Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Brian Thorn at The Magic Shop in NYC during CMJ weekend 2011
It was mid-afternoon when Danny Brown and his manager arrived at the Magic Shop in New York City, where we were taping during the weekend of the CMJ festival this October. He'd canceled a handful of Midwestern dates as support for Das Racist to perform a couple special gigs and the man with the wing of wispy flinging itself off the side of his head was resolute in his near silence. He sat in a chair in the control room, as he waited for his instrumental tracks to arrive, with his cell phone cocked limply in one hand, head tilted at it without expression. He was wearing something of a red and blue letterman's jacket, a baseball cap and a pair of brand new, vintage Air Jordan sneakers and he looked as if he were going to fall fast asleep trying to conserve all of his body heat. It seemed like this hour was way too early for him, but when asked if he was exhausted, he replied that he was alright, not tired at all. Asked if he wanted a cup of water, he nodded, and when it was handed to him, he chose not to acknowledge the act, but took timid and tiny sips. He was barely there. He wasn't really sure where he was and he wasn't really sure what was happening. He was there because he was picked up and delivered there, but then something incredible happened and Danny Brown became the Danny Brown that we hear on record. His tracks arrived and he was suddenly the brash and comically vulgar, one-track-mind rapper. He put on a pair of headphones, stepped up to a microphone and then unleashed a string of thoughts inspired by vaginas and tongues and what those two things do when they get together. He seems incapable of or unwilling to consider that there are many other subjects worth his time than - oddly enough for a male - performing epic and circus-like, attention-to-detail oral sex on any woman that wants it and smoking hay. Brown makes it explicitly know that he loves the explicit. He delights us with repetition, riding the subject matter into heroic and amusing places. Just when you think that there couldn't be another way to hear about eating pussy, goddamn it if Danny Brown doesn't make you eat those words. We find ourselves thoroughly amused by the man's dedication to giving instead of receiving. It's a refreshing departure, with Brown's acts sounding like charity, like the man who might happily work a janitorial job, while others would find such an occupation beneath them. He endeavors to explore the subject in such descriptive ways that we wonder if might not be some sort of crotch scientist, someone who's so much more than a rapper, someone who is doing all of this hard work for the betterment of mankind. He steps away from the mic, exists the live room and is gone without another word. Just a saggy handshake and something like an unspoken exchange that he's got to get back to work. There's more research to be done. There are more answers that he seeks.