Concert Review: Danny Brown at MoMA PS1

Typically, when Danny Brown is featured on a lineup, he stands out. Interestingly, this wasn’t the case at MoMA PS1’s latest Warm Up concert. In spite of his ostentatious gold shoes, toothless smile and brash lyrics, Danny Brown was right at home.

Perhaps keeping MoMA PS1’s contemporary aesthetic  in mind, Brown started his set with, “Witit,” a bonus track from the re-release of his 2011 album XXX“Witit” was the perfect starter for the first half of the set, which solely featured songs and verses from 2012. The crowd didn’t seem to be as familiar with his recent works, especially his guest verses from Childish Gambino’s “Toxic” and Ab-Soul’s “Terrorist Threats,” but they were engaged nonetheless. “Black Brad Pitt” and “Blueberry,” tracks with EDM (electronic dance music) instrumentals and producers, had people particularly enthralled. A number of rappers are attempting to embrace EDM without compromising their gruff images, but few do it as comfortably as Brown who makes a living on both sides of the proverbial fence.

The second half of the set was composed entirely of songs from XXX. The first song, “Die Like a Rockstar,” was particularly energized considering how many times Brown mentioned Molly (5, exactly) in the first half of the set.  Inciting extensive audience participation, the XXX tracks definitely hit their mark. “Blunt After Blunt,” the final song of the set, got people really excited. In fact, a few fellow audience members happily admitted that they had saved their pre-prepared blunts specifically for that song.

In the end, Danny Brown’s nickname, “The Hybrid,” proved to be well-deserved. Simultaneously engaging the hip-hop heads and the EDM enthusiasts, Brown truly showed the power of experimentation. This style characterizes Brown and will definitely continue to do so, but it remains to be seen whether or not the rest of the rap world will follow suit. We can only hope.