As the intro notes, “Quaranta” is Italian for “forty.” According to Brown, Quaranta is the spiritual sequel to XXX, his breakout album released on Fool’s Gold in 2011, that infamously cataloged a life lived on the edge at thirty. The whirlwind of parties, tours, collaborations and achievements that followed that landmark release seemed to fly by fast–ten years later, when COVID-19 brought the world to a halt, Brown found himself in downtown Detroit, living alone for the first time ever. After years of escapist escapades, he was forced to adjust to the stillness and silence, and the bars on Quaranta are diaristic in a distinctly Danny Brown way.
First-person scenes from Brown’s early childhood and family arrive vividly on “YBP”; he tears into rising rents for two-bedrooms and new gourmet shops that now litter downtown Detroit on “Jenn’s Terrific Vacation”; and regret-filled reflections on a near fifteen-year rap career add depth throughout the project. There’s no shortage of Brown’s typical blitzing verses over angular, mesmerizing production from some of his oldest collaborators including Quelle Chris, Paul White & SKYWLKR, but the Alchemist produced “Tantor” is just the kind of cold-steel contradistinction which he’s been celebrated throughout his career.