Danny Brown at Grewal Hall in Lansing, MI

Danny Brown served up a classic performance at Lansing’s Grewal Hall, showcasing the boundary-pushing lyricism and audacious style that his reputation is built upon. 

The Detroit-based Danny Brown had just returned to Michigan after touring the East Coast supporting his latest album, Quaranta, released in November last year. Even though Lansing is 90 miles down the road, Brown told the crowd it felt like a homecoming and that he was so glad to be back with his family as he took to the stage at Lansing’s newest music venue. 

To say that Brown had a busy 2023 would be an understatement. Prior to releasing his solo album Quaranta, he also featured on every track of Jpegmafia’s Scaring The Hoes album released last April, and also worked on his own health by spending some time in rehab. You might think all that would slow someone down, but Brown brought his trademark lyrical dexterity and high energy throughout an hour-long set. 

Rocking a floor-length gray leather trench coat, Brown opened his performance with several tracks from Quaranta, including the opening title track followed by “Tantor,” “Ain’t My Concern,” and “Dark Angel.” The album, which means 40 in Italian, was written over the pandemic as he approached his 40th birthday. In contrast to his previous albums that focused on the hedonistic, rap star party lifestyle, these songs struck a more somber and self-reflective tone. Still, Brown’s dynamic delivery combined with the fact that it had been more than 10 years since his last visit to Lansing, ensured that the near-sellout crowd was bumping along to every beat. 

In addition to the Quaranta highlights, Brown delivered standout performances of several songs from last year’s Jpefmafia collaboration. Even without Jpegmafia to cover his half of the lines, Brown had more than enough lyrical charisma to perform the tracks on his own. When it came to “Scaring the Hoes,” Brown had nearly every single person in the crowd chanting along. 

The evening wasn’t all about Brown’s new work though. He also brought out plenty of his old-school bangers. Even though his lifestyle may have calmed down a bit, his fans were eager to go line by line with him on his hit “Smokin’ and Drinkin’” from 2013’s Old as well as “Ain’t It Funny” from his 2016 album Atrocity Exhibition. 

Around 10:00 PM hit and Brown had just finished up “Y.B.P.” with Bruiser Wolf, who had opened up the show for him, when he told his fans he’d had a rough time coming back from Toronto and needed to wrap the show up early. And while it seemed the crowd had plenty of gas left in their tanks, there were no complaints. Like the star they were there to see, perhaps they also recognized they were growing older and had their hardest partying days behind them as well.  

Brown will be making his way through the West Coast promoting Quaranta with stops that include Vancouver and Los Angeles before making his way back east to wrap up the tour in Nashville on April 14. Catch this generational talent in the U.S. while you can, otherwise, he’ll be in Europe until summer. 

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About Jena McShane 27 Articles
Jena McShane is a Lansing, MI based photographer specializing in candid portraiture, live music, and stormy landscapes.