Before hitting the stage with Rico Nasty at Red Bull's SoundClash in Chicago, Danny Brown shares his thoughts on the match-up, his efforts in comedy, and what to expect on his next album, "Quaranta."
2021 marked 10-years since Danny Brown made his formal entrance into hip-hop consciousness with the career-defining XXX – a 19-song album capturing the rapper’s life to date. It wasn’t his debut album but it served as a comprehensive breakdown into Danny Brown’s ever-eccentric world, although he's since simmered down on the Adderall and Molly.
Fans expected a new album from Danny to mark the 10-year anniversary, though he’s been in the cut this year. He revealed that a new album titled Quaranta – Italian for ‘forty’ – is practically cheffed up with a slew of producers, including The Alchemist.
In the 10 years since his emergence, Danny Brown has undoubtedly opened the doors for other MCs with an aberrant approach to the craft. Rico Nasty, for example, might not fall directly from the tree of Danny Brown, but they share plenty of similarities. That’s why Danny didn’t necessarily look at joining her in Red Bull’s SoundClash in Chicago as anything competitive.
Danny Brown performing at Red Bull SoundClash in Chicago - Image via Red Bull Content Pool
“It feels like we have a lot of similarities. It’s blatantly right in front of everybody! As far as the look and the voice. I think we’re the same s**t, to be honest. We can be like Batman and Batgirl or some s**t,” he said before letting out his signature cackle hours before hitting the stage with Rico. “I feel like this is more of a – I wouldn’t say like a passing-the-torch-kind of thing, but like me recognize her and she recognizes me. You know, like OG, you know what I’m saying? Like, ‘You the one, now.’”
Ahead of Red Bull’s SoundClash with Danny Brown and Rico Nasty, the Motor City heavyweight shared his thoughts on his opposite for the evening, appearing at Freddie Gibbs’ comedy show, and addresses Dave Chappelle’s skit on Big Sean’s Detroit 2.
HNHH: This Rico Nasty face-off makes a lot of sense to me. She’s as eccentric as you are. For yourself, what similarities do you see in her? If there are any.
Danny Brown: It feels like we have a lot of similarities. It’s blatantly right in front of everybody! As far as the look and the voice. I think we’re the same s**t, to be honest. We can be like Batman and Batgirl or some s**t. What is it? Catwoman? I don’t know. It’ll be like that. What are the similarities between Batman and Catwoman? You get what I’m sayin’. The same s**t. She’s a f***ing superhero. I’m happy to be doing this with her.
You’re someone who is always early on artists. How did you get put onto her music?
I don’t know. I think Twitter. A lot of how you get put on shit. But, I actually think just somebody sent it to me and was like, “You need to work with her.” Then I looked and did my homework, and was like, “Yeah, she is kind of the same s**t.” So, I followed her and we’ve been cool ever since. We never got any music done, but I hope to one day.
You’ve been a supporter of Grime and clashes out there and all that. Is that something that you even studied going into all this?
No, because this is Rico. I feel like this is more of a – I wouldn’t say like a passing-the-torch-kind of thing, but like me recognize her and she recognizes me. You know, like OG, you know what I’m saying? Like, ‘You the one, now.’ I totally get why it works with people and s**t. I’m not in a competitive mode with it. I just really want this to go well and to put on a show for the people because it’s going to be fun. The way they have the s**t setup, it should be fun.
I’m guessing you probably haven’t been performing a whole lot?
No, I did the Gathering. I played at the Pitchfork Fest. I have my own Bruiser for Thanksgiving. I’m terrible right now. So, I’m doing a lot of rehearsing. It’s my first fight back.
I don’t know if you remember our [last] interview, you were probably doing so many. You were mentioning to me that you had to relearn how to rap. So with this, is it like relearning –
No, performing isn’t learning how to rap. It’s just rapping. It’s actually just rapping. The thing is I have a lot of old music. Some of the songs I’m playing are like ten years old now. I know the new s**t like, it ain’t s**t. But, the old s**t is harder to retain in the memory like that. I always have to refresh my memory and practice.
This year, Bruiser Brigade been going crazy with it. It’s cool because it’s a very interesting time for Detroit’s music scene – well, it has been for the past few years. You’re starting to hear other regions tap in with Helluva and take a lot of the sound.
Now, it’s just a like Midwest sound. The whole Midwest does it now. Ohio. Indiana. I’ve heard Milwaukee. Wisconsin. So, it’s a Midwest thing, at this point. It’s tight that we were able to influence the whole s**t, though, and give us our sound. Everybody has their sound like the West coast has a sound. East coast has a sound. South has a sound. Midwest never had a sound, we were always all over the place, kinda. Now, I feel like that’s the direct, distinct Midwestern sound now that every hood in every f***ing city in the Midwest has somebody that makes music like that.
Rico Nasty and Danny Brown take the stage at Red Bull SoundClash Chicago - Image via Red Bull Content Pool
For yourself, what do you think Bruiser Brigade represents in the soundscape in Detroit right now?
We’re the average, blue-collar working folks. We represent the kids of the GM’s and the Ford parents. That generation is kind of gone. So, it’s just the hardworking, blue-collar, regular man. We ain’t trying to be the extra gangsters. We ain’t trying to be the extra dope boys, flashy and all that. We come from Chrysler. We work at the plant, but we just happen to rap. That old Motown-style of doing s**t and the way they make records. We come from that.
"We’re the average, blue-collar working folks. We represent the kids of the GM’s and the Ford parents. That generation is kind of gone. So, it’s just the hardworking, blue-collar, regular man. We ain’t trying to be the extra gangsters. We ain’t trying to be the extra dope boys, flashy and all that. We come from Chrysler. We work at the plant, but we just happen to rap."
Just to pivot away from the music. Over the past few years, you have been getting deeper into the acting and deeper into comedy. You and Gibbs, didn’t you guys host?
Oh no, he had a comedy show in Austin and I just came out.
How was that? You guys have great chemistry.
It was great. Freddie’s so f***ing funny. I didn’t know he was that great on stage, though. Anybody can be funny around the homies. So, I kinda like I wanted to see it because I was like, “I think I can do it, too. Let me see.” Freddie’s got it. He definitely can do comedy if he wanted to.
"Freddie [Gibbs is] so f***ing funny. I didn’t know he was that great on stage, though. Anybody can be funny around the homies. So, I kinda like I wanted to see it because I was like, “I think I can do it, too. Let me see.” Freddie’s got it. He definitely can do comedy if he wanted to."
How was the reception for you? You did a set, right?
It was great. I opened up for Hannibal. That’s nerve-wracking. The s**t is hard. I would say it’s 100x harder than doing rap. I’m just a student of a game, I would say right now. I’m very lucky and honored to be hanging around them motherf***ers and being able to soak up game for the last few years. I’ll hit my stride with it soon.
On the comedy, Dave Chappelle kind of immortalized you getting him high. I wanted to ask, what was your reaction to hearing him do your voice on that Big Sean record?
It was funny, but I ain’t like that s**t, man [laughs] because that ain’t the true story [laughs]. I’ll tell my side in my stand-up set.
The final question I have for you, you announced the final name of the project, Quaranta. I had to Google it to figure out that it was Italian for 40. Are we getting back into a Mafiosa sound with this one?
[Laughs] That’s tight. I mean, nah. Just playing on words and s**t. It’s just pretty much like an update of what I’ve been going through the last ten years after XXX. That’s pretty much what it is.
Q-Tip’s involved in this one, too?
Producer-wise, can you drop a one-two hint?
It’s just all over the place. It’s a lot of people. You know I guess, The Alchemist is on there. I guess, that’s it. That’s cool. It ain’t no surprise, I feel like.
Dope. Final words?
It’s going to be fun. I’m nervous.