Danny Brown makes his own ‘Best Life’

Jackson VolenecReporter

In the new single “Best Life” from rapper Danny Brown’s upcoming new album, the artist uses the talents and skills he has obtained throughout his career, but with a simple throwback style that reminisces his first albums and the 90’s boom-bap rap music that inspired them.

This is not an observation that requires deep analysis, as legendary MC Q-Tip, one of the lead members of 90’s hip-hop group, a Tribe Called Quest, which helped defined the hip-hop genre, is on the production behind the single “Best Life.” During the peak of his career, Tribe released groundbreaking albums such as “The Low End Theory” and “Midnight Marauders,” — both platinum-selling albums in the 90’s.

Even though Brown is taking inspiration from 90’s hip-hop on these singles, his identity has not been lost in the process of going back to his roots. The iconic delivery of his lyrics remains intact, with his high pitched inflection piercing through the smooth, jazzy loops he flows on top of.

Brown is an example of an artist who uses his art to reflect his current state of mind at the specific time that it was written and recorded. We have seen this honest approach at songwriting ever since his first project “Hot Soup” came out back in 2008.

Perhaps the most disturbing, impactful display of Brown’s honesty is in his previous album “Atrocity Exhibition,” which is a terrifying dive into the wallows of drug addiction and intense isolation that Brown found himself trapped in. On this album, we were exposed to distorted and manic instrumentals that reflected Brown’s state of mind. This album, although amazing, was concerning for listeners, as the drug addiction he discussed seemed like it could have killed him any day.

Luckily, on “Best Life,” we have seen a much more lighthearted Brown, who has seemed to conquer his addictions that had been holding him down on his previous work. The
lyrics talk about turning his life around for the better: “Cause ain’t no next life, so now I’m tryna live my best life.”

The new material that Brown is releasing in the days leading up to his new album lets listeners look forward to a new direction for him, with more introspective and uplifting lyrics on full display on this track. The personal storytelling that we see on this song is on par to his previous efforts, but this time he reflects on his past in a way that is not depressing or bitter, as we saw on “Atrocity Exhibition.”

The reflective lyrics we see on “Best Life” are reminiscent of the empowering and celebratory introspection we saw on “Grown Up,” one of Brown’s biggest singles that was
released in 2012. On his new song, however, the fantastic beat from Q-Tip tops the other song easily.

“I just feel like I came full circle. Going back to the beginning, going back to the basics,” Brown told Pigeons and Planes in an interview about this track. He discussed how he felt that going back to the classical sounds of 90’s rap music was what he wanted to do after going into such experimental territories on “Atrocity Exhibition.”

The song “Best Life” is a single off of Danny Brown’s new album “uknowhatimsayin¿,” scheduled to release Oct. 4. Brown is also performing at Toad’s Place in New Haven on Sunday, Nov. 17.

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