Danny Brown speaks of the living conditions in his city of Detroit, and the differences in its portrayal in the rap world.
Danny Brown has always made sure to pay tribute to his hometown. His Detroit State Of Mind mixtape series, and his work with local producers like Black Milk and OhNo, are good examples of the city's influence on his music, but Danny has not always painted a positive picture of Detroit. In tracks like XXX's "Fields" the rapper details the less-than-ideal living situation in the city, something he expanded on in a recent interview with Fader.
The rapper spoke at length about the financial issues in his city, what he would do to change it, and the difference between fellow Detroit rapper Big Sean's portrayal of the city and his own.
Towards the end he also reveals that his new album, Old is ready to be released at any moment.
Read some excerpts from the interview below.
What do you think about the bankruptcy? At the end of the day, it’s probably something that should’ve been done 10 years ago. For the entire time that I’ve been living—born and raised here—we always had some hope that shit was about to change. They was about to do this, to build some new shit. We always thought things would get better. But now I’m a grown ass man and it’s worser. Ain’t nothing changed. A new football stadium, new baseball shit, but economically it declined. You ride around and see how fucked up it is.
Are you proud to be from Detroit? I probably talked to you about this [for the FADER feature]. A lot of rappers are always about repping they hood, but for me it’s always about getting out the hood. I moved to Royal Oak, that’s where I still stay. I love Michigan. I might not like Detroit so much, but I love Michigan. Don’t get me wrong—I do love Detroit, I just know we got problems. You listen to how I talk about Detroit, and you listen to how a rapper like Big Sean talk about Detroit, and it’s like we’re talking about two different cities. Which is probably true, because Detroit is that type of city—he went to the best high school in the city, you know, he probably was real spoiled or sheltered, so it’s like two different worlds. He can look at it and talk about guap, and we don’t have any.
It’s funny, I don’t think of him as from Detroit. To me he’s just a rapper on the radio. A lot of people in Detroit don’t consider him that either. They say he from LA now. He ain’t been to the hood in years, and I wouldn’t either if I was him, to be honest. It’s not a bad thing. I’m in the hood every day now, so I see the faces, I see the desperation. I have a studio now that’s five minutes from where I was born.
What do other people you know think about the bankruptcy? At the end of the day, it’s a lot of people who’ve never left Detroit, so they don’t know what’s bad or good. A lot of them feel like they love Detroit, they feel like it’s fun, it’s happy. It might be a piece a shit, but it’s they piece of shit, so they gone treat it like it’s gold. Once you leave and you see shit is better, you start thinking different.
Had you been in charge of Detroit, what would you have done differently? I would’ve been more concerned with youth shit, because that’s where the future is. It’s never really been a concern. I would’ve been concerned with fixing schools and community centers and things for kids to do with they time. Because that’s who’s out here shooting people, that’s who’s breaking into your house, that’s who out here robbing. It’s not grown men, because we’ve been through cases already, we scared to do shit, we don’t want to go back to jail.
What’s going to happen to the city? They trying to stress us out so much to make us leave, so they can take over. You can see neighborhoods now that were straight crackhead central, and now it’s hipsters building gardens. In some sense, they want everybody from the city to move to the outskirts and suburbs so they can take over—not saying white people or black people, just rich people.
Since I’ve got you, I have to ask about Old. When is the album coming out? At this point I guess it’s still supposed to be a secret. It’s supposed to be really soon. Everything is done, the music is done, the videos is shot, the cover is done. I’m just waiting on Fool’s Gold to push the button.
Listen to Danny's "Fields" below.