TVD Live (Interview): Danny Brown at Lincoln Theatre, 10/4

Danny Brown is hoping to score some weed. Dressed in a turqouise button-up and stonewashed, black denim pants, he’s just stepped off stage and is lounging on a sectional sofa, backstage at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre.

Meanwhile, the hip-hop trio, Das Racist, is on stage, rapping amok, stomping through tracks of their satirized, gosh-rap act.  Between songs, they make it a point to introduce themselves as Scrillex. One of their hypemen announces that he’s Kreayshawn. This is the kind of humor that’s brought them the huge wave of recent attention.

These days, pop irony is king. They’ve provoked everyone to reach in their wallets and throw their driver’s licenses on the stage. After someone tosses a Food Lion discount card on-stage, Das Racist member, Dapwell, picks it up, shows it to the crowd and somehow turns this gesture into a shining highlight. Above the stage, a screen displays the word, “RELAX.” Oddly enough, that’s also the name of this tour.

Motor City’s spunky loudmouth, Danny Brown, has just ignited this crowd and Das Racist emcee, Heems eventually strips down to his wife-beater—there’s no fucking relaxing.  Afterwards, however, Danny Brown sat down with TVD for a few minutes and gave us some details of his drug-dealing days and his love for Turtles.

Let’s talk about misconceptions. Your hairstyle, your fashion sensibility, and your missing front-tooth have all been judged publicly. What do you think is the biggest misconception about Danny Brown, the rapper?

I don’t know exactly what people say. They say I’m some type of gay crackhead or some shit. That’s far from the truth. I’m too old for that shit. I don’t care what anyone says about me.

But as far as fashion is concerned, do you plan to take things further? A clothing line, maybe?

I don’t think I’ll ever do that because you have to let the fashion people do fashion and let the rappers rap. The lines shouldn’t get crossed. I don’t wanna see Jeremy Scott trying to bust freestyles.

Next month, you and Black Milk are releasing the Black and Brown EP. Obviously, it’s going to sound much different than your recent Fool’s Gold project, XXX. Why do you choose to separate the different presentations?

I make the style of music with Black Milk because I’m from Detroit and was raised on it. But I was also raised on another style of music—Detroit-oriented ghetto-tech, techno, house music. Fool’s Gold is the coolest label for that type of music. So I fuck with them because now I can make music that reflects the way I look and what kinds of things I’m into. But Black Milk and J. Dilla and I are like D.C. and go-go music.

By following you on Twitter, I became hip to the Odd Future movement. That was almost a year ago, but recently you appeared on the “Huzzah!” remix with another internet sensation, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire. How important is it for artists like you to co-sign up-and-coming acts?

I can’t really say that it’s important because at the end of the day I’m an artist myself and I could look at it as competition. But I’m a fan of music and I want to  hear it and enjoy it. I still listen to my own music from the aspect of a fan or that little boy named Daniel sitting in his bedroom listening to tapes.

The “Huzzah!” remix also features El-P—who was a close friend and producer of the late emcee, Camu-Tao. Your delivery is eerily reminiscent of Camu-Tao’s. How much of an influence has EL-P and Camu-Tao had on your career?

I appreciate that, but It’s more Cannibal Ox. The Cold Vein album really changed me. I knew that at that point there was independent music and underground music that was better than what was being pushed to the mainstream.There was a time when all I would listen to was mainstream rap, but listening to people like J. Dilla put me into an underground state-of-mind.

A few days ago, a three-and-a-half-minute video featuring Method Man rapping about Sour Patch Kids was released to the public.  What kind of candy would you ever agree to rap about?

Maybe Turtles. I’m down for a Turtle. I don’t even know if I wanna rap about candy; that’s kinda corny to me. No disrespect to Method Man though—he’s like a god to me.

The title of your first album is The Hybrid. Would we ever catch Danny Brown driving around in a hybrid vehicle?

To be honest with you, I’ve never learned how to drive a car in my life. If you listen to all my songs, I always say that I’m in the passenger seat. That’s the weird thing about me growing up in Detroit. But everybody had cars. It’s the motor city. You can buy a car for $500. I was selling drugs and when it was time for me to buy a car, I went to go buy the car I wanted and the guy wouldn’t sell it to me, so it never happened.

The guy I sold drugs for always had the top car and I was his top drug-seller, so I always rode in his passenger seat. I always felt like I never made enough money though, so I didn’t want to buy a weak-ass car and have the top guy talking shit about me. So now I’m grown, and I don’t know how to drive. The reason why my front tooth is gone is because I got hit by a car. I’m kinda scared of automobiles. But I always understand that I’m from the Motor City, which is why I make music for people to drive around to in their cars.

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