Label: Tooth & Nail Records

Danny Brown's Old is perhaps the full realization of everything Brown has worked towards. A concept album built around his struggles with the weight of history-Detroit's history, his personal history, his discography-it's is a confident explication of his unique perspective and eccentric tastes.

His rapping throughout is precise and deliberate. The entire record has a purposefulness, from his word choice to his use of unexpected guests, that give its otherwise manic, frazzled energy a focus. Bristling with a live-wire energy, Old is a 3-D, technicolor display of the Danny Brown persona, but there's a frantic vulnerability that keeps it from feeling like an affect or put-on.

In the past, some might have looked at his interest in weird UK psych beats and unusual hairstyles as a marketing angle, a way to find an audience that otherwise overlooks rappers coming out of places like Detroit. Perhaps it even started out that way. But at this point, Danny Brown's work is so completely his own, all those angles seem subsumed within his own world, that such accusations feel empty. Old is decidedly Danny Brown's world, its past and present; everyone else is only visiting it. —David Drake

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