"Hipster by heart, but I can tell you how the streets feel."
—Daniel Dewan Sewell, "Lonely"
This time of year is a tough transition: It's getting dark as fuck (weather- and otherwise), it's cold, everybody's getting sick—but a bunch of music starts dropping, too, encouraging you to warm your ears within some headphones. Yes, I'm still Drake'n on the low, Doris still smashes, and Yeezus is still Yeezus (aside from his newly neutered "inside voice," the fuck bro?)—but as I start to compile my best-of-2013 list (fart noise), I am definitely giving heavy thought on where to fit the newest album from Danny Brown, Old.
Brown is 32, which is basically AARP status rap-wise, but that's not what he's talking about with his album title—"They want that old Danny Brown," he grumbles on opener "Side A," which revisits the set pieces of his rep-making Detroit State of Mind mixtape era. Not quite resentful at getting boxed back in, he knowingly obliges with a harrowing tour through those same shitty houses, steak-sauce-colored Cutlass Supremes, and of course, the endless transactions with desperate fiends. (It's those bits that stick out, jagged and elbow-snagging, reminding me of sad stories I heard from my closest relations about "the life"—ranging from the mundane to comical to descriptions of degradation, heartbreaking to civilian ears, but related in the same dead tone as the rest.)