WVAU’s #5 Song of 2016: "Really Doe" by Danny Brown


Sean McCarthy

Danny Brown doesn‰’t follow the rules. Rappers don‰’t have their big break at 30, they peak with their debut album at 22. Rappers don‰’t sign to Warp Records, they sign to Def Jam or Atlantic. Rappers don‰’t sound like they‰’ve just inhaled too much helium while on an acid trip, they bark and growl about pushing kilos of cocaine. And they‰’ve certainly never released an album that sounds like Danny Brown‰’s latest release Atrocity Exhibition. However, at the center of this off the wall masterpiece lies one of the few times Danny Brown does follow the rules. On “Really Doe‰Û, he recruits Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, and Earl Sweatshirt to join him on a minimalistic Black Milk beat for an incredible display of lyrical prowess.

It‰’s no surprise that the most conventional song on one of the years least conventional rap releases has gotten the most acclaim. It immediately stands out on the tracklist as the only track featuring guest rap verses and the only one over four minutes in length, clocking in at 5:19. But what makes the track stand out when it comes on is the skill that all four exhibit during their respective verses. The track is full of endless quotables, from Brown referring to his weed as mistletoe (and not broccoli) to Soul bragging about taking his mom‰’s wedding ring to show and tell and Earl asking his host to get the couch off his Chucks, each MC comes with a different flow and rhyme scheme. Even on a track featuring such talented rappers, Brown manages to hold his own, reminding listeners that it‰’s still his song. Despite five minutes of near non-stop rapping, “Really Doe‰” nevers bores, a credit to the caliber of each verse. That‰’s not to say that the song is lacking in the hook department, with Lamar delivering one of the catchiest hooks on a posse cut in a long time.

The entirety of “Really Doe‰” in essence functions as a challenge. This is most obvious in the bridge before Kendrick‰’s verse, where he raps “Life is like an appetite of truth or dare, I double dare ya/Life to end in vain before the end is near/I can hear you crying/Silence sittin‰’ in the dark‰Û. Although not as direct as Lamar‰’s 2013 infamous “Control‰” verse, on this track all four stake their claim as some of the most talented lyricists currently rapping. Most importantly, the high profile features have brought more attention to an incredible album by one of this generation’s most underappreciated artists.