The highlights of Danny Brown’s 2012 summer performance schedule are fairly predictable bookings for the sort of skinny-jeans Fool’s Gold rapper who’s a part of what SPIN’s taken to calling Rap’s New Underground: Berlin’s street-fashion orgy Bread & Butter, Chicago’s indie party Pitchfork Festival, this past weekend’s nu-rave grind Hard Summer. But then this Thursday, the Detroit lifer will play Insane Clown Posse’s Gathering of the Juggalos, a five-day psycho-porn amusement park that Tom Green once compared to the cinematic disease-apocalypse 28 Days Later.
“It’s kind of cool to me,” Brown admitted to us last week over the phone. “I was like, ‘Damn, you know, that’s kind of crazy.'”
What’s “crazy” to Brown isn’t the irony or comedy of opening for grown men who wear evil clown face-paint and rap about their nuts, it’s that Insane Clown Posse were a formidable presence for Brown’s growing up in Detroit. “No,” he says when asked if ICP were a joke among his peers. “You had people who really fucked with their shit. Kids in early high school — like ninth or tenth grade — a lot of kids were really into [horrorcore OG] Esham and ICP and that’s all they would listen to. They didn’t listen to commercial rap or anything else, but only what went on in that Psychopathic [Records] world. They had their own little clique of people.”
Brown’s savvy enough to realize that performing for 10,000 of such loyalists is an opportunity. “Being from Detroit, everything ICP has done, and knowing their fan base, and how the movement is,” he reasons, “If they [ICP] fuck with somebody, then their people fuck with somebody. If I could at least gain 20 percent of their fan base when I leave that place, then I’ve done my job.”
There’s always a chance it will go horribly wrong. Juggalos are infamous for throwing junk at performers they don’t appreciate–in 2010, they threw poo at topless fameball Tila Tequila (our eyewitness report). What if he gets pelted with garbage when he plays? “If I don’t get hurt or nothing, then I’m not tripping on it,” says Brown. “If it hurts, then, it’s an easy paycheck–cut the set short, it’s over with, I ain’t tripping, I got my check, I’ll go home,” then adding, “I’m there to do a job. I’m old, I don’t care. Give me the money.”