"When It Rain," one of the first singles released off Danny Brown's forthcoming full-length, Atrocity Exhibition, paints a bleak picture of what it's like to come of age in inner-city Detroit. "Doomed from the time we emerge from the womb," Brown raps, his frantic, high-pitched tone running counter to the coolly detached, digitized beat.
"When It Rain," one of the first singles released off Danny Brown's forthcoming full-length, Atrocity Exhibition, paints a bleak picture of what it's like to come of age in inner-city Detroit.
"Doomed from the time we emerge from the womb," Brown raps, his frantic, high-pitched tone running counter to the coolly detached, digitized beat.
Though Brown has come a long way from his poverty-stricken childhood, he hasn't gone far. He still calls Detroit home - "I'm Michigan at heart; I could never leave," he said during an early September phone interview - and he still employs the same sense of imagination he developed growing up as a self-described introvert and loner.
"I was more of a hermit … and I think a lot of that [imagination] comes from being in the house and figuring out ways to entertain myself," said Brown, 35, who headlines a show at Park Street Saloon on Wednesday, Sept. 21. "I think I was practicing and grooming myself to be what I am now back when I was just [making] rap in my bedroom to have fun."
Certain things have changed, however. Success both on the charts (Old, from 2013, reached No. 18 on the Billboard 200) and in the live arena (in 2014 Brown opened for Eminem at Wembley Stadium in London, England, delivering his bizarro rhymes to a sold-out audience of 100,000) have increased studio budgets to previously unimaginable levels. For Atrocity Exhibition, Brown spent in excess of $70,000 on sample clearances alone, determined to keep tracks as close as possible to the sounds he heard in his head while writing.
Lyrically, Brown remains as unvarnished as ever, combining absurdist asides with self-deprecating slams, chest-thumping boasts and pornographic side treks that sound like they could have been scrawled on the stall walls at a highway rest stop rather than written within the pages of college-lined notebooks. Instead of presenting a heroic face, Brown typically embraces his flaws, coming across as agonizingly, charmingly human.
"A lot of people [who make] music just want to make it entertaining and show themselves in one way, but know life isn't like that in general," Brown said. "We all have our ups and downs, and I put all of that into my music."
Because of this, Brown's albums can take on therapeutic qualities, he said, allowing him to vent frustrations, crack bawdy jokes and more broadly engage the world.
"My music's for everything. Sometimes I just might want to make you laugh or make myself laugh. And sometimes I want to vent and say things I won't say one-on-one to somebody," he said. "I'll go out and tell the whole world what I can't tell this one person. It's like the world is my therapist."