He might not think much of his hometown of Detroit but growing up in a city steeped in music certainly didn’t do him any harm. Surrounded by house and electronic music from an early age, owing to his Dad’s DJ credentials, Danny Brown is reluctant to credit anyone with his success other than himself.
Laughing off a recent on stage sexual encounter from an overly amorous fan, Brown is every inch the controversial rapper you might expect but is there more to this eccentric artist than meets the eye? Hunger does its best to find out what makes this one time drug dealer and recent Goliath Artist inductee tick.
YOUR FATHER WAS A HOUSE DJ SO YOU COULD SAY MUSIC IS IN YOUR BLOOD – DID YOU HAVE ANY OTHER AMBITIONS OUTSIDE OF BECOMING A RAPPER?
Yeah, he wasn’t a musician as such but he used to DJ at parties and stuff. There would always be a lot of electronic music being played in the house, just electronic music in general. He wasn’t in any big groups or anything but it definitely had an effect on me from an early age. I never really had any ambitions to be a rapper, I just started doing it. At kindergarten we had to do a show and tell and I had nothing to show or tell (*laughs*), so I just rapped and all the kids in the class liked it so I just kept doing it. Because my pops was going round doing house music I was just always more open to electronic music. You know, Detroit, we have a scene for that.
DETROIT HAS BEEN THROUGH SOME PRETTY TOUGH TIMES – ARE YOU SEEING ANY POSITIVE CHANGES IN THE CITY?
Nah, not really. It’s probably getting worse. Worse and worse. But hopefully, you know, there is a change. But right now it’s bad. It’s bad in a lot of places.
IT ALSO HAS A VERY ACTIVE MUSIC SCENE, HOW DID THIS BENEFIT YOUR OWN CAREER – IS IT A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY?
I don’t think you can make it just being in Detroit. You have to get out of Detroit – thats when things started taking off for me. But nah, Detroit hasn’t really helped me to be where I’m at right now, nahmsayin? You gotta leave. I had to leave, y’know? My career started with me leaving. I would take 300 bucks and just go to New York on a Greyhound. I had to just do what I could do and meet who I could meet. Things progressed from me doing that and things just started happening. Detroit is like a crab in a barrel mentality, man – nobody trying to help nobody.
ARE YOU WORRIED THAT YOUR LYRICS ABOUT DRUGS AND SEX HAVE A NEGATIVE INFLUENCE ON YOUNG PEOPLE – DOES IT GLORIFY A CERTAIN LIFESTYLE?
Nah – as me being a kid listening to Hip Hop that’s all I heard, you know? I didn’t feel like I had… A kid’s going to do whatever they want to do, regardless of music – most TV and reality shows is going to be a more bad thing than my music, nahmsayin’? If any thing, it should be like, awareness (*laughs*). I’m aware of some worse influences, you know? I don’t think I glorify any…… I just rap about what I do. If that sounds gruff on me then I guess I’m making it sound cool, but whatever I’m talking about I still give you the flipside, you know? I’m not just telling you one thing. I’m giving you both sides of the story.
WHICH ARTISTS ARE CURRENTLY IMPRESSING YOU?
Kevin Gates. Definitely Kevin Gates. I like Kevin Gates. I’m a fan first – I make my music how I make my music. If I hear something that’s good, you know, of course it inspires you but I think I’m always…. I feel I’m committing my life more so than just trying to make music
DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE IN THREE WORDS.
In three words? (*Laughs). Unfiltered, extreme and abrasive.
WHEN YOU’RE AWAY FROM THE STATES WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST?
I don’t know…. I think I actually… I just like being out here to be honest. I don’t think I miss anything (*Laughs*). I like being away from home, man.
A CERTAIN INCIDENT WHICH OCCURRED ON STAGE IN WHICH A FAN SIMULATED ORAL SEX ON YOU MADE HEADLINES RECENTLY – IS IT WORRYING THAT FANS DON’T RESPECT THE BOUNDARIES?
I don’t get worried about it, I just….. Shit happens, you know? (*Laughs*). It’s the moment – you get caught in the moment sometimes – it shows how powerful music is, you know? It just shows how powerful music is.
YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC AS ‘ANTI-CLEAN RAP’ – DO YOU EVER THINK YOU’LL TONE IT DOWN?
Hmmmm… I don’t know about tone it down, but I’ll probably figure out new ways to say things, you know what I’m sayin? I don’t know about tone it down…. I don’t know. ‘Cause I’m 32 years old I can’t say that I’ma get more mature. It is what it is, you know what I’m sayin’? At this point anyway.
YOU’RE NOW REPRESENTED BY GOLIATH ARTISTS, WHICH ALSO MANAGES EMINEM – IS THIS A DEFINING MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER?
Yeah, I think it’s a big step. It’s a huge step, you know what I’m sayin? There should be more opportunities. I’ll just put the album out and see what happens after that, you know?