Danny Brown, Willie the Kid, and the Lost Art of Storytelling Rap

I'm having a hard time narrowing down which rap artist had the most laborious run in 2011. Willie The Kid was responsible for one of the strongest projects of the year. Danny Brown dropped one of the most powerful albums in the last five years. The Fly was confined to rapping circles around his immediate circle of barely serviceable weed carriers. The Hybrid rubbed elbows with everyone from El-P to Kid Sister. Grand Rapids own didn't unveil an effeminate haircut on the cover of Metro Times. Detroit's finest, unfortunately, did. By my count that places the Michiganders neck and collar. But regardless of the score, they're easily the most talented rappers I've come across on the blogosphere not named Jay Electronica. My fandom in part can be attributed to their knack for storytelling, an art form chiefly neglected by Generation Z. Luckily for us (them not so much), these guys are roughly the same age as yours truly.

(The Cure 2; 2011)
As much as I enjoy Sir William Buffett's sharp wit, earnest self-reflection, and dense alliteration, failure to offer even a single focused complete thought stifled the The Crates' replay value. The Cure 2 marked his return to the type of intense narratives we haven't heard since 'Barbershop Theme' and 'Stop Snitching' were released on DJ Drama's watch back in 2006. Technically, writing featured on 'The Guilt' is far more ambitious than 'Reign Supreme', but the latter is more enjoyable thanks to Beat Butcha's thick spiraling bassline. Generally, my favorite storytelling raps assign explicit details to the most mundane elements of the plot. In this instance, Willie's secondhand account of murder and betrayal is driven entirely by details. Hopefully, we don't have to wait another five years for him to exploit this skill set.

Danny Brown - "Counterfeit"
(Detroit State of Mind 4; 2010)

'Counterfeit' is just an awesome record that speaks for itself. The moment I heard it I knew Danny Brown was the future. What's most fascinating about this song is it employs the same sample as Ghostface Killah's 'The Sun'an unreleased track intended for the criminally underrated Bulletproof Wallets. Starks has mentioned on several occasions it was excluded from the retail release solely because Rza smoked too much weed and forgot which piece of vinyl he looped. Danny Brown (or someone close to him) is clearly aware of the source, as 'Counterfeit' appears to contain sections from the original recording neglected by Rza. Perhaps Danny should start snitching, because 'The Sun' and about a dozen other Ghost tunes from that era certainly deserve an official home on the shelf, à la Bootlegs and B-Sides.

12 comments:

  1. yo daps sun.

    Been makin my way round the internutz (none) since reappearing yesteerday, seeing whats been going on since my departure.

    who knew this thing is still crackin?

    ill be honest, I havent read a god damn word you wrote, but at least your still doin it (none). and guest bloggers now and ll of that.

    merry xmas, new year and all of that.

    carry on.

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