Available on: Fat Beats EP

Danny Brown’s remarkable second album XXX may have been released on A-Trak and Nick Catchdub’s ultra-hip Fool’s Gold label (they brought you Kid Sister and Crookers, amongst others) and at times delved into big room electro and rock backing tracks, but some of its most revealing moments were also its most traditional. In particular, the triple-hit of ‘DNA’, ‘Nosebleeds’ and ‘Party All The Time’ found Brown taking on the rapper as storyteller mantle over dusty, old school-leaning production, and it’s this kind of hip-hop that informs Black and Brown, his new EP with fellow Detroit resident and past Dilla collaborator Black Milk.

More than anything, Black and Brown’s the sort of mixtape-style record you’d expect Danny Brown to want to make after an album as presumably draining as XXX. It’s playful and skittish, with equal time spent showcasing Black Milk’s sample (and scratch!)-heavy beats and Brown’s rhymes. Brown sounds great here – mostly because he is great – but he also sounds like he’s having fun. There’s nothing comparable to XXX’s more exposed moments, but there’s plenty of drug talk, battle rhymes and sex chat, and it suits Black Milk’s beats – which are loose, a little half-cut and don’t hang around – perfectly. Overall, it’s hardly essential, but as an epilogue to one of 2011’s most attention-demanding albums, elaborating on some of its more easy-on-the-ear moments, it’s very much welcome.

Tam Gunn

3.5
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