Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

Bree Runway ft. Yung Baby Tate – Damn Daniel

We’re back at it again with Amnesty Week! And also with our new #2 of the year…


[Video]
[8.50]

Joshua Lu: I know what you’re thinking: Why the hell is there a song titled “Damn Daniel” released in the year of our Lord 2020? I don’t have a good answer for that — maybe Bree Runway was really deep into knowyourmeme.com one night? But her year has been a string of incredible singles, and on “Damn Daniel” she particularly shines. In an evolving narrative about the titular Daniel turning out to be a massive fuckboy, new hooks and sonic quirks emerge every five seconds (topped off with a sublime outro that always gets me in the mood to hate men), and those irresistible dayummms peppered around manage to justify naming the song after a meme. It’s all crammed into this sub-three-minute, serotonin-inducing, taint-smashing jam.
[10]

Vikram Joseph: File under: club bangers wasted on this goddamn year. Over a frenetic trap-hop beat, Bree Runway and Yung Baby Tate (in character as Keisha and Felicia — name a more iconic duo!) dovetail to take down the eponymous anti-hero who never posts them on the ‘Gram, despite almost certainly having a dating profile which says “rarely on here — add me on Instagram!”. It’s hard to say whether Bree’s glottal stop on “titties” or Tate’s “Hurrmpty Durrmpty” is more satisfying, but the moment when the song explodes into a rapturous glitter-bomb of pop delirium with 40 seconds remaining is perfection itself. I personally cannot wait to shout “Don’t – don’t – d-don’t – don’t trusssst the man!” at friends and strangers on a sticky dancefloor.
[9]

Ady Thapliyal: The first five seconds, a prefab City Girls-type beat, are a fake out; thankfully, the song gives way to the skronky New Jack Swing of Neneh Cherry’s “Buffalo Stance.” The tribute feels apt — the bizarro pop of Cherry and Salt-N-Pepa is the aesthetic predecessor of Runway’s abrasive, kitchen-sink style. Beyond that, the track is a bit thin, with neither Runway nor Yung Baby Tate able to get a good memorable line in, and I’m a little disappointed that the “say that shit” interlude didn’t devolve into New Orleans Bounce bliss. 
[5]

Juana Giaimo: After years of hip-hop with gloomy and dark trap beats, “Damn Daniel” feels like fresh air, even if it sounds straight from the late ’80s — I hear lots of Neneh Cherry vibes. I like how Bree Runway and Yung Baby Tate are telling a story together; their tone lets you know these aren’t women you want to mess with. The song’s many parts are really dynamic, especially that spectacular ending: after Bree builds tension, it resolves in an unexpectedly smooth outro that tells you they can also be chill once they get their revenge.
[8]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Another Bree Runway track, another expertly crafted, subversive bridge. “Damn Daniel” starts off as sloppy, ruckus fun as she and Yung Baby Tate rag on their dude du jour; their flow is straight up jarring and confrontational. Two verses in, the track culminates into a steady vortex of taunts: “Say that shit/Better watch your back” shouted over and over again, with an increasing and increasing bite. But just when it seems like the track is about to truly about explode, they switch gears without any warning: singing melodiously and sweet as possible, “If you fuck with him, he’ll fuck all your friends.” The moment catches me off guard every time I listen to it, truly one of the most thrilling and unexpected moments in music this year.
[8]

Will Adams: As if the excellent ’90s hip hop pastiche of the first two-and-a-half-minutes wasn’t enough, the  final act turns into a sunburst electropop jam? Not sure what else to say but, “Damn.”
[8]

Nortey Dowuona: Pounding bass is followed by hiccuping vocal tics as Bree smoothly vaults over the sharp synths, chuckling. She slides down the compressed speedup until Yung Baby Tate bounces it, drops it in the net without even looking, then tosses it high. Bree hurls it back and Yung Baby catches it and lifts into the sky, watching raw compressed speedup rip through the basketball court, a massive synth wave blanketing the split concrete. Bree and Yung Baby watch atop the drums, shuffling cards.
[9]

Kylo Nocom: Loud, booming percussion? Vine references? Bounce breaks? “Buffalo Stance”-aping video? Yung Baby Tate? Am I being catered to? Well, uh, yeah! “Damn Daniel” is a long list of things I like, and giving it any less praise than I’m about to would be dishonest. “Damn Daniel” is obviously late ’80s-indebted, but the mixtape title and Missy Elliott feature suggest a different ethos: that of the Y2K revivalist scene, which sometimes feels unnervingly close to the same toxic nostalgia-bait that fueled the White Avengers of Disco and semi-ironic Pop Star ;) trains this year. But I can’t help but enjoy “Damn Daniel” for what it is: a joyous celebration of eclectic pop tropes that somehow manages to feel fresh and clever.
[9]

Kayla Beardslee: This song is packed to the absolute brim with hooks, punchlines, and instantly iconic quotes. “Got good brain, but not much knowledge” — same, Bree. Getting your titties out when you’re with the scholars? Why not? Yung Baby Tate stopping and starting the beat and making “hi/bye” sound like the freshest rhyme in existence — amazing feature energy. The way the “ooooOOOH” swells beneath Bree’s “say that shit” refrain, and the way her “If you fuck with him” and “Don’t trust a man!” exclamations suddenly crash in at the end of the song? Pop genius. “Damn Daniel” is a burst of energy and confidence even greater than the sum of its parts: if you added them together (ask the scholars), I would estimate that it makes you feel something like 300% That Bitch.
[9]

Crystal Leww: Five years ago, Missy Elliott’s “WTF (Where They From)” reminded me once again of her unmistakable influence on rappers that happened to be women, and Missy featuring on Bree Runway’s mixtape is obvious confirmation of her lineage. On “Damn Daniel,” Bree and another young rap standout, Yung Baby Tate, get the spirit of what makes Missy great but also make it their own. This is about two women going toe-to-toe over a two-timing man, but Missy had a way of making sex sound so damn fun and playful, and “Damn Daniel” also sounds like the two flyest girls on the playground trading jabs over a beat that you can practically play double dutch over. Every punch is packed with personality and regional specificity. That first verse has Bree Runway drawing out words to take full advantage of her Hackney accent for effect, and Yung Baby Tate bursts in with a “wassup” and a whispered “wink and a smile” that reminds me of the Southern girls that I grew up who could both charm and beat my ass. The only unbelievable thing is that Daniel could have ever handled this much woman.
[8]

Samson Savill de Jong: For as long as men in rap have been complaining about the ladies’ lack of loyalty, the women have been firing back reminders of the boys’ own untrustworthiness, and Bree Runway and Yung Baby Tate have added another bullet to the chamber. Really, the only complaint is the chorus — the “say that shit/better watch your back” chanting goes on too long both times it happens, and although I think it’s intentionally abrasive, I don’t think it fits sonically. The rest is a pretty good time.
[7]

William John: Two artists destined for spots on “Sound Of 2021” lists (and who might perhaps be noticed by enough Grammy committee members to get a “Best New Artist” nod in 2027) hang in a buffalo stance. The revivalist streak of “Damn Daniel” threatens to veer too far into kitsch, but its performers are too charismatic to let that happen — so much so that it’s easy to not only forgive the gaudiness of the “Jump” interpolation, but to allow it to put a smile on your face.
[8]

Alfred Soto: With the blood of Miami bass and Missy Elliott-Timbaland coursing healthily through its veins, “Damn Daniel” triumphs as a showcase for two charismatic performers calling themselves “Keisha and Felicia,” who, in a year of isolation, pretend vulgar crosstalk can still happen without masks. 
[10]

Rachel Saywitz: I always love a good, solid bop about playboys, and “Damn Daniel” delivers in all of its bitchy, glitchy glory. Bree Runway and Yung Baby Tate are perfectly matched and create well-defined characters in just two lines each — “My name is Keisha, and I go college / Fuck with all the credit card scammers and the fraudsters” gives us a pretty good explanation on why Keisha would get together with a man like Daniel. Can we get a ’90s-esque sitcom about Keisha and Felicia committing crimes against all the “Daniels” of the world? We already have the theme song!
[9]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Musical comedy is, on the whole, a bad idea. The songs are rarely strong enough to hold up the jokes, and the musical structures tend to dampen the jokes. And yet I love funny music– that is, music made by artists who aren’t only trying to make comedy that ends up being hilarious regardless by virtue of the jokes woven more naturally into the music. “Damn Daniel” works straight and askew– even if you aren’t paying attention to the lyrics, Liohn and Johannes Klahr’s beat sounds like how I imagine hearing “Pump Up The Jam” (or whatever ’90s dance hit you prefer) for the first time felt, an inexorable call to the dancefloor that keeps elevating itself with every passing bar. But “Damn Daniel” is fun even if you’re sitting in your living room and reading along with Bree and Tate. They play the dancefloor as a one-act comedy, setting up their characters and the conflict with the breeziness of your girls telling you about the drama they’ve gotten up to as you walk from the subway station to the house party. It’s the kind of music that sounds fun and effortless by virtue of an extremely practiced pen.
[10]

Brad Shoup: It’s not a story until, suddenly, it is. The first third is Paula Abdul; YBT summons L’Trimm 808s, then joins Bree on the bridge for some “Jump” synth hits. The last third is a lost Gwen Stefani single. Pretending this is Ready Player Two.
[8]

Katherine St Asaph: Didn’t expect a Salt-N-Pepa and “Jump” homage from a track named after a years-old Vine! Didn’t expect one from anyone, actually, despite it being an instant slam dunk; it really seemed like everyone in music (besides occasionally Cardi B) skipped over #remembering those particular ’90s. Extra point because now Daniel Lara gets to be in a song that’s much better than Weezer.
[9]

Aaron Bergstrom: A fitting tribute to Vine in both its title (god, remember 2016?) and execution, which is to say that on first listen it seemed like too many ideas smashed together in rapid succession but now that I’ve looped it a few times in a row it’s getting progressively harder to stop, and I keep finding new things I love.
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Reader average: [8.83] (6 votes)

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5 Responses to “Bree Runway ft. Yung Baby Tate – Damn Daniel”

  1. We done tore this up. Someone send this to Bree’s publicist.

  2. Kayla, I’ve spent a lot of time and failed trying to find the words to describe what you so flawlessly transcribed as “ooooOOOH”

  3. deeply heartbroken that i missed the blurb cutoff on this, ybt’s delivery on “it’s felicia – hi!” is one of my favorite three seconds in any song this year. glad we stan bree runway though :0)

  4. So many names here that I missed it, but welcome, Samson!

  5. Thanks Austin, glad to be a part of the gang <3

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