Darq E Freaker - Pills & Cocaine (ft. Danny Brown)

Grime’s most unhinged producer meets the reigning king of freewheeling hip-hop? We’ll have some of what they’re having.

Following in the wake of Tempa T and African Boy, Danny Brown is the latest MC to step onto Darq E Freaker’s nightmare carousel. In many respects, the team-up isn’t a big surprise. Brown has been vocal in interviews about his admiration for the South London producer, and homegrown oddball previously Paul White contributed instrumentals to Brown’s XXX tape.

If you’ve heard ‘Next Hype’ or ‘Cherryade’, you know the drill: detuned pipe organs, neck-snap beats, volume levels that fall somewhere between ear-splitting and bone-dissolving. Brown’s unhinged intonation has some of the tinder-box unpredictability of UK grime MCs. He begs the girls to “shake your ass for a hipster nigga”, and pronounces the word “pills” like a lunatic who’s neglected to take them. Not every rapper would survive amidst Darq E Freaker’s Sturm und Drang, but Brown shines where more languid voices might come unstuck.

There is something of a disjunction between Brown’s Detroit drawl and the video’s Enter The Void journey through South London. Then again, it points towards the globalism – the voracious assimilation of influences – going on at the more adventurous ends of contemporary hip-hop. Brown shouts out the A$AP and Green Ova crews in the track, and it’s a timely reminder that hip-hop has rarely been so venturesome. Darq E Freaker might stick to a familiar formula, but there’s plenty of life in this old bulldog yet.

 

Joseph Morpurgo

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