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Danny Brown on How Mac Miller’s Death Impacted His Sobriety

This article was originally published on HipHopDX

Danny Brown’s triumphant run with sobriety is still in its early stages, though it traces back to a wake-up call from five years ago that he partly attributes to the untimely passing of Mac Miller.

On Friday (December 8), the Detroit MC passed through Los Angeles for a performance at the Masonic Lodge. In an interview with HipHopDX prior to the show, he discussed the recent changes in his lifestyle and outlook that serve as the basis of his latest offering, Quaranta.

During the chat, he reflected on mending his relationship with Mac Miller, who he once referred to as “the worst guy around” in a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone. A few years later, the two seemed to have set their differences aside when the Pittsburgh native wrote in a since-deleted tweet to Brown, “I miss the you that said I was the worst thing to happen to Hip Hop,” to which the latter replied, “<<<<<<<Old Danny Brown.”

“I was close with Schoolboy Q and then [Mac] and Q had got real close, so Q was kinda the one that brought us together,” he told DX. “We would always try to hang out and just something would go wrong, and then I think he thought it was just me being like standoff-ish on him.

“So he had called me and I was in Detroit, and he was like, ‘Man, you should just come out, hang out. Y’know, we ain’t never really got a chance to kick it; every time we kicked it, it’s always been around other people … y’know, just me and you.'”

It was around that time, however, that Brown was starting to rethink his self-destructive habits. For that reason, he was a little skeptical about spending one-on-one time with Mac, who himself was struggling with substance abuse but wasn’t taking the same measures to keep them at bay.

“At that time, I was trying to fix myself up, and I was thinking to myself, ‘Man, I know Mac — every time I hang out with him, we kinda do get a little fucked up and shit,'” he explained. “And I wasn’t trying to be like that, so I didn’t wanna go … and the day I was supposed to leave to go hang out with him, on the radio, they announced [that he had died].

“And it was just like, I don’t know … it just kinda hit me kinda hard, ’cause it was like damn, y’know? It just let you know how easy or how quick some shit could just happen like that, y’know? So yeah, obviously I didn’t get clean at that time, but that just really scared me and shit.”

During the same sit-down, Brown also discussed his love for comedy and how he has been flirting with it for a while. At the same time, he admits it’ll take him some time to perfect the skill, recalling an incident involving Dave Chappelle that made him realize how tough it really is.

“I can just be funny and talk shit, but to actually write good jokes and shit, I still don’t get it,” he said. “My favorite stand-up comedians was always the ones that, y’know, you could laugh at and they had jokes, but they always leave you with that little gem; it’s kind of like you’re learning something too.”

He added: “I want to be that good, and that takes some time, but, y’know, with comedy, you can be 80 years old and still be on stage cracking jokes, so I still got time.”

He then talked about branching out into improv and sketch comedy because he has a gut feeling that he’ll do well in both those fields given the success of his single-season series with VICE TV, Danny’s House.

“I had all the say [in determining the show’s content] but I just was so nervous at the time, so I didn’t really take that much advantage of it,” Brown remembered about the eight-episode run. “They wanted me always to improv and go off-script, but I would always just stick [to my script] ’cause I was just so nervous doing it, man, y’know? It’s a different time, man; now, I’d be crazy.”

While on the subject, he also addressed “Story by Dave Chappelle” from Big Sean’s Detroit 2 album. The 2020 interlude features the legendary funnyman recounting a time he bombed on stage after getting too high from a joint handed to him by the Detroit spitter. As his set began going downhill, the “Dip” hitmaker apparently slipped out of the room and stopped answering calls from the professional provocateur, who thinks he was spiked.

Brown has since denied this claim, even going so far as to say, “Fuck your feelings, n-gga” on his podcast and also dedicating a bar to the encounter on “Dark Swords” from his latest album.

Smoke with Dave Chappelle, the n-gga think I laced him/ Knew it was the pack/ He started talkin’ ’bout spaceships,” Brown raps on the track.

“I think he don’t like me no more,” he told DX while laughing. “I would love to [talk to him again] though […] I just respect him so much, y’know, and it just taught me a lot … made me respect stand-up comedy a lot more, I will say that.”


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