1 )))

Lord(e)Po)))ts
October 13th 2019


46059 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Lookin like hes bout to host a children's show about science all the sudden

hadeserbonfa
October 13th 2019


267 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

he fixed his teeth

JayEnder
October 13th 2019


5480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

He looks better than ever man, what da hell?

Lord(e)Po)))ts
October 13th 2019


46059 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

i didn't say he didn't



i agree he looks better than ever he looks like an actual fuckin human being for once

Sinternet
October 13th 2019


20485 Comments


i thought his the weeknd on meth look was fairly good tbh

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