Boomkat Product Review:
Emblematic Detroit rapper Danny Brown keeps it old skool but wayward on a confessionally autobiographic album that speaks to his experience of turning 40 during lockdown, on beats like Dilla or Madlib’s MF Doom productions overseen by Funkadelic.
‘Quaranta’, meaning 40 in Italian, and the stem of ‘Quarantine’, was intended for release in 2021, circa Brown’s 40th birthday, but various fuckries led to this late release. It follows the Q-Tip produced ‘uknowhatimsayin¿’ with a more sprawling sound knit from jazz-rock fusion and psyche-funk samples, where he voices contemporary concerns in a tried and trusted style and signature nasal delivery. If it wasn’t for the lyrical and thematic nods to the pandemic, it sounds like a record that could have feasibly come out at any point between the late ‘90s and now.
In the titular opener he admits that “this rap shit saved my life” but also acknowledges its pitfalls for youngers in the backseat, before John McLaughlin-like riffs are shredded on ‘Tantor’, establishing him like lead ancestor to MF Doom. The spy funk chops of ‘Ain’t My Concern’ lean into fuzzed-up psych-rock lurch of ‘Dark Sword Angel’ before introducing the album’s trio of guests, with Bruiser Wolf bringing some old head heat to the Funkadelic bounce of ‘Y.B.P.’, and Kassa Overall jumping on the DJ Shadow-like breaks of ‘Jenn’s Terrific Vacation’, and Mike helps settle down the anti-sex rap ‘Celibate’. Our highlights all come in the 2nd half, between the cloud rap-adjacent atmosphere to ‘Down Wit It’, the lo-slung ’Shakedown’, and its cooled out curtain closer ‘Bass Jam’.