Enlish

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.

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?



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.

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