Danny Brown has a good feeling about 2012. The Detroit rapper – who earned praise all fall long for his release, XXX, and premiered the video for its track "Monopoly" on RollingStone.com last week – discussed his plans for maintaining his win streak as well as his feelings about pal A$AP Rocky, future tourmate Childish Gambino and Pittsburgh MC Mac Miller.
What’s changed most for you since releasing XXX?
The only thing really changed to me was being recognized. Other than that, everything is the same. And that’s kinda the way I want it. I don’t wanna be like Tyler, the Creator, you know what I’m saying? I want to be acknowledged for my music in the same way, but I don’t wanna be walking out of the house and having motherfuckers on my porch and shit.
The mixtape is showing up on a lot of critics’ year-end lists.
It makes me feel like I’m right in what I’m doing. I’m grateful to be getting those types of acknowledgements when there’s other artists with million dollar budgets behind them.
But you must be getting calls from major labels at this point.
It’s been coming up a lot. But if it’s not broke, I’m not trying to fix it. I’ve seen so many artists jump from the indie to the major, and then it don’t work. If anything I’d stay on Fool’s Gold they’d distribute from a major, ‘cause I’d rather still work my core team instead of having to explain myself over and over again to somebody else. If I came this far without a major, I feel like I’m doing pretty good without them.
When will you start your next project?
I’ll probably start in January. I’m not like a studio type of person or a Lil Wayne type of guy. I like to take my time. I may record over 40 songs but don’t let nobody hear one. And I like to live life a little bit so I have things to talk about. I think everybody’s tired of the old Danny Brown stories - it’s time to hear about what’s happening now.
Do you think you’ll put it out next year?
I don’t have a timeline on my music. I want my whole project to be a complete representation of what I want to put out musically, ‘cause I’ve been rushed before. Like the Hawaiian Snow project with Tony Yayo - that was like a complete rush job. I’ve seen what can happen with that.
Lots of underground rappers end up watering down their sound to reach a bigger audience. Have you thought about how you’ll deal with that pressure?
Shit, I’m not about to tone it down. Nah, now I’m gonna go extra hard. You thought XXX was weird - oh shit! I’m about to step all the way out there now.
A$AP Rocky directed your last video, "Blunt After Blunt." How did you guys link up?
My manager’s cool with his people. They hang out like friends. They’re probably hanging out right now. I’m a lot older than the A$AP crew, so I’m like O.G. to them. They kind of respect me. And I respect them for being like that. You’ve got people like Tyler, The Creator who don’t respect O.G.’s. They’re my real friends. Whatever they need.
When will you hit the road with Childish Gambino?
It starts in March. I’m excited about it. I’m real humbled, honored to be in this situation. He’s like a TV star to me.
His album was pretty polarizing. How did you feel about it?
I listened to it. Hey, it’s better than Mac Miller’s. That’s my response. It’s better than Mac Miller’s. He’s the worst guy around. Don’t get me started. His album cover is like, 'Ugh, what is this?' He’s trying to be artistic, huh?
It is pretty abstract.
If I see him, I’m just going to have to apologize to him, like, 'Man, I just want to apologize for hating you so much. Because I’m not going to stop. You’re probably a cool guy. I don’t feel violent in any way, but I really hate you. I hate your music, man.' It’s just bad.
Another subject of heated debate: your haircut. Will you switch it up in 2012?
I love my hair. I have no problem with it. I’m comfortable with it, so, hey. I wasn’t comfortable with those itchy, nappy braids. I was scratching them all day.