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Band/Artist Profile

Future Island 1000 Artist Profile: Danny Brown

Danny Brown is hip hop’s most interesting character to date. Not since Busta Rhymez has a rap artist straddled the lines of so many genres and embodied a persona that is so out of this world. Wearing black skinny jeans, studded leather jackets, and rocking a mohawk/flat top with green tips, he looks more like a punk rocker than a rap artist. However, Danny’s lyrics are the most authentic raps that the genre has seen in years. He rhymes about the streets of his hometown Detroit, but not in the braggadocious, semi-romanticizing way that we’ve become accustomed to in rap music. Brown’s lyrics are captivatingly introspective, often painting an ugly picture of what the impoverished landscape of Detroit looks like, many times in a way that’s downright scary.

He burst out onto the scene in 2010 with his first album The Hybrid after years of mixtape obscurity. Hybrid got him the following he needed to release his second album XXX which dropped on his 30th birthday. XXX was praised by nearly every music publication in circulation as the best rap album of 2011. With influences of old school hip hop, grime, drum and bass, indie rock, and more, XXX solidified Danny’s place as the music industry’s new mad man. He followed up XXX with Old in 2013, which boasted production from a wide array of producers who don’t have anything to do with mainstream hip hop (Purity Ring is one of them). He turned this eccentric trip into a billboard topping success that has cemented him into the conversation as one of the most creative rappers on the scene right now.

Personally I’m excited to see DB take the stage in Carrboro on Sunday. The last time he was in the area was at Cat’s Cradle last April and he tore the house down. Going through hits from Hybrid to Old, he had everyone in attendance singing along to the point that he took a break to let the crowd sing his songs for him. He obviously likes us here in NC after his last visit, so I’m expecting him to show the crowd at Future Islands 1000 some major love with an amazing set.

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Band/Artist Profile

Rap Radar: LIVEFREERIZE

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This can also be read in here in Technician.

Last month I got the chance to go up to my hometown of New York City and interview an up-and-coming artist from Brooklyn who goes by LIVEFREERIZE, or Rize for short. Rize’s music is a smooth blend of traditional rap lyrics with modern production provided mostly by his producer Chvlly. If you’re tired of the same old trap rapping played on commercial radio and the underwhelming resurgence of backpack rap, LIVEFREERIZE is definitely someone to give a listen to. His music exists somewhere between the multiple sub-genres that populate modern hip hop. And because it doesn’t adhere to a certain label, it comes across as organic and relatable. You’ll never hear two Rize songs that sound the same, which is a breath of fresh air in this transitional period in hip hop culture, where artists are either only rapping about selling drugs they’ve never seen, spending money they don’t have, or waxing poetic about ex-girlfriends. It’s music made for real people. Think J. Cole, but not nearly as polite.

On top of being a creative and talented rapper, Rize is a cool dude in general. He’s a man’s man who’s been around the block a few times in a few different cities. Brooklyn is what he considers his home base, but he’s spent time in Newark, Chicago, Oakland, and even Durham where he has family. This exploration of different areas of the country has exposed him to music scenes outside of New York’s, which is uncommon for many rising rappers. A lot of up-and-coming rappers (especially NY-based ones), stick to their hometown sound, and in today’s genre bending environment, that mentality limits hip hop hopefuls. Rize has seen this, and acknowledges that the only way for New York hip hop to reclaim its throne in the rap kingdom is by approaching the art from a different angle.

Rize’s wise beyond his years mentality shines through in his music. It’s well balanced and fun, and he has a passion for performing live, which is the key to success. I’m very confident that with Rize’s sound, he will be an artist that you’ll see breaking into the mainstream a year from now. Stay tuned to WKNC where we’ll be playing some of his tracks during our Underground segments, Saturday to Monday nights from 8PM to 5AM. Also stay tuned to our Podcast, where we will have our interview posted soon. You can find Rize on Twitter, Instagram, and Soundcloud with LIVEFREERIZE.