Before releasing 2011’s XXX and catapulting himself out of Detroit and into the upper rap echelon, Danny Brown contributed a track to a then-forthcoming compilation by rap blog Classic Drug References. Flash forward some two years, and though CDR has since closed up shop, owner Sweeney Kovar will finally release Classic Drug References Vol. 1 digitally on December 3rd. It’s also available as limited-edition box set starting November 25th.
As such, “Sweeney Song” has earned the distinction of being “vintage Danny Brown”, representing a striking link back to Brown’s days of bopping around his hometown scene. Despite hailing from Philly and having never met the MC, producer Mndsgn seemed in-tune with Brown’s approach at the time, providing a slightly demented blend of drum claps, rumbling bass, and slinky organ sounds that could’ve easily appeared on Brown’s The Hybrid. Even without dramatic structural changes, Brown’s flow is markedly different here: the cadence is more methodical and less manic, and Brown eschews bizarre wordplay for more succinct revelations and insight (“Dropped outta high school at 16/Same time Wu dropped ‘Ice Cream'”.)
It may only be a couple year’s difference, but it’s intriguing to hear just how much Brown’s evolved in such short time. Listen in below.
Pre-orders for the box set are ongoing. The entire collection features a zine and three 7″ singles, with additional tracks from Blu & Knxwledge, Ras G, Quelle Chris, and more.