An interview with Danny Brown
“So you got the Wellies?” Danny asks me as I sit down for our interview in his smokey trailer backstage at Splendour in the Grass. He’s talking about the Hunter Gumboots I’m wearing on my feet. I ask him if he brought some. “Hell no,” he tells me. “That ain’t swag, baby.”
It’s this swag (the missing front tooth, the green hair and the infectious laugh) that has made the 33-year-old Detroit rapper a polarising figure. He rolls a smoke mid-interview to talk new music, famous friends and why he loves watching porn on first dates.
Stepping off the plane is Sydney on Sunday morning, Danny’s first Splendour in the Grass performance follows a month-long tour of the US, where he travelled “from Phoenix to San Diego to New York to LA” to Byron Bay. “I don’t know many people out here,” he admits, while fumbling around with a cigarette, “but I did bump into Phantogram. We kicked it a little bit.”
Since putting out his breakthrough release XXX on Fool’s Gold back in 2011, things have been moving quickly for the rapper. His latest win is a collaboration with Scottish producer Rustie – a track taken from his forthcoming second album ‘Green Language.’
“As far as working with Rustie, that’s one of my guys,” Brown says. “He’s probably going to be working on my next album.”
When asked about the imminent new material to follow the release of 'Attak,' Brown couldn’t reveal much. “I can’t tell you too much about writing besides the fact that I’m doing it, you know?”
While he doesn’t actively “seek collabs out,” one thing for sure is that Brown has a whole list of famous friends who’d jump at the chance to work with the in-demand rapper.
“Oh shit, my phone is kinda crazy,” he says when I ask to see his text messages. “Hold up, let me show you. I got an ill phonebook, man. We got The Alchemist. We got a lot of Amber’s and Anne’s – you know what I’m saying [laughs].
“Of course A-Trak’s in there. We got A$AP Bari. We got Jenny Boom Boom. Mateen Cleaves. Chance the Rapper. Rah Digga, she was in a group with Busta Rhymes – the Flipmode Squad. Droopy, E-40’s son.”
With his tongue sticking out between sentences, Brown is one of those unforgettable characters. His signature style and ultra-hyper demeanour (which has earned him the nickname “The Hybrid”) has cemented him as one of the most prolific rappers of 2014 and an MTV 'Artist To Watch.'
But if it wasn’t for these notable features, Danny would seem like any other 'newcomer' MC on the scene – he likes girls, plays FIFA and sometimes watches porn on first dates.
“The illest date for me would probably be going to get pedicures with a bitch, then go to the beach and smoke weed, then go eat some lobster, and then go back to the hotel and watch some porn or somethin'.”
After taking a look around his trailer (there's me, his tour manager, a girl and his producer), Brown switches from his comedic tone to something a little more serious.
"I always wanna know what people are thinking, you know. Sometimes you miss out on a lot like that.
"I don't know what everyone else talks about. I live in my own world, baby. But I guess everyone should shut the fuck up about whatever the fuck they talk about and talk more about Danny Brown.”