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Old 12-20-2011, 12:57 AM   #53
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12.) Danny Brown – XXX


If you know Danny Brown it is probably for being the weird rapper with the weird clothes and the weird haircut and the missing front tooth and the nasally voice. Yeah, he’s weird. He’s also one of the best, most complex rappers in America. XXX is a title with a double meaning; it references illicit substances as well as the number 30, which is the number of years old Brown turned this year. This album is a coming-to-grips with the big three-oh. The first half of the album is a frenetic, dark, but also wickedly clever descent into an alcohol and weed smoke-induced self-Hell. Watch the awesome video for “Monopoly” (linked above): the entire song is ****ing hilarious, with entire bars about literally shitting on a mixtape that someone give him, and lines like “type of ****a you see rockin’ Crocs at the ****in’ Wal-Mart” and “stank pussy smelling like Cool Ranch Doritos.” I really want to quote the entire song. And many songs are similarly funny and bizarre and twisted, like the dark “Blunt After Blunt” and the Jeezy-response “Scrap or Die.” It’s all fun and crazy, building up in chemical potency to the track “Adderall Admiral.” The next track, “DNA,” is like a cold-turkey detox. The beats become much more sparse and straightforward, and Brown drops his normal rapping voice for something deeper and more sobering (and more sober, period). The rest of the album enjoys this complete and total tonal shift as Brown explores the hereditary nature of addiction and the steps he might need to take to improve his quality of life now that he’s in his 30’s. It all wraps up with closing track “XXX” in which the craziness and Brown’s unique voice return, though measured somewhat by the self-exploration he’s undergone. Though (as you’ll see) there are a few hip-hop albums that I enjoy listening to more than this, XXX is absolutely one of the best albums of any sort to come out in 2011. This is a well-deserved artistic breakthrough.


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