Brown, who opened for Das Racist at the 9:30 Club on Saturday night, has said that his refusal to conform to some sort of rap dress code has at times hindered his career (allegedly, Brown’s fondness for super-skinny jeans is the only thing that stopped rapper 50 Cent from signing him to G-Unit Records). So, earlier this year, right around the time that Brown finally inked a deal (with Fool’s Gold Records) and released his “XXX” project, the jeans got even tighter, and he got a funny haircut. The combination of the new look and signing to a label known for outre acts made some wonder if the wonderfully strange underground darling, stamped by everyone from G-Unit’s Tony Yayo to lyrical genius (and fellow Detroit MC) Elzhi, was moving too far outside of some arbitrary definition of hip-hop. But, if the hallmarks of a compelling MC are still clever lyrics and rocking a crowd, Brown’s live show helps silence that chatter.
On “DNA,” he examines a genetic predisposition for drug use; “Radio Song” is his riff on commercial music that contains approximately five words suited for airplay. “Lie4” is a broke baller anthem for these recessionary times, on which Brown hilariously raps about “income tax swag.” And on “I Will,” which he prefaced as being “for the ladies,” Brown completely took the focus off his hair and put it back where it belongs — on his mouth.