Danny Brown is my pick for breakout rapper of 2011, and I am completely biased. I first met Danny in 2008 when he still wore jeans a few sizes too big and still had braids. But he was always the weirdo rap nerd that he is being celebrated as now, it just didn’t seem to work quite as well when he was rapping for the block (read: the Pitchfork crowd couldn’t relate to 12 12′s and non-ironic malt liquor). The Hybrid and XXX have reintroduced him to a whole new audience with smart and quirky concepts, brash honesty and hilarious profanity.
Capitalizing on the momentum, Danny teams with Black Milk for an EP titled after a previous collaboration, Black and Brown. The project seems to find both artist taking a step into the others realm. Black’s production seems a bit more unhinged than usual, not quite as tight and uniform as it has been in the past. Danny’s crazy ass goes back to the MC he was on the Detroit State of Mind series, big on boasting and wordplay, which makes for a beautifully ignorant EP.
“Zap” is a personal favorite; within ten seconds Danny calls himself the rap Frank Zappa and lets you know even your pastor can vouch for the strength of his dope. Black lets a long intro lead the song before finally dropping the beat several bars in, just long enough to catch you by surprise. Rappers take note or quit, preferably the latter.