Danny Brown interview: ‘In the job I do, you don’t have to grow up’

The Detroit MC has gone from selling drugs to warming up for Eminem at Wembley. He tells us how it all came naturally

© Josh Wehle

Are you psyched to be opening for Eminem?
‘I’m honoured that he asked me. I’m real nervous about it at this point, because I don’t necessarily have to do good for the crowd – I’ve got to do good for Eminem, you know?’
Do you mean because you’re a fan?
‘I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of Eminem, I’m a student. You can be born with talent but you have to train it too. You might have been born with a six-pack, but if you don’t work out, you’re gonna get a pot belly.’
Are you saying you were born rapping?
‘Yeah! I didn’t have a conversation with myself about learning to rap; I could just do it. Once I saw the reaction people gave me when I rapped, I knew I was good. I blew their minds away.’
What luck! You’d be screwed if you sucked.
‘I’d be selling drugs, that’s what. I dropped out of school in the tenth grade and I’m not good with labour. I’m the last person you’d call to help move shit out of your house. I never even drove a car before! I’m not a typical man; I’m still 13 years old. Luckily I figured out my career at a young age and in the job I do, you don’t have to grow up.’

Didn’t that attitude get you thrown in a cell for eight months?
‘To be honest, going to jail made me the person I am. I was kind of shy, so when I went to jail I had to come out of my shell – because if you don’t speak, you don’t eat.’

Speaking of which, what was the last meal you made yourself?
‘It wasn’t good. I ate meatballs and french fries with ketchup at five in the morning. It was a struggle.’

That gap in your teeth can’t help either. Why don’t you get it fixed?
‘I think I look good! The dentist wants me to fix it because it affects my bottom teeth. For years they haven’t had anything to bite on. So for health reasons I’ll do it, but cosmetically I like it.’

Tell me about something you like.
‘Er, “Game of Thrones”. As weird as it sounds, Stannis Baratheon is my favourite character. He wants to win, so he’s just doing what he’s gotta do and I respect that. They tell him: “Don’t fuck with the magic,” and he fucking with the magic. I woulda been fucking with the magic too!’

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