Danny Brown likes redheads.
Being a redhead myself, this may be the main luring factor that turned me onto the 32-year-old Detroit raised artist. After the craze of Kitty Pryde’s “OK Cupid” video made waves over the internet last year, I wanted to know who this Danny Brown was that a 18-year-old from central Florida was drunkenly singing about sexually about into her computer late at night.
As I did more research, I found out that Brown had been touring nonstop all over the country, (mostly to colleges) with two albums under his belt for a few years.
So what was up with this goofy, black skinny kid with weird hair and a missing tooth? He didn’t degrade women in his music, didn’t rap about his so-called entourages, and mostly – didn’t really seem to give a fuck about anything.
Which is why when I walked into his show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday to see his show (after I had been guest listed, mind you, by the man himself through a request via DM on twitter), there were a few things I noticed. The show was 16 and up, which is pretty rare t o find in NY. I also noticed that there weren’t many kids over the age of twenty five, they were generally well behaved (not too much wobbling), and about 95% of the crowd was white. These aren’t things that the average concert goer would pay attention to, but – as an artist myself, I’m interested in demographic.
A few other observations – Danny’s backdrop was minimal 90’s themed graphics, including a picture of a troll doll and the classic Danny Brown logo in bright green. Brown’s hype men were limited in number – maybe one or two, and a few people drinking on bleachers onstage on the side. But there is nothing too showy about Brown. He has, after all, been touring for a number of years straight to get his name out there. Brown was clad in bright red pants – which weren’t down to his knees, and he wasn’t grabbing his crotch the entire time. He was performing to all parts of the room. There’s was energy that Tuesday night- not everyone is was mouthing the words, but he got our attention. It was obvious that the kid was generating some buzz. Yet, the first three rows were screaming their heads off. That speaks for itself.
As an elementary rap appreciator myself, it had seemed to me that Brown, over the years – had succeeded in being a “crossover artist”. He’s (besides as of recently, signed to Fool’s Gold, associated with Warner), an independently thinking artist. He works with producers not for their big names, but for their talent, he has a close relationship with his fans, and he doesn’t give a fuck about saying the right or wrong things in interviews.
Brown’s sound separates him from his fellow hip hop acts in a couple ways. His high pitched voice may be obnoxious to some, but it’s really what makes him special. He raps with a certain tone – almost singing, and his rhythm is undeniably catchy. Brown is able to write smooth choruses and make a statement without making his beats too showy or his tone too mono. In his major label debut, “Old”, some tracks he’ll get super close to the mic, others he’s pretty much screaming his ass off. (Some personal favorites – “Red 2 Go”, “Lonely,” and “Clean Up”)
As the crowd gets rowdy, Danny continues to jump up and down nonstop as he sings about weed, female parts, and growing up in Detroit. At one point, he prefaces his song “Kush Koma,” by asking the crowd for a blunt. No fucks are given by this guy. A front row attendee hands him one and he takes a puff. This party has officially started.
Brown’s demographic may be young white 20-something’s. The missing toothed goof brings out the crazy in all of us. Danny Brown doesn’t roll in the category of strictly mainstream Drakes or 50 Cent’s. Brown might’ve the dude blowing spitballs at the kids in the front row of math class, or the dude who follows strictly hot hipster chicks on his twitter. He tweets about everything – codine withdrawals, his cat, siren, and calls out bad press (if he’s getting any). Brown’s style of bright colors and fun sound recalls the 90’s – when Fresh Prince and Tribe Called Quest ruled pop culture.
The reason Brown generally appeals to his post-college crowd, is because he’s an odd ball. A true artist sticks to their heart. He’s not trying to be anything he’s not, which in this business lately – is a lot more rare than you think.
He finishes the set by coming back for an encore with a chair and sitting on the edge of stage, looking exhausted. “Williamsburg always has some dank shit every time I come here,” he says. The crowd roars. He finishes off the set with “Lonely,” a song about touring being lonely, backed by a smooth, slow beat, showing again his versatility and dynamic between songs. He sings in the chorus, “So I’m smoking by my lonely by my goddamn self, I don’t need your help, homie.” No you don’t, Danny Brown. But we sure do like watching.
Article by Hillary Barleaux