Danny Brown Takes You on a Trip Through His Childhood in “25 Bucks” Video

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
April 9 2014 7:25 PM

Danny Brown Takes You on a Trip Through His Childhood in “25 Bucks” Video

186086745-recording-artist-danny-brown-performs-during-the-life
Danny Brown comes face-to-face with his Detroit beginnings in "25 Bucks."

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Danny Brown’s major-label debut, Old, one of 2013’s best hip-hop albums, offered an emotionally arresting depiction of his experience growing up in Detroit. One track in particular, “25 Bucks,” featuring production and vocals from Purity Ring’s Corrin Roddick and Megan James, related what is perhaps Old’s most compelling story, answering the question: What was the impetus for Brown’s involvement with drugs? Its video, released today, elaborates on that answer.

Placing an adult Brown in his childhood home, the video brings to life poignant images touched on in the song’s lyrics—his mother braiding hair to pay the bills (the song’s title refers to the modest profits), his absentee father, and his teenage self blinded by the drug trade’s fast-cash allure—and surrounds Brown with them in freeze-frames. James, appearing intermittently, ties it all together with her ominous hook, singing about the determination to never “get old.” Brown, now in his 30s, has of course aged, but it seems his past will always haunt him.

Dee Lockett is Slate's editorial assistant for culture.

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