Atrocity Exhibition


XXX and Old whipsawed between drugs-in-the-drivers-seat mania and reflective depression, but Danny Brown hit a breaking point with Atrocity Exhibition that finally saw those two modes converging in horrifying ways — self-destructive and deliberately aware of it, yet frank in how helpless he feels against it all. If that threatens to make it a hard listen, Danny compensates by being hard as hell, hammering his way through panic-attack flows over Paul White-curated beats that find headnods in industrial psychedelia and sheer noise. Easily one of the most unrelenting self-examinations of being a casualty — of drugs, crime, poverty, and his own worst impulses reacting to them — that hip-hop’s ever seen. Exciting without necessarily being fun, and utterly essential.

Nate Patrin