Danny Brown, the wry Detroit rapper with the swagger of a post-punker, has announced details of his forthcoming fourth LP, Atrocity Exhibition, his first in nearly three years and debut for electronic label Warp Records.
Due September 30th, the first tracks we've heard sound like a return to the noise-flecked, sample-crazed delirium of Brown's 2011 breakthrough XXX after the more EDM-influenced detour of 2013's Old.
"With Old, I wanted to have those performance songs so I can play those shows," Brown tells Rolling Stone. "That was what was a part of my world, doing festivals. Whereas this album is just my sound. This is Danny Brown."
Hooking up with longtime collaborator Paul White for sessions in London, the pair dove back into angular, crunchy, bonkers, sample-based hip-hop that, all told, cost $70,000 to clear.
"A lot of people cheap. And that's why their music sounds cheap," says Brown. "I wanna make timeless stuff, so you're gonna have to spend a couple dollars. You could have Rolex or you can have a Swatch."
Inspired by Raekwon, early Björk, Joy Division, Talking Heads and System of a Down's Toxicity, Brown also worked with similarly leftfield producers like British bass technician Evian Christ, South African songwriter Petite Noir, Detroit hip-hop minimalist Black Milk and the ever-bent Alchemist. Guests include Kelela and Cypress Hill's B-Real, with "Really Doe" featuring Ab-Soul and the first on-track collaboration between Kendrick Lamar and Earl Sweatshirt. Though Brown is quick to add, "I'm pretty much the main star of this show, as always."
The title Atrocity Exhibition is a nod to the 1980 Joy Division song, which hints at some of the personal subject matter within. "I just relate to that song a lot," says Brown. "That song, [Ian Curtis is] pretty much talking about how he feels like he's part of a freak show almost. People just wanna come see him and they just wanna see him be a certain type of way. I totally relate to that. That's just how I felt with this album, 'cause a lot of people expect for me to be some crazy drugged-out I-don't-know.
"At the end of the day, its just something that I really took my time with," adds the rapper. "I know this day and age, a lot of artists can't really take time off to make music … they'll get replaced. With me, [I'm] somebody that's able to sit down and be able to take my time, 'cause aint nobody gonna be out here sounding like me, ain't nobody gonna be out here doing what I do. I'm confident in this project to know that I'mma satisfy the people that's already fans of my music. So, if you're a fan of Danny Brown, you in for a treat."
The rapper will kick off a fall tour September 14th in Philadelphia, criss-crossing the country before ending his trek November 5th in Cleveland. All dates below.
Atrocity Exhibition Track List
1. "Downward Spiral"
2. "Tell Me What I Don't Know"
3. "Rolling Stone" (featuring Petite Noir)
4. "Really Doe" (featuring Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul & Earl Sweatshirt)
6. "Ain't It Funny"
8. "White Lines"
10. "Dance In The Water"
11. "From The Ground" (featuring Kelela)
12. "When It Rain"
14. "Get Hi" (featuring B-Real)
15. "Hell For It"
Danny Brown Tour Dates
September 14 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of the Living Arts
September 15 - Providence, RI @ Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
September 16 – New Haven, CT @ Toad's Place
September 17 – Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
September 18 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
September 19 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
September 21 – Columbus, OH @ Park Street Saloon
September 22 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
September 23 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection
September 24 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave II
September 25 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
September 27 – Des Moines, IA @ Wooly's
September 28 – Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre
October 1 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
October 2 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
October 4 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre
October 5 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
October 6 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theater
October 7 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory
October 8 – Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
October 11 – San Francisco, CA @ Regency
October 12 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
October 14 – San Diego, CA @ Observatory North Park
October 15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
October 16 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
October 17 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
October 18 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
October 20 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
October 21 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Music Hall
October 23 – Austin, TX @ Emo's
October 25 – New Orleans, LA @ Republic New Orleans
October 26 – Nashville, TN @ Exit In
October 27 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
October 28 – Charlotte, NC @ The Underground
October 29 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle
October 30 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
November 1 – Silver Springs, MD @ The Fillmore Silver Springs
November 2 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Small's Theatre
November 3 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom
November 4 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
November 5 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop