Danny Brown – The Old Documentary (Video)

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Danny Brown has been on my radar since late 2007, when some homies from Detroit started telling me to put an ear to the MC with the common-sounding name. Upon listening to the early music of Danny Brown (Detroit State Of Mind and Hot Soup), there is nothing common about him. If Hip-Hop is a language of struggle and oppression, Brown may be one of the purest examples left in the digital age. Yes, he’s on Twitter, and Brown’s post-2011 audience has transcended Hip-Hop audience with a growing pocket of Electro/EDM fans, but if you listen to what Danny Brown is saying, he calls back to Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “The Message,” Eric B. & Rakim’s “The Ghetto” and a dash of Toddy Tee’s “The Batterram.” Danny kicks reality raps with a crossover-appealing flare and an ear for music that’s made him very different from his post-Dilla Detroit contemporaries.

Those who are up on Brown from The Fader cover-stories and XXX may be interested in this late 2007-early 2008 “Old” (his album shares this title) documentary film on the fledgling MC. Here, we see Brown congregate with The D’s tired, poor and ignored. We see the effortless approach to music-making and the apathy towards during the era of the Maybach. Danny, who is often standoffish in interviews today, explains his time with Roc-A-Fella Records associates and G-Unit, and his disgust with the changing face of Hip-Hop. It’s easy for us (me especially) to dismiss Danny Brown sometimes, when he rants on Twitter or pushes the envelope a bit too far for traditional tastes, but after this hour-long view, I think he has to be one of the most talented artists without a CD in Best Buy right now. My favorite moment in this film is what appears to be the lightbulb moment when Danny’s thoughts about scrapping seem to spawn one of his most poignant songs to date, “Scrap Or Die.” Related: Danny Brown – Change