We all have days when we just can’t decide who to listen to. Danny Brown provides the perfect solution with his new song ‘Really Doe.’ With a grinding beat that’s hard to turn off, ‘Really Doe’ is a veritable fusion of completely different hip hop elements. Featuring verses by Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar, and Earl Sweatshirt, it’s easy to see where the different styles come from: each artist has a completely unique sound which is instantly recognizable, but together these verses create a song which is greater than the sum of its parts. You can tell that every artist involved had fun making this song, but at the same time it’s clear that they weren’t just playing around. There’s the playfulness of four of the best rappers in the industry freestyling, but ’Really Doe’ has a level of polish that is hard to find in even the best freestyles. The most accurate way to describe this would be “playing with fire.”
Danny Brown opens the song with what seems to be a simple rhyme scheme, but by the end of the verse the complexity of his lyricism really shines through. He forgoes a complex internal rhyme scheme in favor of metaphor, imagery, and relentless end-rhymes. Whether his dick’s getting played like a piccolo or he’s rolling a blunt full of vegetables, Danny Brown’s opening verse demonstrates a side of rap that we don’t see often enough these days: hip hop is fun.
As Ab-soul takes over for the second verse, ‘Really Doe’ inches away from the playfulness we got from Danny Brown. After a quick reference to Tupac, Ab-Soul launches into an exploration of his own experience with fame and how far he’s come. The whole second half of this verse left me reeling, starting with “employer tryna write me up, but now I’m a writer, with ambitions of a rider, and half the shit on my rider I don’t even want.”
Kendrick provides the hook throughout the song, but he really spreads his wings in his verse. The beat matches Kendrick’s flow here in a way that reminds me a little of Good Kid M.A.A.D. City. Kendrick’s verse clarifies a trend throughout the song: it seems like each verse gets a little heavier, meatier, and less playful than the last, a trend that continues into Earl Sweatshirt’s verse. Throughout the song, you go from Danny Brown spitting about girls wanting his piccolo, to Ab-Soul rapping about how he doesn’t even want the things on his rider (they’re just on it for girls), to Kendrick saying “I can hear you crying silence sittin’ in the dark, holdin’ crosses ‘cross your heart, sin is such a work of art,” and ending with Earl Sweatshirt’s in-your-face fighting words. Five minutes after ‘Really Doe’ starts, you find yourself wondering “will these artists collaborate again any time soon?” I don’t know for sure, but I know one thing: I wish a motherfucker would.
Written by Sam Benatovich.