Detroit rapper Danny Brown on 'Hawaiian Snow,' potentially signing to G-Unit, and what it means to be a mutant
Danny Brown can't clearly articulate how or why he started calling himself "The Hybrid." He was clouded at the moment of its creation, smoking on "that ninja turtle," and writing punch lines like Conan O'Brien if he'd come up selling crack.
The nickname just stuck -- a necessary alias to offset his no-nonsense handle. It also assumes a weird logic, even though his Detroit hometown is not known as a hotbed of automotive environmentalism.
Instead, the "hybrid" of his moniker is the biological definition of the word. Brown raps like he's crossbred and full of cold blood. He's a reconciliation of ostensibly antithetical schools. His voice is all nasal-drip and comic exaggeration, the rap equivalent of a Looney Tunes chase, a lunge at impressive velocities with bulging eyes, flying feet, and clouds of choking dirt. Raised on West Coast gangsta rap like Spice 1, E-40 and South Central Cartel, he developed a love for the Wu-Tang Clan and East Coast hardcore in junior high and high school -- influences found in his florescent slang, street tales, and tetanus-clawed Marvel attack.
During the last decade, his musical philosophy was heavily informed by the Def Jux label, particularly Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox and Dizzee Rascal. In particular, Brown may be the closest American analog to the “boy in da corner” Rascal in the way he adroitly skates between high-brow, low-brow and occasionally searing introspection.
Yet Brown's style is inevitably most influenced by the Motown rap of recent vintage. At times, he boasts a rigorously patterned and hyper-lyrical flow reminiscent of Elzhi and his frequent collaborator Black Milk. At others, it's the unhinged and profane comedy of a "Slim Shady EP"-era Eminem (and his onetime Outsidaz crew). Accordingly, he's accumulated co-sign from various places, including those Lake Michigan-adjacent; the Lincoln Heights weekly party the Low End Theory (Samiyam, Gaslamp Killer, and Gonjasufi regularly tout him as a favorite); and Aesop Rock and his producer, Blockhead, the latter of whom have both raved about Brown's debut, "The Hybrid."