Danny Brown - Quaranta Album Review by David Saxum for Northern Transmissions



Danny Brown

In case our you missed them: We are revisiting our favourite albums of 2023.

Danny Brown’s latest offering, Quaranta, is more than just a rap album; it’s a profound journey into the intricate tapestry of his life and career. Set to be released on Friday, November 17th by Warp Records, this album marks a significant departure from the high-energy collaborations of the past. Instead, Brown strips down, bares his soul, and delivers a collection of raw and vulnerable songs that transcend the traditional boundaries of the genre.

The album opens with the eponymous track “Quaranta,” immediately drawing listeners in with a sampling of Siri stating, “In Italian, 40 is, Quaranta.” This phrase serves as a poignant anchor throughout the album, mentioned on multiple tracks and bookending the entire experience. It becomes a guiding light in the tumultuous sea of life that Danny exposes to us, a recurring theme that echoes with Siri’s initial declaration. It’s also likely a call to Danny’s midlife career point.

“This rap shit done saved my life / And fucked it up at the same time.” This brutally honest admission sets the tone for the entire album, laying bare the impact of Brown’s career on his existence. “Quaranta” becomes a cautionary tale, a window into the consequences of success—buying cars, a house, almost getting married, but ultimately losing love due to the demands of rap. The lyrics are a testament to Brown’s ability to craft poignant narratives that resonate on a visceral level.

One standout track, “Y.B.P,” featuring Bruiser Wolf, seamlessly blends classic flow rap beats with brutally honest storytelling. Bruiser Wolf’s killer verse adds another layer to Danny’s narrative, creating a captivating listening experience. The song delves into the personal struggles of Brown’s home life, exploring themes of a rough childhood in Detroit, from “kids raising kids” to “getting whipped in the morning.” It’s a far cry from immature rap, painting a vivid picture of a man confronting and revealing the depth of his life’s challenges.

Lost love and broken relationships are recurring themes on Quaranta, as seen in tracks like the titular song and “Down Wit It.” Brown’s exploration of these emotional landscapes adds another layer of complexity to the album. The honesty and vulnerability in these tracks resonate deeply, showcasing the multifaceted nature of his storytelling.

“Hanami” and “Bass Jam” further highlight Brown’s exceptional writing abilities. “Hanami” stands out as an intimate and raw exploration of personal experiences, demonstrating his storytelling prowess. “Bass Jam,” the album’s closing masterpiece, completes the circle by echoing the album’s opening phrase, “Quaranta.” Brown creates an intimate and beautiful composition, allowing positive memories from his childhood tales to shine through. The repeated phrase “let the music talk for us” becomes a mantra, encapsulating the flawless expression of his journey throughout the entire album.

Quaranta is not just a collection of songs; it’s a poetic journey written by a scarred soul. Danny Brown’s ability to seamlessly blend raw emotion, lyrical depth, and masterful storytelling makes this album a standout in his discography. It’s a testament to his growth as an artist and an exploration of the highs and lows that come with a life intertwined with rap. Listen to Quaranta this Friday and “let the music talk for us.”

Order Quaranta HERE.


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