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Danny Brown’s “uknowwhatimsayin?” Album Review

Written by on October 29, 2019

By Gary Brown

On Danny Brown’s fifth studio album, “unknowhatimsayin?”, we get to hear a side of

Danny Brown that was seen in small bits on his previous efforts, “Atrocity Exhibition” and

“Old”. Instead of 1 or 2 songs that are lighthearted and comical, we get 11 songs, giving us

an album unlike anything he has produced before. Despite having a much more laid-back and

tongue-in-cheek style of rapping, contrasting the aggressive flow he has displayed in previous

efforts, “uknowhatimsayin?” is one of the rapper’s most consistent efforts to date.

 

The album opens up with a simple beat that becomes more and more intense and textured

the more Danny raps, in the track, “Change Up”. Although not the most impressive song on the

album, the song establishes the theme that although Danny may change his style significantly

throughout his career and may go years without producing an album, he assures the

listener he is “back from the grave” and he will “never look back”. The album continues to flow

smoothly with its incredible production from the likes of Q-Tip, JPEGMAFIA, Flying Lotus, and

Thundercat. The track, “3 Tearz” contains a back-and-forth exchange from Danny and Run the

Jewels, all laid against a “wild-west type” beat produced by JPEGMAFIA. The track is very

unusual, unlike any hip-hop song you’ll likely hear this year, but the flow on it is incredible and

it reminds me of Danny’s other star-studded collaboration, “Really Doe” off of “Atrocity

Exhibition”. The rest of the album maintains the strong flow and fantastic production overlaid

with features from Obangjayar, a Nigerian Afrobeat artist who contributes vocals on “Belly of

the Beast” and “uknowhatimsayin?”, two of my favorite tracks from the album. I love how the

juxtaposition of Danny Brown’s squeaky, youthful sounding voice over the gravelly native

African accent of Obangjayar actually works extremely well and makes for two very

engaging and unique tracks.

 

If there was anything I could improve on this album, I would want it to be longer. At only

33 minutes and 11 songs left, it is the rapper’s shortest release to date. I would also want more

tracks with the delivery seen on tracks like “Savage Nomad” and “Negro Spiritual”. These tracks

both contain the aggressive, fast, and squeaky delivery Danny Brown is most famous for. One

might argue that he went for a more laid-back and accessible style for tracks such as

“uknowhatimsayin?” and “Shine” so more people could enjoy his music and not get annoyed by

the squeakiness. However, for longtime fans of the rapper, this album might not be what they

want to hear. Personally, though, I like the change in direction the rapper is going in, and there

is not a single bad track on this album. If this is the direction he is going in the future, I’m very

hopeful about the next project from Danny Brown.

 

Rating: 8/10

Favorite tracks: “Savage Nomad”, “Shine”, “Dirty

Laundry”, “Combat”, “Negro Spiritual”, “Belly of the Beast”

Least Favorite Track: “Best Life”

 


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