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The Misadventures of Danny Brown

Photo by Ysa Perez

It takes a special character to receive surprise fellatio onstage mid-performance (we’re not making this up) and then keep performing. But I guess that’s what happens when the majority of your lyrics focus on drugs, sex and the rockstar life (listen to the track “Die Like a Rockstar”). It’s the nature of the provocative rap beast. 

And although Danny Brown would like to forget the awkward, sexually explicit moment in Minneapolis that ultimately went viral via the interwebs, fans and dissenters will most certainly not. But that one conspicuous moment doesn’t define the true ethos of the Detroit MC — in fact, his lyricism is impressive and his rhymes are entertaining but they’re not anything you’ll want to write home to your mother about.  

In 2010, for his latest and most widely received mix tape, XXX (released 2011), Brown signed with A-Trak’s Fool’s Gold imprint to critical and popular claim. For a while it seemed that Brown would be a sure sign to 50 Cent’s G-Unit label, but his predilection to skinny jeans ruined that opportunity. “It was a real thing. 50 was with it; he just didn’t sign me because of my jeans. He liked the music, but he didn’t like the way I looked,” Brown told MTV’s Mixtape Daily. Regardless, Brown didn’t need the reassurance of ghetto rappers; he was already on a path to pop culture enlightenment. 

His raps are at once intelligent and irreverent. “Radio Song” is a sly prod at commercial rappers while “Blunt After Blunt” is a stoner’s anthem that makes a mockery of G-Unit’s disapproval of his fashion: “Complain about my jeans cause I’m taking all they hos.” But those are just two themes in a colossal 22-track collection, so there’s a lot to explore in the Danny Brown experience. 

But his studio sessions don’t do Danny Brown justice; it’s his live shows that exemplify the true energy behind each lyric. And sure, he might not be flattering to pious ears, but the guy knows how to work a crowd. 

Danny Brown performs with OverDoz 9 pm Thursday, May 23, at WOW Hall; $15 door, $75 Meet & Greet Package.