It’s fitting that Danny Brown ended this week’s Music Hall of Williamsburg show with a encore presentation of “Lonely.” Performed while sitting in a desk chair — as if he was literally schooling the crowd — it stood as a stark reminder of the walking contradiction Brown has always been. It’s something he’s struggled with a lot recently, from the introspective asides (“Torture,” “Lonely,” “Clean Up”) on last year’s Old LP to the very public meltdown that left many Twitter followers worried about the mercurial MC’s health last February. The thing is, we’ll never know whether Brown fully recovered from his battle with drugs and depression. Not while he remains fully committed to putting on a proper crowd-pleasing show — one that requires a Molly-popping, blunt-passing, tongue-wagging libertine in its starring role.
“If you’re not drunk, you’re at the wrong show,” Brown joked about halfway through his hour-long set. The Detroit native then reminded us how Brooklyn gets him into trouble every time he passes through town. To hammer that point home, Brown spent most of the night embodying the party animal persona he can’t quite shake. At least until that encore, when Brown brought us back down to reality with the lines, “So I’m smoking by my lonely/ By my goddamn self/ I don’t need your help, homie/ Cause don’t nobody really know me/ Said nobody really know me.”