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The Boston Globe



Danny Brown, ‘Old’

On his breakthrough 2011 album “XXX,” Detroit’s latest insane clown poseur transformed himself into a complex character praised by both hustlers and “hipsters,” a term the ghetto-raised rapper proudly claims. He scored by moving from debauched thug-life celebrations, delivered with a fast, clipped whine, to reflective cuts delivered with a straightforward, mid-tempo flow. On this highly anticipated follow-up, the 31-year-old skinny-jeans-lover intensifies the contradictions by mixing up the moods like an ace DJ. What unifies the album is the superb production, which marries indie-rock values to street-rap style. Among other things, the various producers mostly hone to punk’s rule of brevity: 11 of the 19 tracks clock in at under three minutes. Sometimes, like on “Wonderbread,” the concision compounds Brown’s message; other times, like on “Dope Fiend Rental,” it’s just a relief to escape his ugly side. (Out Tuesday)


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