It’s time for a new era in hip-hop, and this revolutionary is the man to usher it in. The Detroit native on the gap in his teeth, nursery rhymes, and the new rules of the music business.
He has an asymmetrical haircut and a preference for wearing loud T-shirts and skinny jeans. Detroit’s Danny Brown, 31, is set to do for the world of hip-hop what David Bowie once did for rock music -- inject some psychedelic color into a bling and chromed-out genre.
Rather than try to replicate the standard route to hip-hop success, Brown has done away with the bigger-better-sexier macho stereotypes that have held rap ransom for so many years. In their place, he’s dropping self-deprecating party lyrics, electro beats, and the rasping timbre of a breaking voice. An increasingly large number of hip-hop fans love him for it.
The Red Bulletin: Why do hip-hop fans today seem more open-minded than they were in the past?
Danny Brown: Because of the Internet. Back in the day, when I grew up in Detroit, you had only two sources for finding new music: Friends and TV. We probably had 10 rappers, and you had to pick your favorite because they were all signed to major labels. Now we don’t care what a major label tries to sell us. If it sucks we’re not buying it; if it’s good, we mess with it. People don’t care where the music comes from as long as it’s good.
And the other thing is, people want the new. Potentially, a 16-year-old kid with less than $5 in his pocket can be a music expert. And that’s great.
Bringing glam into hip-hop doesn’t seem to be a very easy mission.
People hated me! And a lot of them still do. But anything that’s in the middle, where people are like, “It’s okay”? That’s boring. I want you to either hug me or mean mug the hell out of me.
Check out the December 2012 issue of Red Bulletin magazine (on newsstands November 13) for more of the article. To read the magazine on your iPad, download the Red Bulletin iPad app.