Danny Brown crosses borders

We spoke to the Detroit rapper ahead of his set at Osheaga today.

DANNY BROWN PROMO PHOTO 5.27.14 DB_3 Credit_ Josh Wehle
Danny Brown. Photo by Josh Wehle

Detroit rapper Danny Brown needs little introduction at this point. In fact, this writer has introduced him to a Montreal readership twice (once for Cult MTL, check it out here), only to have customs foil the whole scheme. But Danny Brown has since been cleared for landing in Montreal, and as summer festival attractions go, the rhyme-addled, acid-tongued bon-vivant’s set is a must-attend for Osheaga’s ill’inest, pill’inest thrill-seekers.

Darcy MacDonald: Is there any significance to you in having a studio and label LP out with Old last year, as opposed to self- releasing?
Danny Brown: I guess in a sense it taught me that in making albums, you just can’t really do what you wanna do, nowadays. I mean, in those other projects I never really had to go through, like, sample clearance and that kind of thing, you know? So going through the loopholes of putting out an actual project, I learned a lot with this one.

DM: On Old, did you structure beats and then have people come in and collaborate, or did you just give it up?
DB: Pretty much people sent in stuff, and then it was me likin’ what I like.

DM: How did you link up with Purity Ring?
DB: I just actually been a fan, you know? I was talking about
‘em on Twitter one day, y’na? That’s the world of Twitter, man— connected us!

DM: It was a minute ago now, but I wanna ask you about that interactive video for the Dylan jam (“Like a Rolling Stone”) with the different channels the viewer can flip through. How did you end up doing that?
DB: The same guys that did the “Grown Up” video, I guess they got called to do that, so they was just casting for it and they reached out. I didn’t even barely have time to do it! I literally just flew to New York for 12 hours and knocked it out and then flew somewhere else to do a show! I mean you can’t say no to Bob Dylan, you know?

DM: I guess that’s the type of thing that you really don’t know what it’s gonna be till it’s finished.
DB: Well, I saw the treatment and stuff, but the main thing was I had to learn the song, I didn’t know the whole song. I had to learn it in, like, a day, nah’m sayin’? That didn’t get enough
recognition, actually. I think it was one of the coolest videos to be put on.

DM: You’ve been that festival guy, on that grind these last couple of summers, hard. What’s the biggest one you’ve done now?
DB: Wembley Stadium is probably the biggest. I opened for Eminem a couple of weeks back.

DM: I’ve seen with my own eyes that Em fans in waiting at a festival can be a pain in the ass. Did you enjoy the experience?
DB: It was kinda the same thing, but I mean I gained fans for sure, but beyond that I couldn’t be upset about anything. Of course, for the most part, (the crowd) probably just forgot about me. You know, I’m not used to playing for 40-year-old white men. But it was tight! ■
Danny Brown plays Osheaga’s Green stage at Parc Jean Drapeau today, Saturday, Aug. 2, 8:05 p.m., $95 for the day/$225 VIP

Check out our review of Danny Brown’s first show in Montreal last fall, here.