Danny Brown’s full-length debut, “XXX,” was plenty harrowing, but in a lost-within-himself kind of way, his voice hot-wired with desperation and delirium as he rapped about self-anesthetization through this chemical intoxicant or that.
But on Brown’s latest record, “Old,” the Detroit native looks outward at a landscape as ravaged as his innards must be after all that partying.
On “Wonderbread,” a boy’s trip to the corner store to buy a loaf of bread becomes a life-or-death journey, dodging bullets and dope fiends.
The mine shaft-dark “Gremlins” is a portrait of a youth whose mom’s on drugs, whose dad’s in jail and for whom a life in crime is as inevitable as his eventual death, while “Torture” imagines a kid enduring a “Cold winter with a kerosene heater / On the couch so cold, can’t take off your sneakers.”
Said weather might be the only thing chillier than this record.
— Jason Bracelin