After hearing Danny Brown
's Atrocity Exhibition
last year, most of the songs on there didn't even sound like they had actual hip-hop beats. On things like the bombastic "Ain't It Funny" and the distorted horror movie soundtrack feel of "When It Rain", Paul White's left-field production worked hand-in-hand with Brown's more drugged out and chaotic style, to bring us into the weird and out-of-control world they both created. And it was amazing.
White's new EP is no different. Right out of the gate, we get the high-octane and frantic title track. Led by drums that sound like muffled claps, and squished spaghetti western guitars popping up sporadically; White doesn't necessarily make the beat easy to rap over. Danny does it once again though. Flawlessly. Going from his fast but relatively tame rapping in the beginning, he switches to the repeated refrain of "Walkin like the ground is so shaky / Lost my mind and I'm goin' crazy,"
and sounds like an absolute madman, but it seems like he didn't have to put in any effort to switch his flow and totally embody the lyrics he wrote.
When you're in the middle of the action, it can feel almost overwhelming, and taps into that same feeling of awe-inspiring skill that was very present on Atrocity Exhibition
. On both of these tracks, that is strongly felt, and it's almost like he doesn't even listen to the beat, but he robotically just keeps moving. I don't mean that in a bad way. The way he keeps moving no matter what makes Brown feel like he's above the beat, and that the beat is making way for him, while still being weird enough to stick out amongst Brown's skill and power as a rapper. That's the power of their chemistry, and why they keep making great stuff together.
White also included the instrumentals for his tracks in the listing as well, and without Brown's voice, it really makes you appreciate the weird things Paul White is able to make a beat out of, particularly how he uses things like the strange and beautiful French musical vocal samples in "Lion's Den," and the dreamy synth pad he uses a bit past the minute mark in "Accelerator." They stand as great beats in their own right.
If he released these instrumentals with the intention of somebody other than Danny rapping over them though, that would be crazy. His beats are without a doubt interesting and weird, but they are by no means simple. That's not a slight at him at all. He makes the best beats for whoever he is creating them for, and for Danny Brown, that result turns out to be off-kilter and absolutely weird. And it's amazing.