Tony Yayo & Danny Brown: Hawaiian Snow

One of 2010's least likeliest combos delivers an equally surprising collection of gritty, street-oriented bangers.

Tony Yayo & Danny Brown

Hawaiian Snow

Label: G-Unit
US Release Date: 2010-09-14
UK Release Date: 2010-09-14

Hawaiian Snow is perhaps not the least likely collaboration of 2010, but it's certainly one of the most unexpected. Originally planned as a Tony Yayo mixtape with Danny Brown appearances, the two became quick friends in the G-Unit offices and, over a mutual love of marijuana and Lil' B's unconscious ramblings, Hawaiian Snow was born. And while the album peters out towards the end and could certainly receive endless criticism over the similarity of Doe Pesci's beats or the interchangeable nature of Yayo's presence here, for the most part, it's one of the most efficient releases hip-hop's seen this year. You know what you're getting as soon as either of the first two tracks queue up; "Roll Up" is a simplistic ode to the activity of blunting, while "Bags Double Tied" is a starkly dramatic trap house scenario.

Danny Brown is great throughout the LP, comparing his shock value to forks in wall sockets, his boxframe car to Patrick Ewing's fade, his Adderall habit to Flintstone vitamin consumption, and so on. The dude just goes off every time he hops on the mic and shows no signs of lost momentum after the free Hybrid project and his limited guest verses. Everything that comes out of his mouth has an urgency required of the best MCs, but it's his constant creativity that really puts him on that upper level of the best street rappers out right now.

Yayo is a surprise on most of this album, switching from his usually awful and clumsy attempts to be Lloyd Banks' identical backup to a very abstract, darkly smoked out performance. His lyrics are super scattershot, dropping misaligned references as often as possible in a slow, measured drawl that would most certainly be off beat if Doe Pesci's beats were more substantial. But Pesci is definitely from the new school of mixtape producers, all analog synths and airy vibes that put the focus more on atmosphere and attitude than funky, boom bap energy.

The biggest highlights -- "Bags Double Tied", "So High", "On One" and "O.M.G." -- all have a very similar feeling of sitting on a tattered couch in a non-lit room, surrounded by stacks of money, bags of crack and marijuana smoke, consumed by indifference. But the duo does pick up the mood a little bit, particularly on "Trap Ball", a swag anthem with Lil' B that falls just short of realizing its full potential, and "Cyclops", a clever song based on "seeing red beams like Cyclops took his glasses off" if you front on dudes. While that's a chorus, Brown has another great comic book reference earlier in the album when he claims he's "sittin' in the truck, like what's up/With somethin' that could make Tony Starks bankrupt/Pawnin' Iron Man suits for like a hundred bucks".

Overall, Hawaiian Snow is definitely an acquired taste and Tony Yayo is going to refuse to grow on some people, but for me, it has a really nice atmosphere and outside of a stale final stretch, it's been one of my most enjoyed albums/mixtapes since I got a hold of it. Definitely cop it if you want some Mob Deep-type attitude in your hip-hop because it's abundant here.


The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.