Interview with Detroit hip hop artist, Danny Brown (Explicit Language)

We met Danny Brown at a poetry class he was guest teaching near downtown Detroit. He was telling a classroom of high school students about his writing process, which he compared to making a pot roast. You can have McDonalds, scarf it down, and it'll be cool. "But if I sit around and prepare this long roast," he said, "it's going to be real fulfilling, you're going to get all the proteins you need, and it's going to be great on the reheat!" It's been almost three years since Danny dropped an album, and although he's hinted that a new one is complete, he's not in a rush to release it. He has, however, suggested it's going to be a quality roast.

While his music marinates, he's been busy at home in the suburbs of Detroit, raising his daughter and hanging with family in the Linwood area where he grew up. Danny will always be a kid trapped in a gangly adult frame, but he's also grown up and taken on a big brother role in the city. He's pushing his Bruiser Brigade label-mate ZelooperZ, whom I met at a loft party with a tank or two of nitrous and a few rappers trading bars on makeshift stages. That's kind of the joy of Detroit: formerly abandoned buildings have provided ample space to be weird. And to take your time being weird, which is exactly what Danny has always done and is continuing to do.

I talked to him outside his mom's house in Linwood about his hometown for tonight's episode of NOISEY, premiering at 10 PM EST on VICELAND.

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Detroiter rebuilds life as a writer after 19 years in prison

It would take more years for Senghor to forgive himself and years more to accept that his fate was to be a writer. Now, Senghor’s writing has given him a second life, one where he works with popular activist Van Jones in #Cut50, the initiative to reduce America’s incarcerated population by 50% by 2025; one where he presented at the prestigious Aspen Ideas Festival; one where he travels the world talking about prison reform and life reform; one where he gave one of the most popular Ted talks in history called “Why Your Worst Deeds Don’t Define You.” (Since Canada would not admit the ex-felon into the country to attend the conference, he spoke from Ted headquarters in New York); one where he was an MIT fellow; one where he was a lecturer at the University of Michigan; and one that has taken him to cities across America and countries around the world to talk about redemption.

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“New” Detroit, new tensions

This year at the Detroit Policy Conference, the fifth annual gathering of more than 800 business and community leaders at the Motor City Casino, we left with way more questions than answers.

That’s actually not a bad thing. The dynamic ideations of some of Detroit’s finest thinkers left everyone talking about both how incredibly far the city has come in recent years, but also, thinking about how much further we have to go in regard to the myriad issues still facing the city.

There were countless quotes and memorable moments throughout the day — far more than we can document in full (we’ll post the videos when they become available) — but we’ve pulled some of what we believe to be the key take-aways of the day to share with you.

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