It’s been a while since we’ve heard four rappers at their peak on the same track, but that’s what happens on the latest single released ahead of the hotly anticipated Danny Brown album Atrocity Exhibition. “Really Doe” features Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar and Earl Sweatshirt, each bringing something vital to the track. Ab-Soul, while being the least well-known of the four, is as heady, grounded as ever – I love the way his words get swirled as he talks of being a “writer” as well as his ending proclamation that, “A nigga living good but good could be better.” Kendrick Lamar delivers the hook and yet another technically outstanding verse – he doesn’t have a miss this year – while it’s perhaps Earl Sweatshirt who mesmerizes the most. He’s not that kid anymore, he’s hardened, maybe not less optimistic but certainly more cognizant. “I’m the type of nigga it ain’t ever been an honor to judge,” he bites at one point, and to get his message across, he adds, “I just broke up with my bitch cause we don’t argue enough” a little later on. When you bring in big name contemporaries like Danny Brown does here, more often than not the parts weigh down the whole. But working under DB’s hyperactive umbrella, that’s hardly a problem on “Really Doe.” It’s the rare instance where the song is really as good as the artists under its watch.
Atrocity Exhibition is out next Friday, September 30 via Warp.