Review: Darq E Freaker ft. Danny Brown – Blueberry EP

We seem to be living in an age where the remix to original content ratio on certain releases continues to rapidly separate – not to say that it’s a bother, but sometimes it makes us wonder why it’s necessary. The latest example is the second release from London’s Southern Hospitality label, the “Blueberry” EP from Darq E Freaker featuring Danny Brown. In this case we can understand why producers are jumping at the chance to remix Brown, and all of them are equally deserving of the chance – each of the remixes on this EP are just as strong as the original.

The EP is also another follower in a trend we’re already into, which is the move away from cookie cutter Luger-style beats to the use of producers which aren’t what you would immediately coin as hiphop-inclined. Not that trap doesn’t forever hold a place in our hearts, but sometimes you need something different. Le1f’s recent mixtape, streamable at the Fader, was excellent for a few reasons and this refreshing approach was one of them, using beats by artists plucked from the “bass” realm who we knew had a knack for hiphop all along. For some artists like Morri$, this wasn’t the first collaboration with a rapper, nor will it be the last. Others, like Nguzunguzu were more unexpected, and turned out great.

Stream: “Blueberry (Pills & Cocaine)” – Official Video

The “Blueberry” EP pairs Detroit rapper Danny Brown with UK producer Darq E Freaker, and the product lands somewhere right between the two. The title track “Blueberry (Pills & Cocaine)” is plain & simply an in-your-face, fun-loving track with the unabashedly carefree chorus hook of “poppin these pills / sniffin cocaine.” Brown has expressed his love of grime in the past, especially with reference to Dizzee Rascal, and rapped over a Joker beat on Pitchfork. It’s nice to see him have free reign on a track, and watching Danny Brown do whatever he wants to do is one of the reasons why we love him, besides the fact that he’s entirely infectious. His voice may not be for everyone, but it’s undeniably noticeable.

The first remix comes from Sinden & 5kinandbone5. We recently found out via an interview with LFTF that 5kinandbone5 actually made beats for rappers before they became more concentrated in dance music, though this is not the vibe we get on the remix. Brown’s voice gets chopped and the original instrumental twisted into an electro-fied kuduro-ish dutch bubblin-tinged banger. Star Slinger leaves the vocal alone and brings his own dreamy, glitchy approach to the instrumental as one might expect from him, making Danny’s voice seem somehow even more abrasive when framed against this more soothing backdrop than in the original. The third remix comes from Pelican Fly All-Stars, which could mean any number of a group of very talented people ranging from Sinjin Hawke, to Deebs, Mister Tweeks, Dj Slow, Sam Tiba, etc. This take is more footwork-influenced than the others, continuing to build into a massive dancefloor stomper, and it accurately reflects the label’s recent aesthetic as a whole. The last-but-not-least remix is by the newest American addition to the Night Slugs roster, Kansas-based Morri$. Every bit we hear from him lately is easier to recognize as his own, dreamy trap vibes that were once effectively encapsulated as “Lex Luger in space.” Enough descriptions from us, though, you can stream the entire EP for yourself below.

Darq E Freaker – Blueberry EP [SH002] by Southern Hospitality

Cayley MacArthur

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