By Joshua Van Laan
“This ain’t a concert, this aint a rap show, this is just a couple of the homies hanging out,” screamed Danny Brown seconds after picking up the microphone.
On Thursday, March 28, Danny Brown was at the Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids for a one-off performance. Though Danny Brown is from Detroit, this felt like a homecoming show to everyone there.
Out of all the new stars of hip-hop like Schoolboy Q, A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar, none exemplify Detroit more than Danny Brown, the only of those artists from the Motor City. Whereas other cities are often glamorized, Detroit isn’t. It’s often criticized as being a city overflowing with poverty, crime and grime that has built up through years of abuse and people ignoring its crippling shape. Honorably, though, Detroit doesn’t try to be anything it’s not.
It’s funny how similar Danny Brown is to Detroit. He’s old, he’s crazy and he’s dirty. But, like Detroit, Danny Brown is himself. Whereas other musicians try to hide what makes them different, Danny Brown highlights them. Instead of shaving his head, Danny Brown has loose hair all over, instead of hiding the gap in his teeth, he constantly does a face that embraces it. Danny Brown is an artist who is truly comfortable in his own skin.
Danny Brown was accompanied by two opening DJ acts: Mr. Fables and Dreas. Both of these DJs were surprising good and got the crowd in the right mood for Danny Brown and his crew, Bruiser Brigade, to take the stage.
Bruiser Brigade performed for roughly an hour. The brigade consisted of four rappers flaunting across the stage and viciously screaming into the microphones. Finally, it was time for Danny Brown.
“Are you ready for Danny Brown!?!” someone screams into the microphone.
The crowd responds with cheers and yells.
Five minutes later.
“Are you ready for Danny Brown!?!” someone repeats into the microphone.
The crowd once again responds with cheers and yells.
Five minutes later.
“Are you ready for Danny Brown!?!” someone yet again screams into the microphone.
The crowd’s spirit doesn’t break, continuing to cheer and yell.
Then, Danny Brown emerges.
He wanders around the stage a bit, talks to a few people, drinks a little bit and does a few other things. Suddenly, the music stops.
Danny Brown goes to the mic stand, grabs the mic, his DJ, SKYWLKR, starts the beat to Brown’s opening track on his album “XXX” and jumps right into it.
“Colder than the grits they fed to slaves, me to music is like water to raves.”
The crowd immediately surges to the front, a tidal wave of fans and admirers wanting to be as close as they possibly can to the rapper they idolize.
Besides playing a combination of classics and more underground tracks, Danny Brown also gave the crowd a sneak peek of his new album, “Old,” through the venue’s speakers.
“You guys got me tired, I have to take a break. This is a new song from ‘Old.’ I hope you enjoy it,” said Brown. “It’s called ‘Dip,’ and it features Schoolboy Q.”
After the song finishes, Danny dives into his show again, as if he was at full energy once more.
The highlight of the whole night was the final performance of Brown’s newest song, “Kush Coma.” “Kush Coma” came out less than two weeks ago but was the most called out song by the crowd throughout the song. With thumping repetitive bass, flashing lights, handclaps and lots of yells provided by Bruiser Brigade, the song stole all the glory from every other song. Of course, the best part of the song was Danny Brown himself, jumping around the stage and spitting out verse after verse faster than anyone could comprehend. The song was a true tour de force of Danny Brown and Bruiser Brigade at full potential.
Danny Brown was the first rap concert I’ve ever been to, and it was definitely a totally different atmosphere from other shows. Everyone felt more united, and it definitely felt like a more feel-good show than any other shows I’ve ever been to.
After “Kush Coma,” Danny Brown said some closing words.
“The concert’s over, but the party isn’t. I told y’all, you’re my family. Let’s have some fun.”
After this, the stage is hijacked by relentless fans (including yours truly) dancing to the music. Once the song ends, security comes and kicks everyone off the stage. The party has finally ended.
Danny Brown will be performing at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor on Wednesday, April 24.
Photo Courtesy of Adeshola Daniel-Oluseyi Makinde Jr. of Complete VII