Rescued From The Fire: Danny Brown on Love’s Forever Changes

An ongoing series in which we ask artists what record they’d risk life and limb to save from a burning inferno

If it wasn’t for the jeans, Danny Brown would probably be in G-Unit right now. After famously collaborating with the rapper Tony Yayo, the charismatic Detroit native found a way to the ear of 50 Cent, though quickly realized his tight pants and Factory haircut didn’t jive with the street image of the label. Instead, Brown began to further cultivate his strangeness and ended up releasing XXX on the party-oriented Fools Gold label owned by A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs. And while he dabbles in the prerequisite raps about weed, women and money, Brown delivers his rhymes with a peculiar flair for wordplay and inflection not witnessed in hip hop for some time. In this 45th edition of Rescued From The Fire, Brown recounts his Love love affair and why you “can't touch the Lee”.

Love - Forever Changes (1967, Elektra Records)

Your house is on fire. You only have time to save one record. Which one would that be?

One record? I think I’d probably save a porno DVD before I save a record.

Well, what if your porn collection is already burnt down and you only have the record shelf to pick from?

Arthur Lee, man, Love, Forever Changes. I had a friend, I was in college and his professor actually put him up to it. And he just brought it to me. He actually had burnt, like the whole discography of just Love and Arthur Lee’s solo albums, but he was like, “Fuck all that shit, just listen to Forever Changes.” And that was before I went to jail, so like 2006.

What does Arthur Lee’s music mean to you?

He had bars! I heard mad people sing, and I heard mad people write songs, but when I listen to his shit, it was like lines and the one line that sticks out to me to this day, and I’ve probably used it in a... not sure if I used in a record before, but he saying: “This story of today will be a movie tomorrow” ["The news today will be the movies for tomorrow”], and I was like, what the fuck? He just wrote some shit like that? You know what I’m saying? This was the 60s! That one line sticks up to me and just... his bars! It’s just lines on that shit, like, you can take so many quotes out of that album, use it towards your life and you’ll be a better person.

Love - A House Is Not A Motel

How about the musical side of it?

I actually just read the book and watched the documentary about it. I just really learned all about it. And I say I feel like I’m an Arthur Lee type of guy. And it’s cool that, what he did, man. I think The Doors suck. If the Doors never came, this never would have happened, man, for real! But Arthur Lee was a dickhead though, so whatever. That’s just like right now, you know what I’m saying? Some ni---a right now studying my shit, trying to be Danny Brown. And then this ni---a just get on and blow up. The Doors wished they could be Love, you know that. It was just more commercial, Jim Morrison had his shirt off, and he was struttin’ for the hoes and they popped! Arthur Lee was a crazy black ni---a with dumbass glasses and boots. Jim Morrison wasn’t lyrical to me, man. As a band, The Doors was way better than Love, but songwriting? You can’t touch the Lee.

Header image: Ysa Perez

By Red Bull Music Academy on August 17, 2012

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