Already being praised as one of the most unique and eclectic albums of year, Danny Brown’s recently released record Atrocity Exhibition has been making some serious waves in the music world. With top-notch features from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, Ab-Soul and others, the followup to his 2013 album Old showcases hip hop’s most beloved freak expanding his sound to dizzying new heights. From the star-studded track “Really Doe” to sentimental grooves like “Rolling Stone”, Atrocity Exhibition might just be Brown’s finest and most honest musical masterpiece yet.
The honestly bleeds through in his latest music video for “Pneumonia”, one of the singles off of his freshly released album. The visual is simple, yet incredibly potent, as Danny Brown is suspended above a dismal street wrapped in chains. As the Detroit-based rapper swings helplessly from these chains, he eventually hits the street with painful laughter and screams. All the while, cuts of political videos featuring Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., and others flash across. Danny also gets his press conference on, as he stands at the podium going buck and smoking a cigarette.
The symbolism in the video seems to point towards Brown’s struggle with addiction, and how he’s still chained to his vices. The visual certainly has political undertones, as the politicians most responsible for the failed war on drugs make staticky appearances as the rapper hangs from his chains. Once Danny Brown hits the floor, he turns into a maniac, laughing menacingly and screaming in the manner of a zombie.
All in all, the video gives us a symbolic look at the harsh reality that the Detroit rapper has dealt with in regard to drugs and mental health. But that is what we all love about Danny Brown, his ability to transform his depression and struggles with substance abuse into a brutally honest form of musical expression. This is showcased throughout Atrocity Exhibition, and can be seen in the “Pneumonia” visual as well.