20.07.2012, Words by Lauren Martin

Danny Brown x AraabMuzik - Molly Ringwald

As part of a collaboration between Yours Truly and Adidas called Scratch Sessions, where two artists come together in a day and make a song from scratch, Danny Brown hooked up with AraabMuzik for a track entitled Molly Ringwald and man, did they do a good job.

It seems pretty natural that Danny and Araab should get together in the studio considering their respective styles. Araab’s trance influenced productions push the boundaries of what we’ve come to expect from a hip hop beat, and Danny’s nasal rasp and chaotic rapping style (and not to mention his lack of front teeth) has made him instantly recognisable.

Danny Brown is suitably complimentary of Araab in the behind the scenes video for Yours Truly, saying that he hates “producers where you can tell what they’re doing with every beat they make. I just want a producer to get behind a machine and be him – do what he thinks sounds dope to him – and if somebody else thinks it sounds dope, then it is what it is. That’s what I love about Araab. He has his own sound. Me, I just wanna keep my pen sharp.”

Sharp it is too. It’s one thing to have a fan base but it’s another to to lauded by your immediate contemporaries. El-P has said he’s a fan of Danny Brown repeatedly in interviews and Killer Mike recently told Vice that “Danny is one hell of an enigma. He can freestyle, he can write, he can rap, and he’s a slick-ass dude.” Compliments to the hilt it seems, and deservedly so. As talented as Brown and Araab are they are also pretty divisive figures within rap.

Araab’s MPC frenzies are rooted in a hip hop tradition but his obvious allusions to dubstep and electro on his 2011 album ‘Electronic Dream’ divided rap opinion, and Danny’s blatant kookiness is one of a kind. Love them or hate them they are ferociously unique and have injected a new lease of raw energy into the rap game, which is multiplied tenfold on Molly Ringwald. The track is a full frontal assault that is perfectly crafted for that 2am onwards, sweatbox club banger.

It quietly comes to life with a string of eerie John Carpenter-leaning keys and as the bass starts to hum, Danny leaps in no-holds-bar with the opening lines “poppin’ pills getting brought to my door like Avon/this that silk suede leather, y’all n***as polyester and rayon” and from then on it, just, doesn’t, stop. Danny rattles through bars as Araab beats up the MPC with characteristic intensity.

Orchestral strings and choral vocal clips stutter, soar and crash into rapid-fire hollow drum rolls, and a near constant roundhouse kick to the chest of bass gives weight to Danny’s razor sharp staccato vocals, which lay waste to the doubters and thrash themselves all over the unashamed abrasiveness of Araab’s production.

Tracks like this are part of a new breed of rap that is fearless in its experimentation with production and lapped up by a generation of fans who are becoming increasingly more open-minded about rap and what can be included in its canon. Molly Ringwald is equal parts epic, creepy, serious and playful, and I defy anyone who hears this in a club to not immediately screw their face up and break their neck.

Molly Ringwald will be released soon as a double A-side 7″ single via YT’s Love Letters Ink imprint, with Joey Bada$$’s Daily Routine on the B side.

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