Danny Brown has been rather candid about Nas’ influence on him as an MC. It’s easy to connect the dots between the two as Nas handpicked Brown for his Live At The BBQ showcase earlier this summer. But there’s a link between Nas and one of Brown’s previous professions and his current one most may not be aware existed. In an interview with Pitchfork, Brown revisited the career path that started when Nas released It Was Written 20 years ago.
“I remember buying the album at the mall and going back home and listening to it and just instantly saying: ‘Fuck work,’” Brown said. "I called in and they was like, 'If you don’t come to work you getting fired,' and I was just like, 'Well, fuck it then, I’m getting fired.'”
"I lost that job to stay home and listen to Nas. It was the best decision I made in my life," he added.
Brown also said he was 14 years old when he initially applied for the job as a buffet worker making minimum wage, which would have made it illegal to hire him anyway. While much has been made of Brown’s post-buffet illegal sources of income, his initial decision to turn away from traditional nine-to-five jobs wasn’t fueled by an affinity for hustling or a desire to enter the drug trade Nas prominently rapped about on songs like “Street Dreams.” Brown was just a Nas Stan.
Brown’s fandom ran so deep, he admits to dressing like Nas during the "Esco" phase and adopting a similar haircut (presumably a close-cropped Caesar, faded bald on the sides with a part).
Danny Brown may currently favor Rick Owens, but in 1996 the influence of Nas ran so deep that Brown quit his job to listen to an album that would debut at the top spot on the Billboard 200 album chart with over 260,000 units sold during its first week of release. Given Brown’s previous admission to XXL that Nas’ 1999 album I Am turned him on to smoking blunts and drinking Hennessy, this might be par for the course.
You can check out Danny Brown’s full list of influential albums, including Scarface’s Mr. Scarface Is Back and The White Stripes’ Hotel Yorba at Pitchfork here.