Those unacquainted with the audible stylings of Danny Brown might assume he was of the hipster or frat rap variety. The name is unimaginative, his jeans pledge allegiance to elasticity, and although his hair defies gravity—it’s not what you would immediately stamp as ‘fly’. Play that scenario backwards and you’ve got a Detroit-bred emcee whose frantic hollering invokes visions of schoolyard cyphers and filth-laden punchlines that would’ve gotten a laugh out of Big.
He’s the hybrid; a self-proclaimed melting pot that borrows from the East and West, mainstream and underground, the past and the present. And if you were reading any 2010 album of the year lists, many say the future. This year, he’s poised to turn it up another notch by joining the eclectic band of artists at Fool’s Gold, headed by DJ A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs. VIBE caught up with Brown at the label’s retail store opening. Read on to get a glimpse into the curious mind of one of hip-hop’s most versatile. —Rek
VIBE: When did you start rapping exactly?
Danny Brown: I’ve been rapping my whole life. I rapped at my fifth grade graduation. I was rapping in kindergarten. But just because you know how to rap, don’t mean you know how to write songs. It don’t mean you know how to work in the studios.
What made you take it serious?
Going to jail. Before I got locked up, I was on probation and I wasn’t hustling no more. That’s when I was learning song patterns and listening to all types of music, trying to figure the shit out. I eventually got caught up again and got locked up, but when I got out after a year, it’s been non-stop. It happened from 2008 to now, just putting out stuff on the internet non-stop.
Your homies were telling you to not squander your talent?
It was more so me, a lot of people don’t believe shit.
You signed to Fool’s Gold not too long ago, what made you decide to sign with them?