DANNY Brown thinks he's a rock star. No gang signs, no jewellery and no baggy jeans for that matter. Instead, the Detroit rapper opts for a hand gesture more commonly associated with the long-haired axe-wielders of this world: the devil horns.
He cuts an iconic figure. Dude's got a great head of hair too, and yes, he was sticking out his tongue for fans and photographers long before Miley Cyrus even crossed our radar. Throw it all together and you have a nice image for an album cover. Or a live shot. Alas, it's all downhill from there.
Now on his third album, Old (a top-20 hit stateside), the man born Daniel Dewan Sewell made headlines recently for upsetting a handful of journalists in London (he walked out of one interview after a discussion about a scotch egg turned sour . . . seriously). He also worried his Twitter followers after posting a series of tweets about his battle with anxiety and depression. The 32-year-old certainly doesn't hold back. An addiction to cough syrup; his love of marijuana; tales from his previous life as a drug dealer – it's all out in the open. He puts it back into the music, and he's frightfully quick, too. His rhyming, that is.
Forget Watch the Throne, this is 8 Mile territory; beat-heavy, nightmarish, hedonistic hip hop custom-made for the clubs, not the arenas. Sure, he owes more to Dizzee Rascal than Eminem, but his record collection isn't important. Tonight, it's just a DJ and Danny. Occasionally, our leading man uses his voice well. Half the time, however, it's as though Danny is rapping (or shouting) through his nose.
I could get past the distinct lack of melody and structure if it weren't for Danny's putrid and vulgar lyrics. Smokin & Drinkin, Blunt after Blunt – come on, man, that's just lazy. His fans dig it, and to be fair, he is quite good at kick-starting a rapturous call-and-response. But with Macklemore doing better things for hip hop in his sleep, it's difficult to put up with Danny's cliché-riddled 'tunes'.
The bloke is to be commended for his energy and enthusiasm, and we all know that he's capable of better. But for now, he seems more interested in the after-party. "Make some mother****ing noise," he declares, before legging it. And that's all it is, really. Noise. HHIII