Danny Brown is mere days off the start of his Australian tour dates for this year’s Groovin’ the Moo tour, a much welcomed return to the country for the rapper, who has been spending much time in the studio recently working on a follow up album to 2013’s Old.
He’s just arrived back home to Detroit when we link up and although it’s later in the evening his time, Brown is fresh and conversational as ever, that infectious laugh streaming down the phone line frequently. He opens up about how the new album is coming along, the lengthy time in between releases not being much of a factor to his creative process at all.
“I mean, I used to feel like that [rushed] when I was in a time of my life where I maybe wasn’t as financially stable as I am now.” he explains. “It was always like, “I want to work, I want to do stuff. I’ve got to get some money,”. At this time, I’m alright, so I was able to take my time. I was able to do what I wanted to do and make the best possible product I could make. I’m so happy and I can’t wait; I’m so excited for people to hear what I’ve been working on for the past few years.”
“For the past few years, I’ve been pretty much working on new music, so I haven’t toured as much as normally would.” Brown admits, thinking ahead to his Australian tour dates. “I guess I toured a great deal though, I came off the A$AP Rocky and Tyler, The Creator tour – that was fun. For the most part, I haven’t really played any new music in the last few years though; I’ve just been trying to hurry up and get this album done!”
Recording this new material between live shows and jaunts to the UK and back home, the project brought Brown back together with frequent collaborator and producer Paul White (Charli XCX, Homeboy Sandman). As Brown describes, Old‘s successor sees a lot of the foundations he laid down early on developed and fleshed out.
“I recorded a nice chunk of it in London with him [White],” he says. “A lot of things I had in the beginning that I probably wasn’t so confident about, when I was trying to experiment and figure it all out, I’m now confident in. I’m confident in doing what I want to do and I know what I want my music to sound like. That’s where I’m at with it right now; I feel like a seasoned vet, I guess! I know what I want to do and I just went for it with this project.”
“With Old, I was experimenting a lot.” he adds. “I’ve been making music quite a bit, so I feel like I’ve found my sound since. This album is not necessarily about me experimenting so much, but more so about me just doing what Danny Brown does. It’s just my sound, you know? A lot of those ideas I used to have before, I’ve just built on those ideas and made them bigger. They’ve finally come full circle.”
The reach his music and hip hop in general is having on artists working within the genre and music fans around the world is becoming more and more extensive and using Old as an example, it’s shown that not only are artists’ influences continuing to diversify, but it’s a creative move that is paying off in spades.
Old saw Brown work with a variety of producers from different backgrounds of their own including A-Trak, BADBADNOTGOOD and Frank Dukes, not to mention the array of guest spots from artists including Purity Ring, Freddie Gibbs and Scrufizzer. Brown nods toward the positive influence of the internet and music sharing platforms in helping hip hop expand as a genre and continue to push artists like himself to be creating music that is not only new, but self-satisfying too.
“It’s like with me listening to Grime,” he explains. “I wouldn’t have found Grime without the internet, it wouldn’t have come to me in the normal form of how we were getting music before it. That played a huge role in what I do now and the way I make music; that inspired and influenced me a whole lot. I can see that happening with a whole lot of kids now. They don’t just listen to American music, they’re listening to music from around the world. There aren’t any boundaries anymore, there’s no borders when it comes to it. No one is listening now and saying, “He sounds funny. His accent is funny,”. It’s cool now to have an accent, you know? If you’ve got good lyrics, you’ve got good lyrics. That’s all it comes down to.”
Reflecting on the shows he’s recently done with the likes of A$AP Rocky and Tyler and also thinking about the work other artists such as Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar are doing, Brown agrees that for any young hip hop fan especially, they’re growing up in a perfect phase of the genre, as it is now.
“With all those guys, there are kids now listening to them now and they’re looking up to them.” he says. “They realise that those are the ones. There’s a lot of poison out there; everybody wants to get drunk on the weekends, but you can’t get drunk every day! You’ve got to have your veggies, you know? We’re just trying to be the healthy option too; we’re trying to see these kids live.”
“The kids back then, there were probably only so many record labels and there were probably only so many artists…it wasn’t too much about being original, they were just going with what was going to win. Now, we’re in a day and age where we’re seeing people being successful from just being themselves, like A$AP Rocky and like Tyler. They’re just guys who are just being; we don’t need the big machines behind us, telling people that they should like us. We’re just being ourselves and people decided that they did like us.”
Danny Brown’s NZ & Australian tour kicks off tomorrow night in Auckland. Check out the full run of dates below!
April 22nd | The Tivoli, Brisbane
April 23rd | GROOVIN’ THE MOO, MAITLAND
April 24th | GROOVIN’ THE MOO, CANBERRA
April 25th | GROOVIN’ THE MOO, OAKBANK
April 26th | 170 Russell, Melbourne
April 30th | GROOVIN’ THE MOO, BENDIGO
May 1st | GROOVIN’ THE MOO, TOWNSVILLE
May 3rd | Metro Theatre, Sydney
May 7th | GROOVIN’ THE MOO, BUNBURY