They say when you’re expecting something to happen, it’s not as good as it would be when you’re surprised. And it’s usually true, like when the jump scare in the movie is coming or you know the punch line to the joke before it’s finished. It’s why people usually get so upset when artists retread the same waters they explored on earlier project, because if you heard it before and you knew it was coming, how could it strike the same feelings and emotions it struck the first time? Well apparently Danny Brown knows how to, because he came back with another chaotic club banger that feels just as unsettling as “25 Bucks“ was the first time.
Stylistically, this is nothing new for Danny. The beat is steeped in as much Hudson Mohawke noisy grime as it is RZA street grit. And his flow is as wacked out as it ever was, matching the eccentricity of the beat note for note. Lyrically, he’s also doing what he would normally do talking about life on the streets and the effects of violence and poverty on his life and the community. What’s interesting is the direction Danny decided to take with the whole song. By now you might think this sounds like a cut from the party songs of Old, and it would fit there very well. But there’s always been a separation of his crazy flow that goes with his party lyrics and banger beats and his more subtle flow that goes with his visceral lyrics and dark beats. But he threw that all out the window and instead made a dark beat that you also want to dance too, as well using his normal drugged out flow with crushing lyrics that go right into a party hook just so there’s no room for you to guess that those verses slipped in there by accident. It’s the first time he’s taken all his styles and mashed them together so clearly and it goes off without a hitch. It’s all very reminiscent of Joy Division, music that’s as hard to forget how sad the song really is as it is easy to picture yourself at a club with a drink and a couple dumb moves you picked up over the last hour.
Against this is the video, which you really should watch to get the full experience. This isn’t a lazy background visual a few people threw together on a tour pit stop. It really adds to how unsettling the song and where Danny is coming from really is. The whole video is played as if it were a broken VHS tape. Tons of glitch art filters and Detroit dance moves that you probably haven’t seen since the last time you watched a VHS tape. It takes you back to where he wants you to go like good music should, but when you get there you realize you don’t want to be there. That’s the next step, what a good artist does because only Danny can take you where Danny has been. Only he can create so many unique styles for himself and mash them together in a way that seems so careless but also so meticulously crafted to sound great. With the announcement of this video, he also announced his signing to Warp Records where he said he’s “looking forward to breaking some rules together”. Danny knew exactly what rules he wanted to break to keep a hot streak of great tunes up. He even broke the one that everyone knew he would: drop a song that we knew exactly how it would sound and exactly how good it would be, but make it just as impressive as if you never heard the sound
in the first place.