Inside the mind of the oddball rapper
Clash magazine - Danny Brown by HAYLEY LOUISA BROWN

Geography was never our strong point. The whole subject was never more than an afterthought in terms of educational ventures and knowledge pretty much halted at the capitals of countries. Yet, it doesn’t take a top class cartographer to let you know that Detroit is more than a stone’s throw away from London. Believe it or not though, the discernible effect that the English capital has had on Motor City resident Danny Brown and his unique brand of music could easily defy any physical void between the two places.

Perched in London Bridge’s Red Bull Studios, a window’s width away from the capital’s on-going downpour, the eccentric rapper grazes a couple of chipped teeth with his finger before chronicling his affinity to the UK: “Me being a fan came from an article in Blender magazine and it was really just talking about how there were a lot of shootings happening in a lot of London clubs. This is probably when So Solid Crew were going on and then within that article they mention Wiley and Dizzee Rascal, and that was the start of it.” Danny remembers Lord Of The Mics, the visual bible for many a grime-loving mortal, but specifically points out how a certain Dylan Mills transcended many a boundary. “When I first heard ‘Boy In Da Corner’, it was one of them life changing moments. Like when I heard [Nas’] ‘Illmatic’ or [Wu-Tang’s] ’36 Chambers’ or when I heard [Snoop’s] ‘Doggystyle’,” he exclaims. “It was like, ‘oh shit’ and it just changed my whole shit.”

His whole shit was always counter to the other shit. The stagnate streets of Detroit weren’t exactly booming with hip-hop talent bar the J Dillas and Slum Villages of this world. Born Daniel Sewell, his father introduced him to music through a life spent DJing and dad was “super into fashion”, so of course it leaked. “If you wanted to get bitches you had to be fresh,” he shrugs before emitting a high pitch laugh. Fair enough.

With an asymmetrical haircut, ultra-skinny jeans and a fondness for highend designer clothing, it’s clear that slotting it any box or stereotype was never in the question. Much like the glam-hop musings of a certain A$AP Rocky, who Danny’s good friends with.

You may then be startled by the idea of Danny Brown once being an interest for urban clad, money makers 50 Cent and co: “Fiddy wanted to sign me, but he wanted me to dress a certain way and that shit is wack. I think I’m doing a lot better dressing the way I am right now rather than taking his fashion advice.”


The full version of this interview appears in the October 2012 issue of Clash Magazine. Find out more about the issue.

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