Yesterday (September 27), Danny Brown released his fourth studio album Atrocity Exhibition three days early, a welcome surprise for Danny fans such as myself.
As Yoh brilliantly pointed out in his 1-Listen review, Atrocity Exhibition is the most Danny Brown-esque album he could have possibly released, and that is in no small part due to the outrageously complementary production of Paul White, who contributed on 10 of the project's 15 tracks.
Danny and Paul are far from collaborative strangers, with White claiming multiple production credits on Danny’s last two albums, Old and XXX. While Danny seems to draw the most frenetic version of each producer he works with, his chemistry with the UK veteran is clear both in the sheer volume of work they have together, and the undeniable potency of each collaboration.
Paul White’s eclectic and experimental production shines throughout Atrocity Exhibition, lending a perfect musical hand to Danny’s off-the-wall delivery and style, but it’s only one incarnation of his musical depth, which spans across projects with artists like Open Mike Eagle, Homeboy Sandman and Eric Biddines. White’s production takes digital and analog elements and throws them into a blender, often expanding the boundaries of both and constantly showcasing a range that most producers can only dream of achieving.
As one-half of Golden Rules with Florida-based emcee and Top Prospect Eric Biddines, Paul’s production took on a warm, soulful sound that offered the perfect balance to Biddines’ caffeinated delivery. White reached a similarly powerful symbiosis with Open Mike Eagle on this year’s Hella Personal Film Festival; his sparse, '70s-inspired production consistently allowing space for Eagle to playfully maneuver his spoken word-esque delivery without ever overshadowing it.
Paul’s ability to impeccably compliment whomever he’s working with is just one of his many strengths. Another is his penchant for taking live instrumentation into avant-garde territory, a skill most apparent through his collaborations with Danny Brown, whose taste for bone-chilling, minimalist production allows White to reach experimental heights he might not be able to explore with other emcees.
As much as Danny has proven himself to be the opposite of a one-trick pony, Paul White has asserted himself as one of the most complimentary producers in the game, with an eclectic style and creativity that somehow abides by expectations while also expanding on them and surprising listeners at each and every turn.
Hip-hop needs more producers like White—period. He’s fun, experimental, humble, and he has proven time and time again that he has the ability to act as a musical chameleon. His collaborations with every emcee he’s worked with have been powerful, but when paired with Danny, he’s unstoppable.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.