With his distinct asymmetrically-cut frizz, quirky sneaker game, rotating wardrobe of cheeky graphic tees and a snaggle tooth he wears like a badge, Detroit rapper Danny Brown might appear cartoonish — but his eccentric image isn’t a getup. Delivering his verses with a submissive sexual forwardness and taking as many risks with his bold clothing, Brown has been evolving the relationship between hip-hop, sexuality and fashion since he started his career nearly a decade ago. Though his tastes aren’t strictly avant — Brown often blends high and low fashion, combining Givenchy and Adidas, with whom he’s worked — he’s paving the way for rappers to shed their lyrical and stylistic machismo. He’s even called out the old school’s dated dress, in “Molly Ringwald” when he raps, “Y’all n****s still wearing Rocawear/ Balmain jeans about a stack a pair.” (His Balmain skinny jeans even lost him an opportunity to work with G–Unit.)
Brown has found a lot of love for his idiosyncrasies, though, since his major label debut XXX, with his audience he calls “Bruisers” and in the fashion world as the muse for rising menswear label Mark McNairy‘s spring ‘13 collection. Hive caught up with Brown, and he shared his approach to packing for tour, offered some sex tips, and recounted the first time he smoked weed.
Givenchy shirt, Balmain jeans, Versace shades from Sunglass Hut and some Air Force Ones. I felt like I had to dummy down a little bit. Normally I would wear some Y-3’s, I felt like looking like a trill dude so I wore some Air Force Ones, which I haven’t worn in years. They’re just for today. I wouldn’t say I’m a sneaker dude, though — I wouldn’t wait in no lines for no shoes, [and] I don’t know when the shoe release date is.
The most sentimental thing he travels with:
Probably marijuana, because if I don’t have it, I’m going to be sentimental when I get there.
I smoked a few times when I was real young, but I didn’t really start smoking every day until I was 18 [years old]. I was listening to a lot of Nas at the time. I was a big Nas fan.
His touring essentials:
Condoms and more condoms. I’m not having any sex right now, but you gotta stay protected, man. The thing I’ve learned most recently is foreplay will get you a long way. I go with the flow. Every girl is different. You’ve got to go with what she’s receptive to and continue on that. I have a girlfriend, but we’re swingers.
On how he picks his outfits for the stage:
I think about it a lot, but it’s mostly a feeling. I know when I put it on. [On my off days,] I wear the same shit. It’s not a costume. I wake up, take a shower, and put on what I’m going to put on.