Danny Brown + Clams Casino – “Worth It” (Singles Going Steady)

Danny Brown and Clams Casino team up for the latest Adult Swim single.

Wonky and sinewy as fuck. I was dreading that this would be some kind of sad, humiliation of the vaguely empowering Fifth Harmony tune of the same name currently making the radio rounds (a la Kid Cudi’s “Poke Her Face”), but this is something altogether other. I’ve generally backed Danny Brown more on his weird-ass B-sides than the album cuts — “ODB”, “#Hottest MC”, the original rendition of “Kush Coma”, guest spots with Rustie and Darq E Freaker — so it’s nice to see this slippery little number, released as part of the Adult Swim summer singles, count amongst those hidden treasures. Clams Casino comes in swinging chiming synths along a greasy axel riddim mechanical enough to qualify for industrial, but not hyperactive enough to fit amongst the foley grime lots (HER Records, M.E.S.H., Bloom, Lotic). You’d almost be forgiven for thinking there is no beat in this by how asynchronous it sounds. It’s a big sloppy, albeit calculated, mess, but so is the subject matter and Danny Brown finds exactly where to ride each successive recurrence. I much prefer keen-eyed, critical, and paranoid Danny Brown to his raunchier alter ego self so I’m feeling this on all levels. It makes me excited for his return. In addition, Clams Casino is having his best year since ’11, having also honed some fine Vince Staples cuts on his debut full-length. — TIMOTHY GABRIELE (8 of 10)

Clams Casino: great dish, even better producer. Whether it be his work with A$AP Rocky, Mac Miller, his too-good instrumental comps or his contributions to the Grand Theft Auto V soundtrack, Clams Casino lords over the dark side of chillwave and reimagines it in a hip-hop context, taking tricks from German glitch-pop artist Oval and mixing it with the natural morbid-pop instincts of fellow backpack rap producer (and Aesop Rock go-to) Blockhead to create a tense, urban, but undeniably expressive sound with every single one of his productions. Danny Brown, however, has been a man overloaded with personality but even less so a distinguished identity, topping critics charts one moment and collaborating with Insane Clown Posse the next. Here, in his unmistakable high pitch, Brown dances around cliches but doesn’t really do much with them, threatening to eat rappers for breakfast like so many have done before but then just dropping the analogy wholesale, all as Casino’s digital windchimes crash in a very specific order, the tense backing track sounding like he solved chaos theory through the magic of boom-bap. “Worth It” is in fact worth it, but mainly as a curiosity instead of a grand statement. — EVAN SAWDEY (5/10)

Clams Casino matches Danny Brown’s irreverent style with defiantly abstract production in contrast with the hefty, ambient bangers he first made his name on. The stilted rhythms of the beat’s combined samples seems almost incidental, crumbling apart under one of Brown’s more even-handed performances in recent memory. It’s as if they’ve turned the dynamic of their collaboration on its head: Clams is the reckless and experimental one, coming in from left-field, and Brown acts as the safeguard, providing the much needed anchor. It’s definitely not what you’d expect (or necessarily want) out of a union of these two artists, but if either of them ever had a comfort zone, you’d never know it from this. — COLIN FITZGERALD (6/10)

This was pretty great, I loved how abrasive it was. The harsh noise of the backing tracks really worked. The juxtaposition of the backing tracks and the vocals did interesting things to the inside of my skull. If this is the single, I can’t wait to see the rest of the release. — ANDREW CROWLEY (9/10)

Like many Adult Swim Singles, this track challenges what makes something “musical” ha-ha. On the one hand, it’s not very melodic or accessible, with irritating vocals and seemingly random effects culminating in abrasive dissonance (there’s also a strong lack of actual instruments, if that matters); however, its creative and surprising as hell, with a tongue-in-cheek colorfulness and vivid experimentation that makes it a novelty worth experiencing (if only once). It’s like an auditory car accident—it’s not pleasant, but your voyeurism still prevents you from looking away. — JORDAN BLUM (5/10)