Danny Brown Details Wu-Tang Clan, E-40, Spice 1 Influences
Danny Brown says J Dilla's music was the sound of Detroit, talks dropping out of high school at 16.
Fool’s Gold Records emcee Danny Brown may call Detroit home, but according to the rapper, he says it wasn’t until he started listening to music brought home by his father that he began to immerse himself in East Coast Hip Hop.
Prior to being introduced to noted Staten Island group Wu-Tang Clan, Brown says he was mostly into West Coast-based acts, including Spice 1 and E-40. The Detroit rapper spoke in-depth about his geographical switch in music during his newly-released, The Neighborhood segment with Complex.
“My pops, he was mostly my biggest influence with Hip Hop,” said the XXX rapper. “I listened to whatever he would bring in the house, you know? And he brought Wu-Tang in the house. I missed the whole—the whole Diggin’ In The Crates stages. The whole Lord Finesse—I missed all that side of the East Coast rap cause I was listening to West Coast rap. I was listening to Spice 1 and E-40. And my dad he probably seen how that probably wasn’t a good influence on me at that time. Cause Wu-Tang still gave you that edge, but they was still preaching like Five-Percent shit. You know what I’m saying? So, they still had jewels inside the shit. So, I know that’s what he wanted.”
Brown also said that it wasn’t until after his release from jail that he came to the realization that the music created by the late James “J Dilla” Yancey was unique to the city he calls home.
“Cause me growing up man here in fuckin Beats, Rhyme & Life, I didn’t hear no J Dilla,” he said. “I didn’t know, you know what I’m saying? But now it’s like that was Detroit shit. At the end of the day. Like hearing fuckin Busta Rhymes albums and hearing certain songs, that was Detroit shit. But I didn’t know cause it was marketed to me as New York shit. But that was our shit though. Cause Detroit you can say we never had a sound, but that’s our sound—as far as rap go.”
Additionally, Brown spoke on dropping out of high school at the age of 16. Although the Old creator wasn’t actually attending classes, he says he would still go to his school just to show off.
“I pretty much dropped out of school when I was 16, but I just went every day,” Brown said. “But I didn’t go to not one class. I was the guy that would look in your door and be making faces. I was that kid. I mean, I just came to show off my clothes, you know? But I had it mapped out. I would come to school late. Cause if you came to school late for first period then they send you to the cafeteria and you start second period…I wasn’t even smoking weed then. I was just skipping school.”
Brown’s interview with Complex comes shortly after he shared his thoughts on fellow Detroit emcee Big Sean as he questioned the rapper’s need to represent for a city he feels isn’t entirely “a cool place to be.”
"My point with Big Sean is that every time you hear him in an interview and every time he do anything, he's like, ''Cause I’m from Detroit. I’m from Detroit,’” said Brown during an interview with Rolling Stone. “There’s ho-ass niggas from Detroit and there's gangstas in Detroit. Just being from a place doesn't dictate, doesn't mean anything. My whole point is about inspiring people to do things to get out of Detroit. Somebody like him hasn't been in Detroit forever, in years. He repping it like it's."
Despite a past threat to release his upcoming album prematurely, Brown’s third studio album, Old, is currently scheduled for release on October 8. The project will serve as Brown’s second studio release as an artist signed to Fool’s Gold Records.