I’m not going to lie– when I first heard Danny Brown’s new track, I was more excited by the fact that Kendrick Lamar was featured on it for the duo’s first studio collaboration more than anything else. For the first couple seconds, which feature a frenetic, bell-filled, Black Milk-produced beat (think “Backseat Freestyle”), I was certain I was going be listening to a Kendrick-dominated posse banger. But as soon as I heard Danny open the track with quick-witted rhymes such as “I be fresh from head to toe/Used to tote that Calico and serve like John McEnroe/Now I sell out all my shows,” I knew that I was in for a real treat, and Kendrick wouldn’t be the star of this 5 minute show as I had anticipated.
To be fair, I don’t think Kendrick’s performance was bad at all on this track. He raps a strong hook: “They say I got the city on fire/I ain’t boomin’, that’s a goddamn lie, woah,” and his verse is solid too. But Danny’s energetic rhymes followed by Ab-Soul’s spirited verses (“For heaven’s sake, I’m the GOAT, you haters can go to hell”) really make the first half of this aggressively confident track. I feel like Ab-Soul’s verses get a little overshadowed in between Danny’s and Kendrick’s, but they’re a solid piece of work from one of Danny Brown’s better collaborators.
But as outstanding as Danny, Kendrick, and Ab-Soul’s deliveries are on this track, I think Earl Sweatshirt takes the cake. Conveniently placed as the closing verse on the track, Earl raps with an energy I’ve never heard from him before. For an artist whose characteristic rap style could be summed up as a less energetic but more lyrically creative MF Doom, I was completely blown away by Earl’s change of pace on this track. Earl’s echoing “motherfucker” to close out the track is akin to a mic drop by a rapper who knows he’s just shocked the world with his ability to redefine his rap style.
The success of “Really Doe” is twofold: not only does it represent some of the strongest deliveries from Earl Sweatshirt and Danny Brown I’ve ever heard, but it puts Danny Brown’s upcoming “Atrocity Exhibition” at the forefront of my “upcoming rap album hype” radar. If you’re looking for what’s basically the musical equivalent of a late night joyride with some of the better faces in the rap game, “Really Doe” is the song for you.