Danny Brown is odd and tricky in a world that seeks conformity and simplicity. At hip-hop's peak point, where the genre was synonymous with saggy pants, Calvin's, bling and all that represented the conquering of white America, Danny Brown walked into 50 Cent's office wearing skinny jeans probably spitting his puncturing laugh while 50 Cent told a shitty joke. Let's assume that Brown went in with a 'yes sir, please sir' sycophancy that fuelled the short careers of the G-Unit artist roster. 50 Cent still rejected him, not brave enough to pull a Dre-like stroke and sign another Detroit rapper on the fringes of hip-hop. Eminem was white, Danny Brown was weird - the difference is that Dre took a chance, and 50 didn't.

But what Brown's break out second LP XXX taught us, was that he was never meant to be co-signed. He was supposed to carve his own way to people's attentions and with that record he did, busting out in the most extreme and most refreshing way - and by refreshing I mean inspiring a few straight-edge suburban kids to pop a pill or two, listen to the vibes and gurn their teeth away. Still, there is more to Brown than that, as he shows on third LP, Old. Named so because he's old in relative hip-hop terms, there's only so much partying a 33-year-old can do without experiencing domineering crashing lows and pensive cries about the state of his life, up 'til now. Old accommodates both these states, with fine cohesiveness, splitting the album into 'Side A (Old)', for heavy moments and 'Side B' for the raving times.

The record opens with 'Side A (Old)', with production from London based producer and frequent collaborator, Paul White. Featuring suspended in the air, light production as well as an ode to 'old skool' turntables, it's indicative of what's to follow. Slick but stocky sounds that provide a solid foundation for Brown's vocal quirks to flourish. Take 'Wonderbread'; with its staccato patterns and progressive understated ambience, Brown's exuberant flow still manages to take control over the record. 'Dope Fiend Rental' featuring ScHoolboy Q has its production courtesy of Brown's closest in house man, SKYWLKR. With a soaring beat that sounds like a bunch of ideas - from surging guitar sounds, to heavy but drawn back drum machine elements - it's almost by chance that they infuse well. Commendable also, that Brown manages to hold his own on this track, in spite of Q's reputation of stealing records from their owners.

That's another thing about features on the record. Ranging from the likes of Purity Ring on '25 Bucks' to Scrufizzer on 'Dubstep', though the features add to Danny Brown's distinct and multi-faceted musical persona, they don't detract from him either. Much will be made of the more unorthodox features on Old, a certain high point comes early on with Freddie Gibbs performance on 'The Return'. It's calm and understated, a style that he's known for, but still affecting. At times it's difficult to tell who's rapping as Brown relinquishes his wide-mouthed cartoonish flow for the track. It's certainly a song for the old school, of which Brown is unequivocally part of, despite his futuristic tendencies, that are seen from 'Side B'.

And so, 'Side B' kicks in and the Danny Brown of 'molly' fame comes out in full and unadulterated force, as supported by production from people esteemed in this wild brand of music. From Rustie's dirty, dubby production that seems set to incite brainless riots on 'Break It (Go)', to the Darq E Freaker produced thumper on 'Handstand' (which sounds like the uglier, bitter step brother to Benga and Coki's 'Night'), what's again, surprisingly successful about Old is the fact that it doesn't feel disjointed. The Brown personas of side A and B, (with a small letters) can coexist peacefully without feeling bipolar. Side B signifies a break to the first part of the record, but not an ill-advised departure a la Nicki Minaj on Roman Reloaded. It' a semicolon, not a full stop followed by a new paragraph.

While sound and production indicate an artist that's clever, lyrics exhibit just how emotionally wealthy and different they are. Brown is not that much different other rappers that have come before him, as he shows on 'Clean Up'. He hails from the same neighbourhoods that the government forgets (except for every 4 years), and for those in similar situations, similar results transpire. He turned to drug dealing just like 50 Cent (he was just less successful than him), he didn't keep his snaggled teeth out of choice but because he didn't have that coveted dental insurance. What makes him different is because he's brave and wild and this goes beyond circumstance and comes from within.

Danny Brown represents something that's both honest and ironic in equal measure, but that's all made comfortable because of his willingness to tell us his story through his now signature maniacal laugh and character voices. Old, from its quirky beat selection to its more classic hip-hop moments leaves the listener more than happy but steeped with a sense of jealousy. Final track, 'Float On', featuring Charlie XCX is the single most pensive and vulnerable moment on the record. He doesn't glamorise the drugs he takes, and he details with a believable honesty, what it has taken to get where he is. It's not a sob story but an autobiography of Brown to this point 'It's like I learnt right there, you either sink or you swim, and to beat your enemy you got to think like them." On Old, he's beaten the enemies and beaten some of his friends too.

Head here to read our 'Dissected' feature on the producers behind the album.