Mel D. Cole


danny brown is living his “best life” on his new single

September 17, 2019

When I spoke to Danny Brown at Afropunk Brooklyn in August, something about him seemed different. It wasn’t just that he was sporting a neat Caesar haircut instead of his usually unruly hair, or that he had a full set of teeth and his missing incisor was missing no longer. Decked out in a Moby t-shirt, Brown’s presence felt lighter — happier than it has in that past. This was not the same Danny Brown who made XXX his 2012 breakthrough album. That project was the Adderall-fueled rhyming diary of a 30-year-old man at the crossroads of being a low-level drug dealer and a talented but struggling underground rapper. The project’s humor and sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll attitude masked the effects of past trauma. If you listened closely to his music and got past the humor and hard partying you would hear the pain. Danny Brown was the Richard Pryor of rap. Now, years later, after blowing up and becoming a festival mainstay, a critical darling, and the host of his own version of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse on Viceland Brown is older, wiser, slightly more mellow, but most of all, grateful.


On his latest single, “Best Life,” Brown reminisces on the bad old days over the bright string-driven production from Q-Tip. The verses, where he describes his impoverished youth and introduction to hustling, are the cloudy skies that give way to the sunny la la las and “sugar, sugar” of the pre-chorus. The song seems introduction to the new, improved, and happy Danny Brown and a farewell to hard times past. His new album, uknowhatimsayin¿ drops on October 6th and you catch him live at Afropunk Atlanta on the weekend of October 12th.