On Tuesday, Danny Brown stopped by Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre mid-way through his uknowwhhatimsayin¿ tour. The Detroit rapper, known for his gap-toothed smile and hyena voice, is now almost 40 years old and seems to have toned things down considerably. Sauntering on to the stage wearing a plaid jacket and cropped pants, he looked like he belonged in a hipster cafe with a skateboard tucked under his arm. Despite Brown’s new laid-back look, his verses are still silly as ever. On his new album, uknowhwhatimsayin¿, Browns’ dirty, self-deprecating humor is paired with Q-Tips old school production, resulting in a more musical and uplifting sound.
While Brown opened with Dirty Laundry, the hit single off his new album, he mostly played his old songs. We traveled back in time through his 2011 album XXX (the roman numerals representing his age – 30), his 2013 album Old and the Evil Nine song that he featured on in 2012, The Black Brad Pitt. The quirky rapper barely addressed the audience, taking breaks between songs only to sip his drink.
During Smokin & Drinkin, Brown really engaged the crowd, pointing his mic offstage for the second half of the main verse (“Drinkin’ and Smoke!”). After each song, he seemed to gain more energy, prancing around on stage and even jumping up and down occasionally. For Dip, a bass-heavy track, he mirrored the crowd’s enthusiastic headbanging. Sometimes though, his fans had to just throw their heads back and laugh at his goofy wordplay. A favorite was “Running from my dick like a bull from a matador” from his beloved track Adderall Admiral.
When Brown rapped his famous verse from his song Monopoly, “Stank pussy smell like Cool Ranch Doritos,” someone from the crowd triumphantly lifted up an empty chip bag. Brown pointed at him, grinning, and gave him a shout out.
After performing Die Like a Rockstar, a track off XXX about his copious drug use that he called ‘a party song in hell,’ the rapper transitioned into Ain’t it Funny, an upbeat song from his new album. While most artists touring for their new album have their audience waiting anxiously for an old classic to be played, the opposite was true for Danny Brown’s performance. Maybe he refrained from playing too much new content in case people hadn’t digested it yet – his album dropped only a few weeks before his show. When he dropped songs from uknowwhatimsayin¿ though, the crowd went wild.
One of the rapper’s final songs was Grown Up, a slower, more melodic song about his childhood. This was the highlight of the night, as the crowd sang along to the cherished track with huge smiles on their faces. Nearing the end of his show, Brown finally addressed the audience, “Vancouver, what the fuck is up?” followed by his signature cackle. After telling a joke about Mario and Luigi being “home invasion rapists,” he pointed out that he saw “some motherfucker smoking crack” in front of the venue, so “obviously you guys do whatever the fuck you want.” The rapper smirked before shouting, “Vancouver, you just out here living your best life!”, the perfect transition into Best Life, the rapper’s final song.