Hip-hop auteur Danny Brown gave us a first taste of his forthcoming Q-Tip-produced album, uknowhatimsayin¿, on Sept 5. The zany, frantic “Dirty Laundry” came across as, well, a disorienting laundry list of drug deals and grotesque sexual escapades, told in the stream-of-consciousness, rant-like style of someone still caught in the cycle.
“Best Life,” released today (Sept. 17) after several live performances this summer, finds Brown taking a more reflective stance on his turbulent past. Atop crackly strings, another eccentric beat courtesy of Q-Tip and what sound like nostalgic Motown samples, Brown shares how it feels to be on the other side of the relentless grime and crime of “Dirty Laundry.” Remembering a time when he was headed for “death or jailhouse,” he vows to live his best life: After all, it’s the only one he’s got.
uknowhatimsayin¿ drops Oct. 4. Brown tells Zane Lowe of Apple Music’s Beats 1 that the record is heavily inspired by the work of “standup comedians and actors,” noting Richard Pryor as a key influence. Alongside executive production from Q-Tip, uknowhatimsayin¿ boasts additional production from Paul White, Flying Lotus, Standing on the Corner and others. Run the Jewels, Obongjayar, JPEGMAFIA and Blood Orange also make appearances.
Listen to “Best Life” below, along with Brown’s 2011 Daytrotter session.