Danny Brown on Rap: "People Get Celebrated for the Bad Shit, Moreso Than the Good Shit"
Photo by Josh Wehle
These days, iconically quirky Detroit-born rapper Danny Brown rhymes about sadness, drugs, cats, Cool Ranch Doritos-smelling poonanny, and other such stuff.
You'll get the chance to join in on the fun during this year's Art Basel Miami Beach, as part of Fool's Gold Day Off.
Danny will be taking the stage with A-Trak and DJ Mustard, among others. And we here at Crossfade were able to catch up with Danny in preparation for this momentous occasion.
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We broke the ice by asking Danny about his adorable Bengal cat, Siren. "She cool. She chillin'."
Brown is both an outspoken admirer and critic of his hometown of Detroit. He grew up on the Detroit rap and techno scenes. He was a voracious fan of Juant Atkins' Model 500, he says.
But we were curious if the Miami sound fit into his aesthetic at all. "Miami bass is the sound that resonates with me the most. Home sweet home for that Miami bass sound. I mean 2 Live Crew."
Recently, Danny was featured on a new Eminem track, "Detroit Vs. Everybody," repping with other Motor City stalwarts Royce da 5'9" and Big Sean.
"It was just an honor to get the chance to do it," he says. "When the call hit me to do it, I had to do it right then. I didn't have a lot of time to do it. I had to have a verse in by the morning after the call. It was tight."
Brown was once involved in an itty-bitty feud with Big Sean. But that's long since been covered in the media and resolved. We asked if Danny felt that the rap game was a bit "high school."
"It's become a popularity contest. It's about who wears the coolest clothes. People get celebrated for the bad shit, moreso than the good shit."
See also: Five Signs You Might Be a Shitty Rapper
However, Danny loves the direction rap has gone in terms of providing choices for the fans. His landmark album, 2011's XXX, was released for free.
"A lot of my music is free. I never made music with the intention of making money," he insists. "I love [current release methods]. The people now dictate what's hot, not a major label. There was a time when there was only a few rappers. And you had to pick one that you liked and roll with it."
Lately, Danny's personal playlist has consisted of fellow Basel performer FKA Twigs, as well as Dean Blunt, Run the Jewels, Chief Keef, and Rich Gang.
For those readers who were hoping to board a marine vessel with the impeccably stylish performer, we're just going to have to dash those hopes right now.
"I'm too high to get on boats and play with any water and shit, you know? I get paranoid out there with the weed I smoke," he jokes. "I'm looking forward to partying and having a good time. Really the weather, you know. Being from Detroit, it's snowing right now, so it'll be good to get out and see the sunshine."
At this point, Danny reveals to us that he was playing NBA 2K as the New Orleans Pelicans against his friend as the Spurs. He's also put LeBron on his squad. Although, Brown does note that he usually plays as his hometown Pistons.
What do you think of the Pistons' season so far?
It's cool. I'm happy we got Stan Van Gundy.
Do they need to trade Josh Smith?
Yeah, I think we gave him too much money, though. So it's going to be hard to wheel-and-deal him. We have to find a sucker, you know?
At least you guys got Andre Drummond.
Yeah, I like Drummond. I like KCP [Kontavius Caldwell-Pope]. Brandon Jennings plays alright every now and then.
Have you ever hung out with any Pistons?
Naw, I don't hang out. I don't really go out. I just write songs.
What are you working on right now?
I just finished a new Bruiser Brigade album, and now I'm working on my album.
Is there anything else you wanna talk about?
Naw, I'm losing right now because of this conversation.
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