Adult Swim just made the dreams of 2011 rap fans come true with “Worth It,” a collaboration between Danny Brown and Clams Casino for the 2015 Singles Program.
Back in ‘11, Michael Volpe (as Clams Casino) emerged out of nowhere with his Instrumental Mixtape, a hip-hop take on an ambient album, made up of beats salvaged, in part, from Lil B loosies. Since then, Volpe has produced for the Weeknd, Schoolboy Q, Blood Orange, Foster the People, Mikky Ekko, and more. He’s also remixed Florence and the Machine and Sia.
Danny Brown, at the spritely age of 30, signed to Fool’s Gold records and released XXX, a defining mixtape that far surpassed his previous, mostly middling, work. Brown received further acclaim for 2013’s Old, an album which saw him dive deeper into EDM beats with production from the likes of Rustie and A-Trak. He’s a borderline superstar who’s got charted singles with A$AP Rocky and Eminem.
They’ve both changed greatly since their respective 2011 public debuts. Volpe, at times, was almost comically repetitive, taking vocal samples and stretching them to the point of utter intelligibility to create atmosphere. Recently, however, he’s shown more creativity behind the boards, most notably on Vince Staples’s Summertime ‘06 (“Norf Norf,”Summertime,” and “Surf”). Brown, similarly boxed-in, could be expected to hop in the booth and spit some cunnilingual bars in a high-pitched voice.
“Worth It” finds both artists going back to a more familiar formula without sounding repetitive or trite. Volpe’s cloudier production returns, but with a newfound precision. Brown’s lines are sharp and his hook, asking simply, “Is it really worth it?” is comfortably in his “fame ain’t all it’s cracked up to be” wheelhouse. “Worth It” doesn’t mean these two are going to ever link up again, but it’s both refreshing and warming to hear two beloved artists bringing something rejuvenated out of each other.