Danny Brown is a different breed of rapper. Everything about him subverts the norm and expectations of what you'd expect from a hip-hop artist. From his image - he frequently sports skinny jeans, a manic coiffure and a possessed tongue akin to Gene Simmons - to his music, where he lists influences as Ian Curtis, George Clinton and Korn. Brown's a law unto himself; although his quirky sense of fashion deterred 50 Cent from signing him, the calibre of his flow drew the attention of Fool's Gold (arguably a preferred scenario), who ended up signing him. As it happens, his lack of desire to abide by any rap conventions has been a valuable USP.

First and foremost, beneath the smoke and mirrors of wacky visuals and braggadocio, Brown is a musician - and a damn fine one at that. He twists razor wit and pop culture with poetics about his home city of Detroit, conjoining the flippant and the deathly serious like a mad scientist splicing the DNA of a penguin and an alligator. It's downright hilarious, but it's got bite. He delivers narratives about his time as a drug dealer and his stint in jail, but he'll do it in such a way that it's endearing and you can't help but be enthralled - Brown possesses a magnetism. He's an enigma. A cartoonish, metal horn throwin', tiger-blazer wearin' enigma.

The tone of his voice is unique - you hear Brown and you know it - and instead of being the traditional dour, gruff pent-up rage traditional rappers offload, it's a vivid shriek, whipping around rhymes and words with more personality than most can muster. As such, you'll cling to every line of his spiel, marvelling at his mastery over linguistics and his coke-ego tones. Indeed, he is (or claims to be) an ardent user of enlightening narcotics - a whopping chunk of his catalogue makes reference to his fondness for smoking the green stuff. Not all his tracks are entrenched in social commentary, and some of it is red-blooded hip-hop hedonism. It's all part of his endless charm.

We've seen a breadth of collaborations from Brown - 2 Chainz may win on sheer numbers, but you can't beat Brown when it comes to variety: The Avalamches, Insane Clown Posse and Portugal. The Man. have all chalked up efforts with him, as well as more obvious slots with Childish Gambino, Flatbush Zombies and Pusha T. Tumblrcore rap princess Kitty (formerly Kitty Pryde) has also nurtured a well-documented friendship with Brown, stemming from her quasi-stalker ballad 'Okay Cupid'. The camaraderie was especially well publicised after a pretty fanatical audience member started to bestow a trouser-friendly kiss upon Brown, and Kitty then reacted with fervour, providing an interesting insight into fandom and sexual assault over at Noisey.

Now with the long-awaited/highly-anticipated third LP from Brown, entitled Old, we're given the opportunity to glimpse proper the innards of his brain. Featuring collaborations with Scrufizzer, Ab-Soul, Purity Ring, A$AP Rocky, Schoolboy Q, Freddie Gibbs, Zelooperz and Charli XCX, you can expect the calling-card aesthetic we've come to expect form Brown. It's got its fair share of kook, bizzarities and deranged antics, as well as a potent West Coast smog, oft-disturbing tales of the hood and recounted woes from his troubled past. It's equal parts heartbreaking and fascinating.

Brown can't take all the credit though. There's a cluster of mega-talented producers, fingers flicking switches and mashing buttons, swivelling knobs and yanking levers, that have all been vital pillars in the record's sound.

Paul White is the most prevalent producer on Old, tackling five of the nineteen tracks. Based in London, he's a prolific musician in his own right, spouting leftfield psychedelia-twanged instrumental hip-hop on his trove of EPs. He's released material in pillowcases, and sampled King Crimson; dabbled in krautrock and plays the finger cymbals - it's little wonder Danny Brown has referred to White as "[his] favourite producer to work with."

Anthemic, relentless percussion dominates 'Side A (Old)', with 65dos post-rock synths acting as harmonies - it's dark and surreal. It's a more in-your-face style that Brown utilises, forgoing his natural whimsy to match the instrumentals. 'The Return' (apparently an Outkast sequel), featuring Freddie Gibbs, according to Brown "sounds like a fucking haunted house." 'Lonely' features '60s psych guitars and Jagwar Ma vibes, and there's a French spoken word passage talking about birds in the intro. 'Clean Up' is full of robotic vocoder backings, space-age piano and jazz bass. It's not what you'd approach a Danny Brown record expecting. That's generally Paul White's role on Old. As an avante-garde hip-hoppist, he warps and buckles the standard in favour of experiments and samples that only Brown can reign in.

22 year old Canadian Corin Roddick - one half of the aforementioned witch-house duo Purity Ring - tackles production duties on '25 Bucks' (Megan James' vocals are also present here). There are rolling waves of doomwave electronics, the grave crunch of apocalyptic beats. It's hip-hop, but not like you've ever heard. Purity Ring's appearance on the track is blatant, and at times it feels more like a PR track featuring Brown - not that that would be bad. Hip-hop's not Roddick's prime genre, but he handles himself well and provides a skewed basis for Brown to unleash a deluge of chaos.

Self-proclaimed 'loop fracker' Oh No sticks his talented digits right into three cuts. Raised in a musical family, Oh No is the younger brother of Madlib and nephew of trumpeter Jon Faddis - brandishing his God-given talent, he's worked with De La Soul and Mos Def, twiddling knobs for the giants. On Old, Oh No works over 'Gremlins' (no relation to any Tyler, The Creator stuff), injecting grim old-school gangsta-rap atmospherics. 'Red 2 Go' is again full of shadowy menace. It also features early '90s roots rap - Oh No is partial to the grit and nostalgia of early rap production. He does give it an update, with screwy sinister pads and elements of trap, but a lot of his appeal comes from the harking back to the genre's foundations.

Frank Dukes (as well as "a couple of the bros from BadBadNotGood") works his magic over 'Float On' (sans Modest Mouse), featuring pop wunderkind Charli XCX. It's a light, dreamy sonic dollop of Angel Delight - 'Float On' is no misnomer. The skittish beats rattle underfoot, barely noticeable behind a thick veil of synth duvet. It's a vastly different facet of Danny Brown compared to the machismo of the Paul White produced cuts.

"One of the biggest producers in the grime scene at the moment" and "Professor of urban electronica" (as so humbly put on his Facebook page) Darq E Freaker - who worked on upcoming starlet Gita's hit 'Mardi Gras' - dazzles us on Brown's 'Handstand'. It's dance-hop pure and simple, poised at dancefloors; Brown's lyrics aren't exactly Sartre here ("She pop that pussy like she ain't afraid to fuck,") but they do the job. Á la Iggy Azalea, it's simply for getting lairy to, and if there's anything that native Londoner Darq E Freaker does awesomely, it's making people get wiggly.

A man who needs no introduction, A-Trak (completely uncoincidentally the owner of Brown's label), alongside JMIKE, add their paws to Old's 'Smokin & Drinkin'. The former is a dance artiste extraordinaire with enormous star power and pop credentials, the latter is less well known. Hailing from Baltimore, the youngster is pals with Kane Beatz, together working on beats for T-Pain and Trey Songs, as well as the club-thumping worldwide megahit 'Super Bass' by Nicki Minaj. A double-headed production team of A-Trak and JMIKE screams 'pop anthem'.

Erratic ganja ode 'Kush Coma' - featuring A$AP Rocky and Zelooperz - is helmed by production maestro SKYWLKR. Based in the Motor City like Brown, SKYWLKR feels a natural choice for the eccentricity of Brown. Everything leaps and jolts as if electrocuted. It's washed with the neon ADHD of Tumblr and the siren-synths of electropop; these noises are as hyperactive as Brown's flow. SKYWLKR has worked with Brown before on Childish Gambino's track 'Toxic' (sampling Britney Spears) and on 'Witit'. Both showcase a similar frenetic style with lucid rattling beats and jerky hooks - SKYWLKR is clearly a wise choice to accentuate Brown's idiosyncrasies.

Last, but by no means least, is Rustie. The Glaswegian producer has worked with Bloc Party, Kelis, Jamie Lidell, Zomby and Modeselektor before, and was prominently featured in an ad campaign featuring Jessica Ennis for Adidas. Apparently he works in a niche known as aquacrunk (so says The Guardian), but for those who haven't the foggiest what that is, he's basically a purveyor of a hip-hop/dubstep fusion. It's big dance music that has grabbed the attention of the BBC multiple times, and there's little doubt that Rustie will traverse the charts at some point. On Old, he wrestles with 'Break It (Go)', 'Side B (Dope Song)' and 'Way Up Here' (which features Ab-Soul). There's a notable dance element here, and the bass synths become very important. Drums are spot-on, worked meticulously - there's drops and climaxes. Rustie's influence is tangible, but like the stellar producer he is, never distracts the spotlight from Brown.

Old has people frothing and foaming in anticipation - there are precious few artists that can do that, and it's a testament to Brown's ability that as a relative newcomer (limelight-wise) he has such a grasp over his fanbase. The record is a colourful concoction, draped in a plethora of inspirations and painted by a cornucopia of deft hands - Brown's words and voice are obviously the main attraction, but the record wouldn't be as essential without the work of everyone who's assisted behind the scenes.

Head here to read our assessment of the album, by Features Editor Michelle Kambasha. Head here to stream it.