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Danny Brown Spits His New Music The Old-School Way

Danny Brown observing the crowd.
Danny Brown observing the crowd. Photo By Jennifer Lake
Modern mainstream hip-hop can be very gimmicky these days. Face tattoos, brightly dyed hair, million dollar necklaces, and extravagant stage productions can have the mind racing to keep up with everything that is going on. So when an artist transforms and grows out of the gimmicks, it’s best to pay attention to what he or she is  about to do next.

Cleaning up his act, Detroit dweller Danny Brown has ditched his signature look, fixing his teeth and trimming down his large and often bizarre hairstyle, showing he might finally be “Grown Up.” This new era of Danny was all in preparation of the release of his newest album uknowhatimsayin¿ Released on October 4, this marks the rapper's fifth studio album and first to be produced by none other than Q-Tip of the legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest.

Along with the evolution of Brown’s appearance, his music has followed a similar path. Known for his chaotic, experimental beats and sounds, Brown has changed up the pace of his new work. With a more “old-school” approach, Danny Brown is able to comfortably transition from his normal hectic presence to a much tamer tunesmith.

On Thursday night, the new and improved Brown took to the stage at Warehouse Live. Starting off strong, Brown burst into “Dirty Laundry” the first single off uknowhatimsayin¿. With a new presence, Brown is able to focus his concentration on his skill. Rapping faster than ever before, he burned through a set list intertwined with older beloved tracks as well as some new songs fans have only had the pleasure of listening to for a couple of weeks.

click to enlarge Danny Brown focused - PHOTO BY JENNIFER LAKE
Danny Brown focused
Photo By Jennifer Lake
Brown has been absent from Houston since performing at Warehouse Live in 2016 for the release of his album Atrocity Exhibition, and the long awaited reunion had the fans at Thursday night’s show extremely overzealous.

“I’m Danny Brown and I love Houston!” exclaimed the rapper as the crowd erupted in ovation. Brown tried to continue and speak to the audience but the roar was too much. “Hol’ up, hol’ up!...I said HOLD UP GOD DAMNIT!” shouted Brown, “Damn, Y’all some demanding muthafuckas’ in Houston. I guess I’ma have to just rap cause’ y’all won’t shut the fuck up! Y’all ready to get crunk in here?!”

click to enlarge Danny Brown Living His Best Life - PHOTO BY JENNIFER LAKE
Danny Brown Living His Best Life
Photo by Jennifer Lake
Brown then went into a handful of older hits off his critically acclaimed Atrocity Exhibition. Steamrolling through “Ain’t It Funny”, “Really Doe”, “When It Rain” and “Pneumonia” Brown neared the end of his set. Just in time for a long rant on the true nature of...The Mario Brothers?

“You ever think about how them Mario Brothers are some home invasion, rapist?” asked Brown. “They plumbers, remember that shit! They got this n**** named Bowers, he’s got his castle and his princess Peach. But in my day, his name was King Koopa, uknowhatimsayin? And all of a sudden, there's these two plumbers comin’ in throwing fire at everybody. uknowhatimsayin? Kickin’ in doors and shit. So I came to the conclusion that these two plumbers are some home invasion rapist.”

Brown moved into a more meaningful song to close out his set. “Let the past be the past” he sang in "Best Life" and as the song came to an end the crowd helped the rejuvenated MC sing his way off stage with the chorus. “and there ain’t no next life, so I’m just livin’ my best life.”

Brown blew through his more than 20 song set in a mere hour, fans weren’t ready for the night to end. The room stayed packed as the audience begged for one more song but it wasn’t meant to be. Brown had exited the building.

click to enlarge Danny Brown performing at Warehouse Live - PHOTO BY JENNIFER LAKE
Danny Brown performing at Warehouse Live
Photo By Jennifer Lake
Setlist
1. Dirty Laundry
2. Black Brad Pitt
3. Kool Aid
4. Side B (Dope Song)
5. Smokin' & Drinkin'
6. Break It (Go)
7. Dip
8. I Will
9. Lie4
10. Adderal Admiral
11. Monopoly
12. Die Like a Rockstar
13. Ain’t It Funny
14. Really Doe
15. When It Rain
16. Pneumonia
17. Attak
18. Grown Up
19. 3 Tearz
20. Savage Nomad
21. Best Life
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Houston Press contributor Cameron Martinez uses his extensive knowledge of headbanging and bumping into people to give readers an inside look at the city’s music scene. He often tag-teams shows with his camera-savvy wife Jennifer Lake.