Tuesday, 25 February 2014

When I Interviewed Danny Brown

Below follows an interview that I conducted with Danny Brown in the Spring of last year. Long story short, my man Greg Golden Arms hollered at me to let me know that a mate of his (big up Ollie from Lionworks) was to be taking photographs of Danny Brown in the basement of the Electric Hair Salon in Brighton for a spread in Hunger magazine and they were down one interviewer. The time was set, the location was set and, most frustratingly, the questions were set. So, I dutifully rocked up to this most unusual of locales (for me – I have never really had any hair, let alone a hairstyle), proceeded to be eye fucked by every single conceited, narcissistic ponce in the place (I wasn’t exactly prepped for a cat walk run) and made my way down to the cramped, stuffy basement and sat about twiddling my thumbs. Turns out I’m not a big fan of hairdressing salons.

Anyway, I sat around for a bit and, to my surprise, Danny Brown wasn’t too late. He was, however, clearly on a massive comedown from his London show the night before. I immediately surmised that he had ‘popped a molly’ and subsequently had become ‘turnt up’ and therefore wasn’t feeling too chirpy at all. He was clearly in no mood whatsoever to be interviewed so I ever-so-slightly enamoured myself to him by telling him that it would all be over in a few minutes and that none of the questions that I was asking him were of my own creation. Given the opportunity I would have asked him much, much better questions. Ho hum.

Anyway, I did the interview, it was unremarkable, he didn’t care, I didn’t care, I wrote it up and sent it off, and bob’s your uncle. I scored a guest list for his show that night at The Haunt as payment for my journalistic endeavours and dutifully popped down, in the pouring rain, to see him tear the roof off. Not my cup of tea entirely (it was very…. Glitchy?) but he didn’t half get the crowd worked up into a frenzy, including pulling a number of young ladies onto the stage towards the end of his show that I can only describe as DRUG CRAZED LUNATICS. One chick had eyes the size of saucers (bear in mind I was standing more or less at the back of the packed room) and was desperately grabbing for various bottles of water that were being held aloft by members of the crowd. Once the show was over I realised that, at the age of 31, I was most likely one of the oldest people in there and so retreated back towards the pub, chicaning my way through gangs of skinny jeaned drug zombies in their early twenties in order to drown myself in Guinness. What a day.

Full interview/spread is HERE. Opening words are not my own. Mine would have been better. 

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


In three words? (*Laughs). Unfiltered, extreme and abrasive.


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.


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.


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.


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?

As an aside, I found THIS to be quite interesting. Then I read THIS straight afterward and then THIS. I'm pretty good at reading, as you may have deduced by now.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Action Bronson @ The Camden Barfly (2 Years Later)

BOOM! Yet another testament to the shameful neglect I have been showing my wonderful blog, and also to you, my valued readership. Once again it is I, patron saint of the tardy, the eternal lord of lateness, taking you on a magical journey of intrigue as I add some ancient fuel to the anecdotal fire in writing about a gig that happened TWO YEARS AGO. Still, better late than never, innit?

So, way back when I was still living in London and, if my memory serves me correctly, I had just fought my way through a particularly bitter and miserable winter. I remember this because on the day of this gig the weather was actually warm and sunny for the first time in what seemed like an age, so I took the ultimate adrenaline-fuelled risk of wearing a pair of shorts as a testament to the clement temperatures. This, of course, turned out to be a major mistake; as soon as the sun went down it became absolutely fucking freezing and I, along with all of the other optimistic idiots in attendance broke out in a severe case of the cold chicken skin shivers, hanging around in Camden attempting to look really cool (no pun intended) and actually freezing my nuts off.

The day started innocently enough (as it always does). I was living in Brixton at the time so I hopped on the tube and headed north, eventually meeting my good buddies 184 and The Purist in Nando’s where they were eating a delicious chicken dinner with Action Bronson and his DJ/Producer Tommy Mas. Shortly after this rendez vous we stepped to the venue for the first of two shows Bronson was due to perform, the first being a matinee that must have kicked off somewhere around the 4pm mark as it was still light outside. Those two superstar showboats disappeared upstairs into the VIP area, obviously, leaving me downstairs on my Jack Jones with a bunch of flock-of-seagulls sporting skinny-jeaned hipsters, T-shirt sleeves rolled up to expose many garish tattoos that mainly consisted of skulls and roses, as is the fashion these days it would seem. I didn’t mind much, despite feeling like Patrick Ewing’s knees in a room full of Vince Carters.

The anticipatory tension in the room by this point was palpable; it was Bronson’s first London show after all and the fan boys were positively chomping at the bit. The excitement reached such a point, in fact, that a number of the more youthful attendees saw fit to rather nonchalantly light up weed and proceed to fill the small, humid and airless room with the scent of sweet, sweet piff. I admired the balls required to do this but ultimately felt that I was better off not partaking, especially when a steroid fuelled bouncer with the crazed look and complexion of a wronged kebab shop employee waded in and grabbed a couple of the guilty parties by the scruff of the neck and chucked them out before Bronson even took to the stage. Poor bastards.

Hilariously, the gravity of this situation was compounded in the most ironic way conceivable when the man of the moment took the stage mere moments later and proceeded to light a giant spliff, filling the room with smoke and making the kids who had just been kicked out look like they’d been playing with puff-puff cigarettes in comparison. No ‘bouncer to the rescue’ on this occasion, and I can only imagine that it wouldn’t have been a pretty scene if a forced intervention had taken place judging on Bronson’s current habit of practicing wrestling moves on anyone who attempts to impede on his stage show in any way. The hilarity continued as he proceeded to light 4 or 5 blunts in the next 20 minutes, which was a herculean example of smoking ability and also a brilliant display of showmanship; it did, however, cause me to feel more and more sympathetic for the poor lads whom had been chucked out moments earlier for a comparatively miniscule transgression. FTP.

The show was the show, it was good, although I remember remarking at the time that the selection of songs that he performed was very unusual. Finishing on ‘Hookers At The Point’ wasn’t really the look (it was shortly after the first Blue Chips had dropped)…. He did do ‘Shiraz’ and also that joint with the fantastic beat with that Riff Raff tool on it, but otherwise it was generally unremarkable. The two major highlights of the show (apart from the smoke fest at the start) came when Bronson walked through the crowd whilst rapping and dropped £100 on the bar for anyone lucky enough to be in reaching distance to buy themselves a drink. I wasn’t, unfortunately, although he did brush past me and bestowed a rather large pool of sweat on my arm. Superb. Then, a little later on (or maybe even during this period), a certain UK Hip Hop producer (mentioned earlier) succumbed to a single pull on a spliff that, we later surmised, contained slightly more than just your average dose of psychosis-inducing super skunk, with hilarious results. During the unfolding of this scenario, whilst I was standing in a sea of hipsters waiting for the show to begin, my two compadres had been upstairs schmoozing with the talent.

Unsurprisingly, part of the extended entourage that were chilling upstairs before the show included a number of Camden’s very own Piff Gang, a group of young men known as much for their penchant for getting wavey as for their skill at rapping. During the show the young man known as Don Silk had sparked and passed a doobie to one of my two producer buddies, who unwittingly took a man sized hit in order to remain in the spirit of the occasion. Unfortunately, it seems that this particular doobie had been laced with an additional ingredient (we later assumed it to be some form of liquid codeine) which caused the poor fellow to turn grey, green and every shade in between. Hilarity ensued (I wasn’t exactly sober myself) as the producer in question repeatedly proclaimed that he had never been so high. The singular drag also served to completely numb his throat, resulting in the now immortal exclamation – ‘My throat is high’. “Dude, I am so high.” “How high?” “So high. Like, so high, I can’t feel my throat. My throat is high.”

So, my friend was high. So high, in fact, that we quite happily took a walk up the road in the now freezing winds with Tommy Mas for pizza and coffee and some much needed air after the first show; a spontaneous trip which in turn became my entry visa into the forbidden land of ‘Above The Barfly’. At this point, things get a little hazy. A lot of booze and a lot of everything else, too. Add the fact that Bronson and his cohorts were not drinking on this particular occasion and you have myself, two of my good time buddies and the whole of the Piff Gang with a few crates of Red Stripe, a good few bottles of Grey Goose and an abundance of the stickiest of the icky. Needless to say, my memory is somewhat skewed now, although one of my last endearing memories is of Action Bronson taking a marker pen to a freshly painted white wall and nailing it with a tag. I went to the toilet before leaving, must’ve only been gone for 5 minutes, and when I came back to chill for a little while longer before dusting off I was confronted with quite a scene.

 As far as I’m aware both Action Bronson and Piff Gang were henceforth banned from performing at The Camden Barfly ever again; rumour has it that they’ve banned Hip Hop shows in the venue altogether ever since then. We bustled downstairs as part of the entourage, stayed for 15 minutes or so and then realised we (myself, 184 and The Purist) were all completely shit faced so we got the fuck out of there. Bronson was visibly more….. Subdued than during his last performance (subdued by MOUNTAINS OF WEED, haha) so we didn’t feel like we were missing out on much. And there you have it. Another brilliant Hip Hop anecdote communicated from my brain via my fingers. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I am about to enjoy the dump I am about to take.


A Bit Of Light Reading

Following on from my personally revelatory research into the theories surrounding Michael Jordan being a douchebag, I have just begun reading this book and am halfway through already. More fuel to the fire. It’s actually pretty well written and comes highly recommended if you like this sort of thing.

Far from being a coherent unit bursting at the seams with selflessness and brotherly love, it paints the Bulls to be a bunch of underpaid, whinging tossers who are constantly back biting each other and living in the eternal fear of being traded. So far nobody has come off worse than Jordan. I’m halfway through the book, which on the timeline equals halfway through the season, and as the situation currently stands it seems incredibly unlikely that they are going to win the championship.

Only they did. 23 years ago. Pretty trippy stuff, dude. 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Michael Jordan Is An Absolute Asshole?

Greetings, dear friends. It's been a while. Fresh off an extensive break from sharing my solid gold opinions on this informative super highway of ours, I thought I might once again dip my fungal-infected toes in the tepid pond of the intraweb. It is my intention to work myself up to finally writing my letter to Jay Electronica after the horrific experience of seeing him 'performing' live last year (long story), but more recently I have once again felt the urge to write due to being inspired by the deluded ravings and bad grammar of certain blog-happy-know-it-alls that continuously talk utter shite about things that they clearly know nothing about. You know who you are. Anyway, I digress. Onto the feature presentation : ARSEHOLE?

I am a massive Michael Jordan fan. Alway have been, always will be. He is the greatest Basketball player of all time. This is an indisputable fact. It's not just the numbers he put up that made him the greatest, however; for many years people have been quick to pinpoint his unparalleled drive to win and his inhuman competitive spirit as the foundation for the super human feats that he achieved during his storied career.

Having fiercely guarded his personal life and opinions over the years due to the scrutinising and invasive nature of the media glare that was constantly upon him for so many years, coupled with the general reverence that he has always been shown by fans and critics alike, it was only a matter of time before stories of the more nauseating side of his nature became apparent. Below follows a short selection of tales from reliable sources which give a slight glimpse into the man that I and many others have idolised for such a long time.

I still love Mike, don't get me wrong, but after reading these little (lifted) tidbits I can't help but imagine that the man is most likely a complete c*nt. The moral of the story : don't rely on your idols to actually be nice people. We've all been there (Can anyone say Raekwon The Chef? What a knob).

  Text lifted from http://bleacherreport.com/.


In the Bulls’ first-round battle against the Charlotte Hornets in 1995 after Jordan’s highly touted comeback to the NBA, Jordan didn’t hesitate to leave his mark. According to former Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach, Jordan was guarding Muggsy Bogues (who was all of 5 foot 3) when this happened: On the biggest possession of the game, Muggsy had the ball with the Hornets down one. Jordan backed off of him and told him, 'Shoot it, you f***ing midget.' Muggsy shot it, didn’t come close. A year later Muggsy actually told Johnny Bach that he believes that single play ruined his career. His shot never recovered. The next year, Bogues’ career certainly started to decline. Whether or not Jordan was the primary reason for this is up to debate.


Rodney McCray joined the Chicago Bulls in the 1992-1993 season at the age of 31. He was a very serviceable forward who had just averaged 16.6 points and 8.2 rebounds three years prior. Eager to win a title, he was willing to come off the bench to help the Bulls. He had no idea what would come next. When asked by Sports Illustrated, a former teammate of Michael Jordan had this to say: 'He's the most viciously competitive player I've ever seen. That's what makes him, I think, the greatest player ever. He has practically ruined [reserve forward] Rodney McCray for us.' When the two players are on opposite teams in scrimmages, the source says, "[ Jordan] is in Rodney's face, screaming, 'You're a loser! You've always been a loser!' Rodney can hardly put up a jumper now.’ McCray ended up winning a title that year, but only averaged 15.9 minutes per game. It was also the last season he ever played.


Kwame Brown has become one of the biggest NBA draft busts of all time. He stands as one example of young talented phenoms who never lived up to their hype. However, his situation as a Washington Wizard certainly wasn’t helped by the general manager who drafted him. In a Sports Illustrated article by L. Jon Wertheim: As a leader Jordan proved more tormentor than mentor. Many Washington players got the business end of a Jordan harangue, but he designated second-year forward Kwame Brown as the whipping boy…A source told SI that Jordan ritually reduced Brown to tears in front of the team. The article continues that Jordan called Kwame Brown expletives, including homophobic remarks, according to The Washington Post.


The 1993 NBA Finals was a showdown between two of NBA’s biggest superstars of all time: Charles Barkley of the Phoenix Suns and Michael Jordan of the Bulls. They were also great friends who went golfing together in the middle of the championship series. According to Bulls assistant coach Johnny Bach: The day before game 4 of the Bulls Suns finals with the Bulls leading the series 2-1. Michael and Charles Barkley went golfing. They played 48 holes of golf. And Michael bought Charles a $20,000 diamond earring. Johnny asked MJ, “what did you do all that for?” Michael responded, “he won’t get in my way the rest of the series, what’s $20,000 to me? Charles thinks we’re great friends. I hate that fat f—.” Jordan dropped 55 in game 4 and Barkley never touched him once.

Another example of MJ parring off one of his supposed best friends is below, something that he vehemently denied after Pip snitched on him. Seems far more believable now though.

And finally, his Hall Of Fame Induction speech is the icing on the cake. He's still a legend, he'll always be a legend, but lord almighty the man sounds like an insufferable prick . Test below lifted from an article by Rick Reilly @ ESPN.com. Full piece HERE.

Michael Jordan's Hall of Fame talk was the Exxon Valdez of speeches. It was, by turns, rude, vindictive and flammable. And that was just when he was trying to be funny. It was tactless, egotistical and unbecoming. When it was done, nobody wanted to be like Mike. In the entire 23-minute cringe-athon, there were only six thank yous, seven if you count his sarcastic rip at the very Hall that was inducting him. "Thank you, Hall of Fame, for raising ticket prices, I guess," he sneered.

By comparison, David Robinson's classy and heartfelt seven-minute speech had 17. Joe Montana's even shorter speech in Canton had 23. Who wrote your speech Mike? Kanye West? Nobody was spared, including his high school coach, his high school teammate, his college coach, two of his pro coaches, his college roommate, his pro owner, his pro general manager, the man who was presenting him that evening, even his kids! "I wouldn't want to be you guys if I had to," he said as they squirmed in their seats.