"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!
2/26/2017Krayzie, Bizzy and Layzie had some time to discuss tracking down Eazy-E, the first time they heard “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” on the radio and what it’s like going back to Cleveland.
2/26/2017Converse and Babylon LA teamed up and released a limited edition Chuck Taylor featuring the artwork Babylon LA is well known for, which meant it was time for a shoe-release party! Check out some photos here.
2/26/2017The House of Vans in Chicago is opening their doors with a two-day celebration featuring a photo exhibit, artist workshop, open skate night and performances by Future Islands, Digable Planets and Noname. RSVP here.
2/26/2017Maseo took some time while in Argentina to discuss the new album, performing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and whether or not working with Prince Paul will ever happen again.
2/26/2017The top-three list for SOTY was all tuff no fluff: Figgy, K-Walks and Evan Smith. While he don’t mind not being the “guy,” he’s just stoked to be on planet Earth having the time of his life. Listen to Mr. Smith talk about the road and the mag on the airwaves. —Jake Phelps
2/26/2017Descendents were the background music to so many sessions and they contributed to the soundtracks of some of the most-watched skate videos of all times. Thankfully, they’re still cranking out the tunes with a brand-new album. We caught up with their front man, Milo, to see what makes them tick year after year.
2/26/2017The "LA Stories" collaboration between Snoop Dogg and Mark Gonzales connects skateboarding, music and art.
2/26/2017They’re like a dash of punk, an ounce of metal, but really just some of the best speedy rock ‘n’ roll in ages.
2/26/2017With rock stars dropping like flies nowadays, we are really lucky to have Alice Cooper still out there going full throttle. Welcome to Alice’s nightmare.
2/26/2017Metallica played their album release show last night to a lucky crowd at the House of Vans in London.