Danny Brown Talks the "Genius" of 'Old,' Unexpected Collaborations and His Cool Dad

Danny Brown Talks the "Genius" of 'Old,' Unexpected Collaborations and His Cool Dad
The buzz surrounding rapper Danny Brown is at an all-time high with the release of Old, his third studio album and official debut album for Fool's Gold Records. The Detroit rapper's new project is his first with big-name features, including Black Hippy member Schoolboy Q ("Dope Fiend Rental"), UK singer Charlie XCX ("Float On") and Canadian electronic duo Purity Ring ("25 Bucks"). In a recent Exclaim! interview, Danny expresses excitement about these collaborations for the way they flesh out the project's storyline and sound.

"There's songs like 'Gremlins,' where I talk about guys that's around me. 'Dope Fiend Rental,' that's Schoolboy Q playing the role of the gremlin," Brown says. "He's like the little homie, like... I got the dope fiend rental now, I got the car so now all I want to do is get my drugs off, the rest of my shit I got, I'm going to get it off. But then I pick up my homie, now all he wanna do is, like, 'Ooh, now we got a car, let's go get some pussy, let's fuck with some hoes.' That's like the theme of that song. Like a lot of songs are like that, it's a storyline through the whole album."

The Purity Ring and Charli XCX features work, he explains, because "I put them in my world instead of doing something that they do. Like, I got Charli XCX singing about riding on 24s [on 'Float On'], you know? [Laughs.] Think about that! At the end of the day, think what kind of genius that song is. I married Modest Mouse and Young Buck."

Brown isn't shy about pointing out the successful risk he took by juxtaposing Old's Sides A and B, the latter of which dips into trap, dubstep and grime with the help of producers like Scottish beatmaker Rustie.

"I feel like the album is good in the sense of, 'What album do you know that went from underground hip-hop to trap?' In hip-hop, that's divided. You either one or the other. It can never be together. And I was the guy to marry it together."

Given the album's title, Old, Brown also sounds off on aging in hip-hop, calling his dad cooler than LL Cool J after the aging rapper released "Ratchet."

"I heard it was bad. I think my dad cooler than that! My dad listen to Young Jeezy and shit, way cooler than to be bumping LL's 'Ratchet.' Like my dad probably likes Side A, don't like Side B but he'll like Young Jeezy. He like hearing me talk THAT shit."

Danny Brown's Old is out now. The rapper just wrapped up his "2 High 2 Die" tour with Action Bronson. Read our review of his Toronto show here.