When it was revealed a few months ago that Q-Tip would be executive producing Danny Brown’s next album, it was hard to make any predictions about what it would sound like. Now that uknowhatimsayin¿ is out in the world, we can confirm that it would have been foolish to bother setting any expectations. On this project, no song sounds like the one before.
Q-Tip wasn’t the only producer to contribute to uknowhatimsayin¿, but it’s remarkable how disparate his beats sound on here. His production on the first two singles, “Dirty Laundry” and “Best Life,” are both quirky enough to suit Danny’s style, but don’t resemble each other or anything previous in Tip’s discography.
The album closer, “Combat,” sounds closest to what you would imagine a Danny Brown-Q-Tp collaboration if you were bold enough to pigeonhole these two relentless innovators. However, there’s certainly nothing boring about it. The track’s backbone is a wheezing horn sample that is inherently off-kilter, but arranged so deftly and rapped on so smoothly that it becomes delightful.
Tip and Consequence join Danny for a hook that ties together the theme of the brutal and educational trials of street life. Nonetheless, “Combat”‘s highlight is Danny’s final verse, where he sounds like a balloon that was unleashed to fly dizzily around a room, raps spewing out as it deflates. He becomes an instrument riffing alongside the horns.
Twelve grams on the scale, watch me do arts and crafts
Any day could be my last, livin’ like that
Tripped over the crack, crippled by circumstance
N**** gotta face the facts, make this world your own
Sun sprinkled light for this mega-marathon