Danny Brown wants fans to focus on the music, not the noise

CorrespondentApril 10, 2014 

Danny Brown’s latest album, “Old,” has music worth talking about.


  • Details

    Who: Danny Brown, with Bruiser Brigade

    When: 9 p.m. Saturday

    Where: Cat’s Cradle, 300 E. Main St., Carrboro

    Cost: Sold out

    Info: 919-967-9053 or catscradle.com

Even before the interview starts with Danny Brown, his publicist emails a list of questions that shouldn’t – or, shall we say, won’t – be asked.

Don’t ask about 50 Cent’s G-Unit Records, which Brown was supposedly going to sign with. (Brown later claimed it didn’t happen because 50 didn’t like that he wore skinny jeans.) Don’t talk to him about drinking “lean” (promethazine/codeine syrup) or any other narcotics Brown could possibly be addicted to. Don’t bring up the apparent meltdown he had on Twitter recently, where the obviously fed-up Brown went off on artists he couldn’t contact, horrible airplane flights and sliding deeper and deeper into depression. And certainly don’t bring up the now-infamous incident in Minneapolis last year, where a female concertgoer was intimate with Brown while he was performing onstage. (Of course, there’s video online.)

It’s not that Brown refuses to answer these questions. It’s just he’s tired of answering these questions. “I mean, it’s stuff that don’t matter,” says Brown, on the phone from New York. “Or it’s just stuff that’s just been talked about for so long. It’s, like, you know how many times I’ve answered the same questions the same way?

“I mean, like every time a person ask me about the 50 Cent thing. It’s just like, ‘How many times?’ (They ask) ‘Is it true that he didn’t sign you because of your jeans?’ I mean, yeah – what else you want me to say about it? And, then, it gets to start to look negative in some type of way, when there’s nothing negative about it. So, I would rather you didn’t bring anything negative up.”

Brown must have seen all this coming. The 33-year-old Detroit-born-and-based rapper, who’ll be performing a sold-out show at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro Saturday, has been one of the more outrageous, eccentric MCs to come along in quite some time. Ever since he broke out with his 2011 sophomore album “XXX,” where Brown took an extreme live-’til-I-die stance, mostly rapping about rampant drug use, hedonistic-to-the-point-of-nihilistic partying and being an out-of-control rock star – all done in that nasal, wise-guy delivery of his – people have been keeping tabs on him (and his trademark lack of front teeth).

Noteworthy music

But even with all the press Brown has been known to get, he would like to get to the music once in a while. His latest release, “Old,” definitely has some music worth talking about. Released last fall, “Old” has Brown working with many producers, including A-Trak, Oh No and Scottish EDM musician Rustie, to make an album with more introspection and soul-searching.

“With ‘XXX,’ it really wasn’t about self-reflecting, you know,” he says. “It was about doing. And ‘Old’ is about just reflecting on all of that, you know. ‘Old’ is like the hangover, kind of, like you’re thinking about everything.”

Brown also appears to rep Detroit to the fullest on “Old.” Even though he has given verbal props to his hometown and has teamed up with fellow Motor City MCs before, Brown creates tunes that pay tribute to most of the music that came out of that town and influenced him.

“That’s why there’s a lot of electronic stuff in there. too,” he says, referring to Detroit’s techno scene. “There’s really a lot of garage rock, Jack White-esque influence things, too. That’s what I learned from them, you know, but still pretty much (laid) the whole groundwork in it, like, a Motown would, you know. Like, I learned from all of that and put all of that in a blender.”

So even with all the wild and wacky stuff you hear and read about Danny Brown, keep in mind that dude is still an artist.

“I take music serious,” he says. “I live through it ... I’ve been living my whole life through it, you know, and I’m gonna die for it. So, it’s what it is.”

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