When Bob Dylan released the interactive video yesterday for his 1965 classic “Like a Rolling Stone” – the track Rolling Stone named the greatest song of all time – many celebrity faces stood out. Flipping through the channels on the left of the screen shows everyone from Drew Carey hosting The Price Is Right to comedian-podcaster Marc Maron singing along to the song like they’ve got nothing to lose. Among them was the unmistakable gap-toothed visage of Detroit rapper Danny Brown, who popped up on Channel 122, Music 1 Bass, for a fictional program called Big Beats Hour, where he sings along and eats various foods (sushi, pizza, a gyro) each with cartoon eyes.
How did Brown end up in Dylan’s video? “Being in the right place at the right time,” the rapper tells Rolling Stone. “The same guys that did my video for ‘Grown Up’ – Walter Pictures – they were the guys to do this one. And they could’ve picked any rapper to do that. Ain’t nobody gonna say no to Dylan.”
Although Brown had watched Dylan in documentaries and read about the folk-rocker over the years, he hadn’t listened to much of Dylan’s music until he landed the “Rolling Stone” gig. “I had to listen to that song a fucking lot to learn the lyrics,” he says. “Listening to that song over and over gave me a whole new perspective to what he was doing at that time.”
Repeated listens gave the rapper an appreciation for the track. “I get what he was saying in the song,” Brown says. “I just really listened to it all day – on the plane before I got to the shoot – and I was just happy to get it.
“It was an all-day shoot,” he continues. “If I didn’t know the lyrics, it would’ve been longer, so I’m glad I was prepared. That shit was very fucking – I was tired as fuck, let’s just put it like that. And I had to leave for Paris and shit like right after that, too!”
Additional reporting by Jeff Rosenthal