The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
5 Strategies for Landing Your Dream Job After Graduation
July 11, 2024

Graduated and feeling lost about your next steps? Looking to set up your life, find a good job, and earn money? Who doesn’t want that, right?...

Danny Brown shows maturity, diversity on ‘uknowhatimsayin¿’

On his fifth studio album, Danny Brown delivers a record that feels calculated, mature and familiar.

Brown has always been something of an anomaly in the hip-hop world. The Detroit-born rapper quickly set himself apart from the pack with his signature vocal delivery, simplistic beats and graphic lyrics.


The space between 2016’s “Atrocity Exhibition” and “uknowhatimsayin¿” feels like a long and sobering breath of air. “Atrocity Exhibition,” a record that felt less like a cry for help than 2011’s “XXX,” saw Brown at arguably his most successful and inventive. Featuring industry giants like Kendrick Lamar and Earl Sweatshirt, “Atrocity Exhibition” is a harrowing and chaotic record that quickly freed Brown from the cult status he had earned with his previous works.

On “uknowhatimsayin¿,” Brown still feels as chaotic as ever but with a delivery that is evidently mature, controlled and decidedly less manic.

The lead single from “uknowhatimsayin¿,” “Dirty Laundry,” is a steady song that rides on a bouncy and slightly off beat, sampled from ‘70s band Syrinx. The track chronicles Brown’s usual lyrical subject matter, including public sex acts and drug interactions, paired with a music video that takes its inspiration from 1970s “blaxploitation” films.

“3 Tearz,” with its off-kilter beat that showcases Brown’s eccentric flow, pulsates angrily before giving way to a fitting and well-executed feature by rap duo Run the Jewels.

Following “3 Tearz” comes “Belly of The Beast,” a slow and spacious trip of a song where Brown’s staccato delivery is coupled with a sung chorus by Nigerian-born artist Obongjayar. It is an excellent song that hearkens back to “XXX”-era Brown in both delivery and subject matter.

The title track, which also features Obongjayar, is a dancing song that showcases the best of Brown’s more versatile side and his ability to create more traditional rap songs. On the other hand, “Negro Spiritual,” featuring JPEGMAFIA, sees Brown return to his signature abrasive vocal delivery and graphic lyricism.

“uknowhatimsayin¿” features production credits from many giants in hip-hop, both current and classic, including Run the Jewels, Flying Lotus and Thundercat. The legendary producer and member of A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip, serves as executive producer for the record. Q-Tip’s influence is noticeable in the frequently off-kilter yet incredibly musical beats seen throughout the record.

The record ends with “Combat,” a song that features a beat that closely resembles the jazz-influenced sound of A Tribe Called Quest.

While Danny Brown has always existed on the outskirts of contemporary rap music, his musicianship, versatility and true individuality are displayed proudly on “uknowhatimsayin¿.” The record feels calmer that his previous works while still implementing the essential qualities that make Brown such a respected figure in hip-hop music today.


“uknowhatimsayin¿” feels like the right next step to make in Brown’s career, and it is delivered as a calculated and chaotic record that is as refreshing as it is familiar.

Rating: 7.6/10

Matt Campbell can be reached at or on Twitter @mcampnh

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *