In 2017, Danny Brown teased that his new music would have an iconic caretaker. “It’s being produced by one producer, who’s legendary in hip-hop,” he told Complex. “And it’s gonna be a big deal.” This April, that producer was revealed to be trailblazing A Tribe Called Quest frontman Q-Tip, who helms Danny’s upcoming album uknowhatimsayin¿, in addition to making beats for it. Brown went into debt spending his own money on samples for his last album; he cares deeply about beat-making, and while he has phenomenal chemistry with tag-team partner Paul White, he’s never worked with someone this accomplished before.
“Dirty Laundry,” the album’s Q-Tip-produced lead single, demonstrates the kind of damage they can do together. Picking up where 2016’s Atrocity Exhibition left off, “Dirty Laundry” uses splendid sample work to push that album’s prog-rap stylings toward funk. Brown seems invigorated by Q-Tip’s rumbling beat, which beeps and buzzes in sequence with goofy, off-kilter bars that flip double entendres about clothes-washing in the most lurid ways possible. His raps jump up out of pockets and right into your face.
At first blush, the song sounds like the ravings of a sex-deranged lunatic. But there’s a theme: Danny’s ongoing cycle of public sex acts. In zany voices he recounts fucking in Burger King bathrooms, peep shows in the studio booth, and laundromat rendezvous with strippers. These aren’t presented as conquests; they’re representations of the ridiculous life he’s led. They chart a timeline of Danny’s growing audacity and apathy; where once he did it out of necessity, now he’ll do it simply because he also needs to put a load in the dryer. And while he airs out his dirty laundry, some of which involves getting his clothes clean, he quickly builds a rapport with one of rap’s all-time producers.