“…Still be sitting on the couch if I was signed to Koch, Could’ve signed to the Roc, now I’m signed to the streets, the D the only thing that’s profiting for me.”
As we traverse the rap universe, mapping out what we believe to be “next,” we encounter a wide range of individuals and end up in unfamiliar locales. So while others use their own methods of music discovery, I prefer to follow rappers whose music greets me @ the city limits and then takes me on a guided tour of their town. And that’s what Danny Brown has been doing, but perhaps most eloquently with The Hybrid.
When the internet presents us another free album, it can carry the appeal of being handed a party flyer in the club parking lot, soon to be ignored or discarded at the first opportunity. Then there are those that will manage to catch the attention and deserve a follow-up. After Danny Brown released Detroit State Of Mind 4, it was a convincing affair that warranted that The Hybrid at least got a cursory listen. What was found was the proverbial diamond in the rough.
Decidedly Detroit in every plausible connotative term imagined, Danny’s persona on the mic is one of a man who raps, not a rapper. His worldview focuses in his surroundings and daily existence, never traveling much further. While this may seem like a limitation, it’s actually one of the the key points for what makes Danny and The Hybrid valuable.
When listening to a debut or an early catalog release from an artist, there should be an attempt by the artist to take listeners into his world, introducing them to what it means to walk a day in the his shoes, in his city. On “New Era,” Danny picks up the listener up at the Wanye County line, plops them down in the passenger’s seat of a musty Cutlass and plays hood tour guide through metropolitan Detroit. He carefully uses local color, covering every corner and citizen in a way that serves as a map of the city. Employing lines like “I been in the D so long that I don’t even like Coney…” along with references to Belle Isle and Lynnwood, Danny reminds listeners where they are @ each lyrical turn. Mixing in bits of comic relief along the way (“f#ck a turkey on Thanksgiving, aggins lucky to get ham“), the song serves a dual purpose: touting the city and Danny’s arrival, complete with his Old English D cap tucked low.
“Greatest Rapper Ever” is much cooler, more of Danny’s audition for listeners where he tosses out comedic line after line. Just when one laugh ends, he follows right up with another rhyme that causes a rewind to make sure it’s heard properly.
“I’ll throw you in the river, hands tied tight, Watch yo a$$ drown, feel it in the air tonight.”
“I’m spittin’ that dope sh#t, smokin’ on regular, Writin’ 16’s like internet child predators.”
“…Started reading when the judge threw the f#ckin’ book, but the block was off the hook, Said f#ck class, off them same pills that had Carlton dancin’ fast.”
Both tracks prove that while Danny is ten toes down in his hometown, his sound can and should travel much further than that.