Hanni El Khatib comes off as Donald Trump's worst nightmare: he was born brown, he's proud of it, and he's not going anywhere.
Chris Ingalls: There's a definite urgency to this track, both in the musical delivery (which straddles a line between naked dance rhythms and a punk vocal delivery) and in the lyrical content, which is a full-throated proclamation of immigrant pride. As the son of a Palestinian father and Filipino mother, El Khatib comes off as Donald Trump's worst nightmare: he was born brown, he's proud of it, and he's not going anywhere. The utterly unclassifiable nature of the musical style adds yet another intriguing layer. An artist worth your time. [8/10]
Pryor Stroud: In "Born Brown", Hanni El Khatib isn't interested in filtering himself. He's not interested in metaphor, in elaborate avant-rock imagery or poetic embellishments, in political commentary or personal reflection. No, the track isn't a simple act of expression; it's a teeth-baring assertion of existence -- a torched-throat declaration of one's ethnic heritage and one's wholehearted allegiance to that heritage, despite the difficulties that may come from such an honest avowal of one's racial identity. "'81, I came alive / '81, I came alive / Work, work, work / Work to survive", El Khatib screams, and you can feel him pounding his chest with each word, affirming the brown skin that he has come to love. But there's frustration there too, something bubbling beneath the skin that arises in the song's discordant, art-garage aesthetic. [6/10]
Emmanuel Elone: "Mom came over in '75 / Dad came over in '77 / '81 I came alive / Work, work, work, work to survive / When I was born brown, born brown." These are not only the most basic of lyrics that anyone could have put together, but Hanni El Khatib feels the need to belt them out maniacally as if he's making some powerful statement. Sure, he's proud to be an immigrant of color, but he's not the only one to feel that way and he isn't even saying it in an interesting manner. Also, the instrumental on this song sounds like the embarrassing, angsty teenager of Pink Floyd's "On the Run" that only makes the song more abrasive, and not in the way Hanni El Khatib was expecting. The only good thing about this song is that it's mercifully short, so my sanity can remain somewhat intact by the end of it. [2/10]
Chad Miller: A nice ode to immigrants in America.The song is extremely short, but it seems like it'd be a cool interlude. It has really effective production too, amplifying the immediacy and importance of the vocals. [7/10]