Danny Brown Brings the Life of the Party to Dallas

The Detroit rapper delivered a career spanning performance for a small but passionate audience.

When I arrived at Canton Hall, the first opener had already begun their set. Zelooperz is a fellow Detroit emcee signed to Danny’s record label. Because I arrived late into the set, I didn’t get to see too much of his performance. I recall loud bass-ey trap beats with psychedelic visuals hanging in the background.

The next act, however, was a bit more distinct. Ashnikko (whom I had previously never heard of) and her accompanying dj KRYSTAL LAKE came onto the stage as pink light filled the hall. She performed several songs in her style of pop trap with an E-girl aesthetic. She sauntered up and down the stage rapping while video clips of a character maker in an RPG and hentai looped in the background. At one point used the phrase “pumpkin spice pussy”. The whole experience was very surreal. While personally I don’t think her style was for me, she did seem to have some die-hard fans in the front with similarly dyed blue hair who all sang along for every word.

Then it was Danny time. The audience (myself included) cheered as he casually strolled onto stage with a drink in hand. He greeted the crowd, introduced himself as Danny Brown aka Uncle Danny, told us to respect women, and then proceeded to get into the first song of the set, “Dirty Laundry”. The set overall was an even split of songs between his four albums, performing several from his latest uknowhatimsayin¿ (a phrase which, after hearing Danny speak, you immediately glean is a key part of his personal lexicon) while also performing songs from his 2011 debut XXX.

One trait that characterized Danny’s performance was his liberal use of call and response throughout the show, oftentimes having the DJ stop the set for several seconds to allow the audience to holler back the corresponding bars. While this was mostly a fun way to feel connected to the artists, and the audience responded every time, at times it felt a little excessive and I just wanted to hear Danny himself sing the chorus. The loud bass from earlier performances was also still a part of the performance. For the most part, this was a plus, as it amped up his already energetic performance. However, there were times where it was overwhelming in the mix, most noticeably on the song “Monopoly” where the bass was so loud I couldn’t make out any of his words.

These issues though were overshadowed by the infectious charisma that Danny has on stage. Throughout the concert in between songs Danny would chat with the audience, telling stories from previous tours and laughing at his own jokes with his signature cackle. This also included a bit from the stand up set he apparently has been working on, as he cited on stage that his passion for comedy is seconded only by his passion for music. If you like the punchlines in Danny’s music then you’ll probably also enjoy his comedy, so keep an eye out for that. He finished off the set with “Best Life”, and bid the audience a good night. Although Danny had performed for over an hour the set had still felt too short, and I left the venue glad I had gone but still ready to see more for when Danny returns.