By Alvin Blanco
While we announced 2010’s Hottest MCs in the Game, the next generation of rap stars were rocking New York’s CMJ week. The annual festival attracts burgeoning artists from around the country to the Big Apple in hopes of adding their names to the music history books. One of those upstarts was Detroit native Danny Brown, who performed during last night’s OnSmash showcase. Since we were previewing Kanye’s “Runaway” and talking to this guy, we couldn’t attend but we wanted to.
So who’s Danny Brown? The MC’s first introduction to the hip-hop interwebs came after his appearance on 2009’s posthumous J Dilla album Jay Stay Paid. Since then Danny’s rhymes have garnered buzz among industry execs and marketing companies alike. But instead of signing to a major label, the indie MC released his album The Hybrid online via the blog Rappers I Know in March and recently worked with G-Unit’s Tony Yayo on his Hawaiian Snow mixtape. We talked with Danny about Detroit’s new cultural popularity and his influences.
Detroit seems to have a lot of dope MCs, why do you think that is?
We’ve always been slept on and then we was boxed in by the whole Em sh–. Right now our music is starting to grow into its own sound and people are starting to get that. After J Dilla’s passing, a lot of people started listening to Detroit hip-hop and I just think the sound is catching up with the times. If you look at some of the biggest artists, like Kanye West, he’s pretty much influenced from J Dilla, which is influenced from Detroit hip-hop. Even the Roots, what they was doing with the neo-soul movement really came from Detroit. Before us, it was just backpack hip-hop. We just put a different spin on it for the newer generation with our subject matter and topics. Now the beats I’m rapping on are totally different but I’m talking about the same stuff as the average rapper, it’s just a little more lyrical.
Is there one MC that’s influenced your style?
Nas is my biggest influence but after Nas, Dizzee Rascal played a super huge role.
How did Dizzee Rascal effect your career?
When he released his first album, he was super young and just ’back against the wall.’ You heard his point of view as a 19 year-old growing up in London the same way you listen to Nas’ Illmatic and you hear a 20 year-old growing up in Queensbridge. I always wanted to bring that across in my music, I wanted people to hear Detroit.
What are you working on now?
I’m doing a lot of features and a whole lot more shows. I met with Rockstar Games, I’m probably going to do voiceovers for them. I got a couple of deals on the table, so I’ll start working on music once the deal is finalized.
Anything you can share?
It’s still in the early stages but it’s somewhere I want to be. I think they want me there so it’s looking good.
Like Danny Brown? Think Detroit hip-hop is finally getting its just due? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!