Atrocity Exhibition is the soundtrack to Danny Brown’s insanity, and its artwork shows the madness under the surface of Old.

Danny Brown is one of the most eccentric, exciting and interesting personas in modern rap. On his 2016 album Atrocity Exhibition, Danny gave us an intimate look at his disturbed psyche. The album itself is an enormously unique experience that is the soundtrack to Danny Brown’s “Downward Spiral.” However, the album can be understood in a broader context by focusing on the artwork.

Danny Brown released Atrocity Exhibition’s predecessor, Old, in 2013. The first half of Old is a relatively traditional rap album filled with straightforward beats and bars (listen to“25 Bucks” and “Lonely”). Side B of Old is a drug-fueled rap rampage with hard-hitting electronic beats (listen to “Dip” and “Kush Coma”).


The contrast within the album is reflected in Old’s album artwork. The left half of the cover is a portrait of Danny appearing authoritative and healthy, but the right half melts away, just like Danny’s sanity on Side B. Reading the artwork left to right can tell the same story about Brown that the album does; a drug fueled trip from calm to chaos.


Atrocity Exhibition’s artwork is a zoomed in look at Old’s portrait. Just like the album, the artwork is a close-up view of Danny. His image is twisted and warped nearly beyond recognition, reflecting the scarred psyche Brown presents us with on the album.

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