When you think of rappers on opposite ends of the spectrum, then you’d probably have the quirky and idiosyncratic Danny Brown on one end, and the macho, cliched gangsterism of 50 Cent on the other.
But back in 2010, the G-Unit boss was actually contemplating signing the Detroit rapper to his record label. While on the come up, Danny Brown met and befriended G-Unit member, Tony Yayo; the two rappers actually put out a collaborative mixtape, Hawaiian Snow, together in 2010.
In an interview from the same year, Danny Brown explained how he linked up with Tony Yayo, “When I was recording [mixtapes] Detroit State of Mind, Volumes 1-3, I was working with a producer who worked for G-Unit and was Yayo’s engineer.”
“When Yayo got a movie role in S.W.A.T. 2, he was shooting it in Detroit, so he hit me up and said, ‘Come link up, chill and smoke.’ So I went down there, and he was like, ‘My homeboy told me about you.’ I showed him the “Re-Up” video, went on my iTunes and played him a couple joints, and he said, ‘You need to come up to New York with me.’ So he took me on tour with 50 Cent all through July, and we built from there.”
Although Danny Brown’s association with Tony Yayo led to a lot of speculation on whether the Detroit rapper would sign to G-Unit Records, the deal never materialised because he didn’t fit in with the image 50 Cent was cultivating for the label.
“It was a real thing. 50 was with it; he just didn’t sign me because of my jeans. He liked the music, but he didn’t like the way I looked,” the rapper explained in a later interview. “I understand where they were coming from with that, but you gotta understand where I’m coming from too: I’m from Detroit.”
Danny Brown would eventually sign to Brooklyn-based, independent label, Fool’s Gold, also home to other artists like Run The Jewels, A-Trak and Party Supplies.
He would go on to release the critically acclaimed XXX on the label in 2011 which ended up on many publications’ best of year lists. Danny Brown would follow that album up with 2013’s Old which also received similar acclaim, debuting at number 17 on the US Billboard 200 and moving 15,000 units in the first week.
While never reaching the commercial success of what 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew would hit, over the past decade Danny Brown has carved out a lane for himself and continued to drop dope releases consistently, cementing himself as one of the best rappers of the 2010s.