Exclaim!'s Top 15 Hip-Hop Albums Best of 2016



 
2. Danny Brown
Atrocity Exhibition
(Warp)

Danny Brown has truly lived up to his 2010 billing as "the hybrid" by pushing hip-hop music into areas both hilarious and horrid. Atrocity Exhibition begins by going right off the rails, throwing the Detroit MC headfirst into the woozy "Downward Spiral" his work so often alludes to.
 
"Ain't it funny how it happens," Brown asks sarcastically at the album's apex, detailing the darker spaces of his own brain in unflinching fashion — as if the song's beat, which stirs the image of Brown leading a brass band into the depths of hell, wasn't enough of an indicator that laughing time is undoubtedly over.
 
In a year full of ugliness, Brown turns the lens upon himself once again to both revel in and rail against everything that's come with the sex, drugs and rap lifestyle he's become accustomed to. His lyrical truths are brought to life through the incredible ear of producer Paul White, whose expert crate-digging required a cool $70,000 for sample clearances.
 
"I'm walking down this long road. Will I come back? Homie, I don't even really know," Brown admits on "Rolling Stone," plumbing the depths of his psyche to create not only one of the genre's best LPs this year, but the greatest of his career so far.
Calum Slingerland