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On Marijuana: "Of Course It Shouldn't Be Illegal"

6 April 2016 | 3:06 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"If you can turn a city around with marijuana, then why not?"

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At the time of our chat, Danny Brown is at his house in Michigan, which is situated "right by a huge golf course". "There's always, like, weird animals in my yard," he observes. "A lotta, like, deers and chipmunks, and I had a fox - not too long ago - that was runnin' around." So does Brown play golf? "I mean, I plan on, once I get old," he cackles (in that trademark, infectious way).  

Cannabis "isn't legalised" in Brown's home state at present, but the rapper opines, "Of course it shouldn't be illegal; you know, when you have somethin' like alcohol, which is legal and we know that kills people, cigarettes kill people every day, you know? So something that we know helps people medicinally, you know what I'm sayin'?... Seattle - the economy is thriving off weed, you know? So if you can turn a city around with marijuana, then why not? Like, Michigan is a place that really needs that type of help, you know?"  

"I live life and then I write about it… I could just talk about my past all day."

Although he totally gets that "it comes with the territory", Brown doesn't really like "social media stuff". "I just wanna make songs and make music," he laments. Brown continues, "[Social media is] like high school, like childish stuff to me." He admits that his posts on social media are taken out of context "all the time". So how does he deal with it? "You just have to leave it alone," he advises, "because you have to understand, like, me bein' an artist; I can't say, 'Such-and-such music sucks' - tomorrow that's a headline." When it's put to Brown that people tend to move on fairly quickly, today's big news today soon becomes yesterday's headline, Brown counters, "I dunno. I mean, 'cause I know with my life - I don't like nothin' like that; so it wouldn't be yesterday's headline to me, if it was my life."

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We wonder whether Brown has listened to much Australian hip hop. "No," he replies without hesitation. "I haven't even been listening to a lot of American hip hop, hahaha... I've been listening to the Talking Heads a lot [laughs again]." What's his favourite Talking Heads song then? "Um, right now my favourite song is Cities."

When it comes to songwriting, Brown shares, "I live life and then I write about it… I could just talk about my past all day. But I’m trying to escape my past more than anything, so why keep revisitin’ it, you know?”

There's a new Danny Brown record on the way ("I'm just pretty much wrapping up my album, mixing it") and, when asked whether we'll be treated to some fresh cuts during his upcoming Australian shows, he hesitates, "I mean, um, hopefully. By the time I'm out, hopefully a single might be out... if that works out the way I want it to."

Then Brown reveals, "My brain can only hold so many [songs] and when I'm workin' on, like, a new album it's kinda like I forget a lot of the old stuff. And I know the new stuff now and it's not even out! So now I gotta go back and relearn the old stuff to go out and perform." Sounds a bit like data storage: constantly deleting to create space. "Yeah, exactly," he agrees. "It's like a hard drive; it only can hold so much."