Brown on Tuesday tweeted that he “couldn’t wait any longer” and released the record. With songs featuring Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, Ab-Soul, B-Real, Noir and Kelela, the album was bound to make waves online.
Fans have waited long for Brown to release something new, with his last album Old being released in 2013. But Atrocity Exhibition is not your average hip-hop album, with lyrics touching on social issues and coming from a dark place—his sound is foreign in the sense that you cannot compare the production to his earlier projects.
In fact Brown was inspired by Joy Division’s Closer, a post-punk album released back in 1980. (Closer‘s lead track is titled “Atrocity Exhibition.”) In an interview with Complex, Brown explained how his interest in Closer made him an all-out obsessive for its goth dramatics—and informed this new album.
This isn’t party music. This isn’t even turn-up music, but instead something to lay back and relax to. The smooth harmony found in almost every track creates a haze for the listener without the need of illegal substances.
Brown is making his fans aware of the changes he’s endured over the years of becoming more famous. Despite the dark lyrics heard in several of the tracks, Brown is still the comical rapper with the unique voice we all have learned to admire. His crafty wordplay works, but now he’s exhausted and hiding out.
“Rolling Stone” is the centerpiece. The production oozes a Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik-era Outkast vibe that modern rap too often fails to reexplore.
In the song we visit Brown’s rock star lifestyle and get an inside look on the chaos he’s involved himself in as a result of fame and making money. You almost want to sympathize with the artist and his feelings of loneliness. Brown described the track as the album’s “cherry on top” to NPR.
For Apple Music, the entire album is the cherry on top of a year loaded with chart-topping rap. Atrocity Exhibition soars and stuns—and you’ll want to queue it up ASAP.