Danny Brown brings hype to raucous Majestic crowd

There are two sides to that old Danny Brown. One’s the madman—the cartoon embellishment of all of rap’s biggest tropes, the one who goes “dumb and ignorant when [he’s] on that clitoris”—and the other’s the sensitive introvert—the one who worries over girls who party all the time and who’s “smoking by [his] lonely, by his goddamn self.” The latter, for better or for worse, didn’t make an appearance at Brown’s sold out Majestic show this past weekend—he knew the crowd, knew what they expected, and delivered it in spades.

Brown struck an iconoclastic pose, as usual. He came out in a tight dark V-neck, sporting a pair of goofy thrift store glasses with his hair shaved on the sides and his poofy faux afro dyed green on the top. He grinned at the crowd, exposing his signature smile, bereft of top front teeth, and threw up the horns. He didn’t bother introducing himself or even welcoming the swarming masses. Not that he needed to—everyone knew who he was, and most were too messed up to care either way. Instead, he issued out high-fives and fist bumps to the revved-up front row and then launched into “Break It (Go)” from last year’s exceptional Old and the party immediately kicked into full gear.

A-Trak’s production, the real muscle behind Brown’s bizarre post-modern carnival, was given room to flex its more club-friendly qualities. The little quirks that make his work behind the boards (the little violin lead on “Lie4,” the warbling synths on “Handstand,” the brass squelch of “Monopoly”) were drowned out in favor of pummeling beats. Brown himself never sunk under the noise, though—his cartoonish chirp (and every once in a while his more menacing bark) never failed to pierce through.

Brown stuck to the bangers for the majority of the set. All his more emotionally invested songs (a number of which deal with the exact repercussions of, say, doing a shit ton of drugs at a Danny Brown concert) were kicked to the curb in favor of thundering bass and a jubilant Brown ricocheting around the stage. The show only ever slowed to a crawl for a few cuts of grizzly, drugged-up intermission in the form of XXX highlights “Blunt After Blunt” and “Bruiser Brigade,” but even these syrupy, smoky tracks were just too slow and mean to warrant any moshing.

But again, Brown knows exactly where he is and what he’s doing. The show’s best moments were during the songs that, for lack of a better phrase, turnt up. XXX’s “Monopoly” got a blistering reception—you haven’t really had a good time in life until you’ve heard 300 white kids shouting along to “No, really, shit all over your mixtape”—as did “Side B (Dope Song)” and “Kush Coma,” both from Old. The best was saved for last, though, as Brown powered through “25 Bucks” and “Dip,” his two biggest singles to date. The crowd sang along to the Purity Ring sample on the latter as Brown mouthed along and weaved around the stage, and all hell broke loose for the former as Brown chirped praise to his drug of choice over rattling percussion. The crowd ate it up: bouncing along, singing every word, a few brave souls even crowd surfing.

Danny didn’t come back out for an encore in true punk fashion, but that was fine. Everyone was sweaty and exhausted and I’m not sure Brown would have been able to top “Dip,” anyway. Well, unless he busted out “Lonely” or “30,” but there’s a time and a place for Brown’s smarter songs and this clearly wasn’t it.

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