Danny Brown reflects on the trials of his youth on “Tell Me What I Don’t Know,” a hazy cut from his upcoming fourth LP, Atrocity Exhibition. “Last night, homie got killed at the liquor store,” the rapper flows over producer Paul White’s sweltering beat, full of droning synths and frenzied percussion.
Brown debuted the track during Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 radio show, telling the host about its “old-school Danny Brown signature” vibe. “Talking that all that old-school Detroit shit, coming up in the hood … but still coming at it from a totally different angle than your average hood street rapper would,” he said, describing the song.
“It’s like karate with me,” he continued. “I’m like on black belt status when it comes to beats. I can rap over two pots scraping each other. A lot of people just live behind the production. I can rap over anything, and I’m gonna make it dope … ‘Tell Me What I Don’t Know’ is one of those beats that I found, and it reminded me of a scene from The Warriors or something.”
Brown discussed the inspiration and creation behind each track from Atrocity Exhibition on Complex. He credited Kendrick Lamar with fleshing out all-star single “Really Doe” (featuring Lamar, Ab-Soul and Earl Sweatshirt) into a finished song. “[Kendrick] went to the studio and heard it and just took it,” he said. “Then he came back and he had a hook on it, a bridge … and then I reached out to Earl and Ab. We threw their verses on it. So it’s really his song.”