610dannyBrown

"More than a punch-line champ"

Photo: Brock Fetch | Interview: Peter Madsen

In the same cultural moment where today’s instant-classic album was yesterday’s free-to-download, comes Danny Brown, a rapper and producer whose aptly-titled 2010 album The Hybrid hints at the myriad, seemingly contradictory qualities that make him so interesting. This Detroiter has an almost superhuman control of his pitch and breath-control, starting and stopping, buzzing and bouncing over beats that allude to the early days of Definitive Jux. Track by track, Danny entertains: “All my bitches eat pussy like Missy / But they look like Chrissy / from Three’s Company, roll another blunt for me…” He even delivers his disses with a smile: “My chocolate melts in your girl’s mouth, Mr Goodbar!” More than a punch-line champ, Danny also reports on teen pregnancy and splurges with a benefits card, and expresses the bleak ambition of small-time drug-dealers. Danny simultaneously appeals to rap heads and people who don’t like rap, holding forth with the new guard (Tha Pack, Odd Future, Das Racist, Ninjasonik) while having also collaborated with Tony Yayo and almost getting signed to 50 Cent’s G-Unit. Danny and I twisted one up in his van after his Death Match set and had the following words.

You asked me what I thought about your set and I said it was funny.
I put a lot of comedy into it, even though there’s truth and serious shit in there. That’s the way to break it to people when you’re telling them something serious. Coming from Detroit, that’s what we’re known for. There are a lot of guys who take themselves too seriously. They’re trying to be gangster and there aren’t any jokes. I talk about the same stuff, but I figured out a way to put some humor into it.

Is it true that 50-Cent wouldn’t sign you because of your skinny jeans?
Yeah, that’s true.

Why did you start wearing tight jeans?
In about ’02, ’03 I went to New York, and it was my first time leaving Detroit. I was going to what you’d call “hipster clubs” with rock music and not too much dancing. My preference with women are white girls, so I’d go to these clubs but I would still have the big pants, army coats, Air Force Ones, and I was getting no bitches, man! I had to get some bitches.

Your music increases the height of ollies. I speak from personal experience.
That’s an honor. My love for skating came from videogames. I started with Skate or Die, back in the day, on regular Nintendo! Then Tony Hawk Pro Skater started to get better with its soundtracks: Cannibal Ox, Aesop Rock. Skating has influenced a lot of things, including music.

What’s the future of rap?
Rap’s back to how it used to be, like in the ’70s, but in a digital way. Back then there were only like a dozen rappers, and you bought all the records that came out if you were into rap. Right now, you choose what the fuck you want to listen to, and it don’t matter what the label put out. Somebody could upload a CD from their bedroom and it could be the hottest shit tomorrow. It’s like a digging-thing—everyone wants to find the most unsigned artist who’s hot but no one knows about yet.

What’s the biggest advantage to not having two front teeth?
It’s all clitoris action, man!

  • Kool Keith Interview

    Kool Keith Interview
    Kool Keith don’t give a shit. He’s the death metal of hip-hop. Sam Hitz hit him up for an interview outside of a recent gig.
  • Psycho Las Vegas

    Psycho Las Vegas
    If Vegas in August wasn’t hot enough to melt your brain already, Psycho Las Vegas will surely get the job done. It’s three days of old and new psych, metal, and rock ‘n’ roll, August 26-28.
  • Habitat x Animal Collective

    Habitat x Animal Collective
    Habitat teamed up with the band Animal Collective to release three new boards and a tee shirt. Check it out.
  • Turnstile Interview

    Turnstile Interview
    The tight-knit Turnstile crew took some time to talk before a recent gig in San Francisco. Check it out.
  • Hank Wood and the Hammerheads Interview

    Hank Wood and the Hammerheads Interview
    Cowbells, keyboards and ‘tude. Hank Wood and the Hammerheads took a minute to talk about city living, their music and Internet haters.
  • Sam Vincent Foundation Benefit Show

    Sam Vincent Foundation Benefit Show
    Come out for a night of killer music and support a good cause.
  • Burger Boogaloo 2016 Photos

    Burger Boogaloo 2016 Photos
    Burger Records took over Mosswood park in Oakland, CA, for their annual Boogaloo. The line-up was stacked, the sun was out and good times were had. Check out some photos here.
  • Napalm Death Interview

    Napalm Death Interview
    We caught up with Barney of Napalm Death before a recent gig at The Casbah in San Diego.
  • Future Islands Interview

    Future Islands Interview
    This band had a long-time cult following and blew up the last couple of years. Austyn Gillette and David Letterman may have helped, but mostly the tunes did all the work.
  • Zig Zags' "Giving Up The Ghost" Music Video

    Zig Zags' "Giving Up The Ghost" Music Video
    Zig Zags are back at it again with their heavy metal horror themed skate punk in the video for “Giving Up The Ghost” off the album, Running out of Red, out now on Castle Face records.