By Noah Kotlarek
Danny Brown’s latest album “uknowhatimsayin¿” released last Friday opens with a chill bluesy guitar and snare drum followed by Brown’s signature loose, yet crunched-up flow. The second song is slower but continues to ooze relaxed cool. “Dirty Laundry” is in fact dirty. Brown starts the song underwhelmingly, but just before the listener is disappointed, he reintroduces the hard-kicking drums and bass from the first song and delivers the bars that the listener has been waiting for. He also throws in a line referencing the Digital Underground’s “Humpty Dance,” a delight for “old-school” fans.
“3 Tearz,” featuring Run the Jewels, sounds like a slinky and Run’s verse will make you feel just as confident as his delivery. The song does however fail to include a Bernie Sander’s endorsement. “Belly of The Beast” is okay; at least Obongjayar’s preachy Nigerian voice is refreshing. “Chachink, caclink, twinkle, insert [snare drum]” is how “Savage Nomad” and the majority of the album sounds. “Best Life” is unmemorable but samples some cute vintage “la la la” vocals and centers around the line, “Ain’t no next life, so I’m tryna live my best life.” Track 10, “uknowhatimsayin¿” is worth listening for its cheery and optimistic attitude, Oborgjayar’s unique voice and the way Brown pronounces “mud.” With “Negro Spiritual,” we are back to the album’s original style, but then surprised by a groovy Pharrellesque intermission by JPEGMAFIA. “Shine” pulls together the album’s theme of life’s brevity and seizing the moment, “Gotta get what’s mine, before I lose my mind, like I’m runnin’ out of time.” The final track evokes “Madvillany” with its trumpets and jazzy drums. The message, however, is the real treat. It’s a sincere reminder to slum youth that the world is a “Combat Zone,” but that you can rise above it.
Rating: 4.5 Q-Tips
Favorite Tracks: “Change Up” and “Combat Zone”