Photos by Probe rok /Media Scheme
Danny Brown is outrageous. No matter what aspect of his career, music, or personality you’re attempting to dissect, that one word keeps cropping up, whether it be about his hair, his lyrics, his strangely endearing friendship with Kitty Pryde, or his stage show.
Not that that’s necessarily a problem; Brown’s 25-minute set on the SPIN Magazine rooftop last Wednesday provided a boost of energy to a laid back, relaxed party filled with Brown loyalists and members of the music industry. With an artificial grass floor, free Reyka vodka, PBR and Red Diamond wine, and the sun setting over Manhattan’s skyline, the roof provided a welcome setting for the couple hundred people who made it out to the event.
“How’s everybody on the roof tonight? My name is Daniel,” said Brown as he took the microphone shortly before 8:30 pm and launched into “Witit” off his exhaustive, 22-track 2011 album XXX. From there, the night got… explicit, to say the least. Dressed in all black, he ripped through “Radio Song,” “I Will” and “Head For Free,” showcasing the singularly-focused nature of his lyrics. Sometimes, it seems as if Brown’s lyrical content is all about finding the most creative ways to rhyme “pussy” with every word that appears in the English dictionary — and probably more than a few that don’t. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — the word creative did find its way into that description — but it can make his lyrics seem excessively over the top, and decidedly single-minded. After fifteen straight minutes of hearing his wild yet consistent delivery touch upon the themes of sex, blowjobs, sex positions, genital cleanliness, every type and variation of oral sex, and sex again (is there a pattern? I can’t tell), it’s easily to feel a bit, I don’t know, exhausted? Overexposed? In need of a breather, at very least.
Midway through his set he tossed aside his hat, letting his trademark wayward hair fly loose in the Manhattan breeze, yet while he and his hair danced around with a manic energy, much of the crowd watched attentively, if a bit stoically. That all changed when Brown brought out Schoolboy Q, with whom he had performed the day before at Prospect Park along with Childish Gambino, for Q’s banger “Hands on the Wheel.” Suddenly the roof was shaking, people were jumping, and Q — covered up and hidden by a grey hoodie over his head — was leading the crowd through his A$AP Rocky-assisted single.
The energy was there for the exploiting at that point, and Brown didn’t disappoint, keeping the crowd hyped by ending his set with the appropriately graphic “Blunt After Blunt,” allowing the crowd to rap along to the chorus.
It was a long buildup to an animated ending, but Brown’s show proved to be worth it in the end. With his hair flying and his gap-toothed grin out in full force, he quickly exited the rooftop stage left, with Schoolboy Q in tow. As the remainder of the crowd milled around the roof, there seemed to be a consensus emerging from the crowd. Danny Brown is fun. Danny Brown is energetic. Danny Brown is — maybe significantly more than a little bit — outrageous.