As one of hip-hop’s most individual faces Danny Brown has a sound that is impossible to recreate and his eccentric personality and music is what sets him apart from most other artists. So when his ‘Exhibition Tour’ rolled into town at London’s Electric Brixton, it was set to be a night like few others.
But if there is one artist who could carry the torch and expand on the lane that Danny has created it has to be ZelooperZ, Danny’s warm-up for the night and also a signing to his Bruiser Brigade Records. From Detroit himself, ZelooperZ embodies many similarities to a young Danny Brown with his experimental sound and stage presence and it’s clear that the rapper he calls “his older brother” has had a significant influence on the music he makes.
From the outset the whole place was bubbling with anticipation, it was clear that the crowd was looking for a turn up and he quickly delivered with his opening track ‘BM’, which instantly had the people on the floor jumping from the get go. After rattling through ‘ISBD’ and ‘Paypal’ he soon had the phone lights on and the crowds hands going up and down to his final track ‘Elevators’. It’s clear that this guy had been learning his trade from Danny, an artist who has near on mastered the festival circuit and was a perfect way to open this exhibition.
At this point the crowd was eagerly awaiting the main show, so much so that when “Norf Norf” by Vince Staples came on in the interval, everyone was near ready to rip the roof off the place. But luckily the lights dipped, the noise rose and on came the man that we had all been waiting to see. Looking relaxed and grinning from ear to ear Danny looked at ease when he strolled with his mic in hand to the centre of the stage.
With just a DJ and a few lights around him it was clear that the night wasn’t about a fancy stage show or gimmicks, it was just him letting loose on what he is known for, his lyricism. See even on his track ‘Hell For It’ from his latest album ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ he lets it be known where his current mind state is with music when he says; “respect for lyricism, in this game ain’t none left, have a bitch like iggy, think she sicker than me and that’s so fucked up, that’s just how this shit be, I just wanna make music, fuck being a celebrity, cause these songs that I write, leave behind my legacy”.
It’s clear that he wants his lyrics to do the talking, Danny doesn’t do a lot of back and forth with the crowd during this set but his face tells it all, when he’s not rapping he’s smiling and when he does touch the mic he tells everyone it just “feels like a family reunion back stage”. Clearly for a tour pro such as Danny, he feels at home not just in London but when he’s simply on stage rapping, doing what he does best and letting that be his legacy.
So when he kicked off the show with ‘Die Like a Rockstar’ into ‘Lie4’ the whole of the floor near moulded into a moshpit, there wasn’t a single drink left in a glass or foot that wasn’t jumping. But when he hits ‘Blunt After Blunt’ the atmosphere reaches another level. Following his cue the whole place is screaming the words back to him, so much so that Danny barely has to finish a line without the whole crowd finishing it for him. The atmosphere just doesn’t let up either as both the crowd and Danny feed off each other as he rolls through the classics from ‘Old’ and the moshing turns to crowd surfing through ‘Dip’ and ‘Drinking And Smoking’.
What we’re all here to see is him play the tracks from ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ and you can feel that the whole crowd have been waiting for this moment as the hype hits fever pitch when the opening drums to ‘Really Doe’ thump through. After the stand out track ‘When It Rains’ and an incredible finishing performance of ‘Pneumonia’, Danny simply left the stage in the same relaxed manner in which he arrived on it.
With time Danny Brown has been able to piece together a set list of back-to-back bangers from his multiple albums, leaving minimal room for a break in the action when it comes to his live show. But that’s what both you and he want from his performance, he obviously feels at home turning up on stage and he doesn’t want to let the hype drop that he continues to build and build throughout the show. Although this exhibition may have been fully of grimey, moshing, thumping sounds, from start to finish, it all came together perfectly and hands down this was Danny’s best sonic painting to date yet.