Get ready to navigate through the downward spiral of Danny Brown’s psyche with his fourth studio album Atrocity Exhibition. With the help of the incredible producer The Alchemist, the album is haunting with its sheer honesty and is undeniably real as Danny Brown reveals the skeletons of his past. Unafraid to hold back, Danny Brown delivers his usual manic verses, ranging from low and serious to high-pitched and jittery, Brown gets real as talks about how drugs has affected his social life, his health, and relationships. A sort of therapy for the Detroit rapper, we are audience to Danny Brown’s therapeutic need to execute the demons from his past.
Atrocity Exhibition is a 15-track album that highlights how Danny Brown slowly unravels and spirals himself to Hell. The first track “Downward Spiral” is the overall theme of this album. Literally experiencing these depression, crushing emotions, Danny Brown seems incoherent and confused as he tries to navigate through his enhanced emotions. Because of this, we must weave through the lines of his neurotic paranoia and erratic words to understand the meaning. Complex with intricate emotions about depression and suicidal thoughts, Brown feels trapped by his addiction as it eats away at him. The track ends in an intense chorus: “Cause it is a downward spiral/ I gotta figure it out (out)/ I gotta figure it out (out)’ I gotta figure it out” and ends with his voice fading ominously in the background. The following track, “Tell Me What I Don’t Know,” gets more slow and serious as Danny Brown gets real about his background, his trouble with drugs, and growing up in a tough neighborhood. In various interviews, Danny Brown has talked about his hard past, his drug addiction, being a drug dealer, and his trouble with the law. Similar to a withdrawal, there seems to be a lack of emotion, which juxtaposes the previous track which was high with feelings and energy.
Expect for the mournful crooning of the South African singer Petite Noir, “Rolling Stone” is just as bleak as the other tracks. The beat is ominous and somber as Danny Brown talks about his loneliness. This two lines,“Bought a nightmare, sold a dream/Happiness went upstream” will strike you through the heart. A break away from the grave, introspective stream of consciousness, “Really Doe” is a personal favorite with an amazing triple threat features. The beat is tough as the Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) superstars Kendrick Lamar and Ab Soul and the elusive Earl Sweatshirt join in the dark melody. A whimsical chorus of bells flow along with raw, undignified talent. A nice surprise, it is only fitting that Earl Sweatshirt joins in, especially after his dark, hopeless album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt. No longer the kid who was sent to Samoa during the rise of Odd Future, Earl Sweatshirt sounds more adult-like and mature on this track. “Pneumonia” is another favorite; catchy with ScHoolboy Q’s ad libs in the background, this is the type of song you can bump to in the car with your friends.
The majority of the tracks continue with the bleak theme of the album and the last track, “Hell for it” is a tell-tale sign that Danny Brown has reached Hell. No, this is not the most fun-loving project. Atrocity Exhibition is the type of album that reminds you are not alone in your struggles. Unafraid to reveal the troubles of his past, Danny Brown once again bravely strips himself bare to his fans in Atrocity Exhibition.
Read More Music Reviews at clichemag.com
Listen to Danny Brown Fight His Demons in ‘Atrocity Exhibition’: Featured image courtesy of Atrocity Exhibition