During a conversation with Pitchfork, Danny Brown speaks on his upcoming album Old, his Black Hippy/Beatles comparison and his favorite artists.
You once tweeted that “Black Hippy are the new Beatles and I’m Harry Nilsson.” How would you match up the Beatles to the Black Hippy crew?
Kendrick would be Paul McCartney, Schoolboy Q would be John Lennon, Ab-Soul would be George Harrison– and [laughs] Jay Rock would be Ringo. I’m like the unofficial fifth member of Black Hippy.
Hit the jump for some choice quotes about Old and click here for the full interview.
People are always like, ‘Danny, you old’, or, ‘I liked your old shit better.’ I didn’t want to just continue where I left off with XXX, because I got a lot of younger fans now that don’t know nothing about the hip-hop shit. If people are just looking for dick-sucking jokes, there isn’t too many of them.
XXX sounded very specifically and consciously sequenced to form a narrative, did you approach the making of Old in the same way?
I always try to act like I’m some old school artist from the 1960s, so I approached this album like I was making it for vinyl: There’s a side A and a side B. The way I look at it, I’ve always been two different artists anyway; I do that underground hip-hop shit and that turned-up trap shit. XXX told a story, so I wanted this one to be like “Curb Your Enthusiasm”– it’s random and all over the place, but by the end it comes together.
You’ve said that while you were making XXX you were listening to a lot of Joy Division. Were there any specific artists you looked to for this album?
I made XXX with the aim of getting great reviews. And when I started making Old, I was trying to think of artists that came back from getting great reviews and made an album that was just as good– or better! The only group I could really come up with was Radiohead. So if XXX was my OK Computer, then I’d have to make my Kid A next. So I studied Kid A, and I took away that it’s not so much about the lyrics as it is about the way the beats feel, so what drives this album is the production. I wanted to have the most amazing beats, but I still want them to sound minimal– it’s still gotta sound like a Danny Brown beat. It can’t sound like no fucking Kanye orchestra shit. That ain’t me. That’s why I took so long with making this album. I was waiting for the perfect beats. And I got ’em.
You recently said that Old would be “less funny” than XXX — but a good deal of XXX isn’t very funny.
With XXX, I was trying to make a comedy that also had a lot of drama. This one is just like mad drama [laughs]– to the point where shit is so fucked up that you need a release. You can’t just keep dwelling on how fucked up shit is because that ain’t going to do nothing but make you feel depressed, so you gotta just say “fuck it” and take drugs and party.
Everything sounds good to me. Now, let’s hear it!