Danny Brown Kicks Off Art Basel With Shepard Fairey

Set to drop new album in 2013

December 6, 2012 3:45 PM ET
danny brown art basel
Danny Brown
Roger Kisby/Getty Images

As the annual orgy of parties surrounding Art Basel Miami Beach – North America's largest annual art fair and currently the most popular excuse to spend a December week in South Florida – got into full swing Wednesday night, one of the most intriguing soirees on offer paired Danny Brown and artist Shepard Fairey. So is Brown, the Detroit MC known for his aerodynamic hairstyle, oddball fashions and schizophrenic rhyming, a fan of the iconic street artist behind the Obey brand and the Barack Obama "Hope" poster?

"To be honest, this is my first time hearing about him," Brown told Rolling Stone before his performance. "I'm not really into, like, art. The most art I'm into is video games."

Video: Danny Brown's 'Monopoly'

Fairey knows music, though. He was on hand to DJ, and he primed the crowd for Brown with an eclectic and occasionally perplexing (at one point he mixed stoner-rock greats Sleep into a Baltimore club track) set that spanned hip-hop, metal, punk and funk.

The venue, Bardot, is a lounge more abundant in ambience than stage space, and Brown took the opportunity to perform amid the crowd, security guards keeping any would-be overzealous fans at bay. Beginning his set with "Witit" (a bonus cut from the deluxe edition of his 2011 mixtape XXX, for which he recently issued a brilliant video inspired by the aesthetics of No Limit Records designers Pen and Pixel), the fashion iconoclast performed a half-hour set clad in a ski cap with snowflakes on it. Perhaps most notable was "I Will," a highly descriptive and enthusiastic pledge of allegiance to cunnilingus, also from XXX. Brown's DJ dropped out the beat before the final verse, giving the rapper extra space to get his point across a cappella.

Brown, a veteran of Detroit's underground rap scene who was at one time courted by G-Unit before finding a home at DJ A-Trak's boutique label, Fool's Gold, said he has just completed work on his upcoming album, which he's calling ODB. "It's not called ODB, but it's ODB for now – that's the initials of the album," he explained. "I don't want to release the real title until the album comes out. There's so much I want to tell people about it, but there's so much I want to leave as a surprise."

The album, his first since his critically lauded mixtape made him a media darling and a hipster favorite in 2011, will be out in the early spring, he says. It won't be preceded by a single. "At Fools Gold, we don't think about singles and videos and stuff like that," Brown said. "I guess the song that everybody's feeling the most, we'll shoot something to . . . I'm more of an album guy than a one-song person. You can't really get an idea of me from one song. I may not even have the same voice on certain songs."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

More Song Stories entries »