He raps about taking molly and smoking blunt after blunt. He raps about being fucked up and fucking your bitch. He dyes his hair blue, sticks his tongue out, and projects a hedonistic, I don’t give a fuck attitude. But underneath it all, Danny Brown is a damn hard-worker and a true professional.

This became clear throughout the day this Saturday at SXSW, where he not only performed a great set at the Red Bull Sound Select event in the evening, but also took the time to hang out with fans and support his Bruiser Brigade family ZelooperZ at the COMPLEX Complex for two, maybe three hours in the early afternoon. When you’re trying to chill side-stage, probably still recovering from the night before, and people keep coming over to get a picture with you it could get pretty tiring. But Danny was ready with a big wide smile, ready to stick his tongue out and get into that wild rockstar pose that his fans were expecting.

Danny Brown has an incredibly dedicated, loyal fanbase because they know he appreciates their support, and they know he’ll put it all out there for them when he goes on stage. Some of the rap shows I’ve seen at SXSW have been disappointing. So, you can stand around on stage and dance to your own song, occasionally rapping the last few words of a line? Cool, but you’re never going win the crowd’s respect, and you’re never going to have a live show that leaves everyone buzzing and telling their friends to tell their friends about it.

I’ve been to Danny Brown shows before, so I knew what to expect from his Sound Select performance at The Belmont, but thanks to the lovely people at Red Bull, we were stood side-stage left on a raised platform, parallel with the front of the stage, almost close enough to reach out and touch the artists as they went on stage. It was a great place to be, and an interesting way to experience one of the most intense performers in rap. Look right and I could see the crowd from the artist’s perspective, stretching back and totally packing the open-air courtyard venue, hands held high, blunts raised to the sky, in constant motion. Look left and I could feel the heat from the stage lights on my face, see Danny’s neck muscles straining, and the spit coming from his mouth as he hit every line perfectly.

Ripping through a set that was heavy on material from OLD, Danny Brown seemed genuinely happy to spend his birthday on stage, basking in the adulation of fans who knew every word to every one of his songs. If he wasn’t genuinely happy to be working non-stop on his birthday, he sure convinced an entire crowd of people that he was, and that’s one sign of a true professional.

Turned 33 on stage tonight … I’m truly blessed bruh bruh .. Thank u for all the bday wishes

As well as having Danny Brown’s star qualities confirmed on Friday, I was highly impressed by ZelooperZ whose offbeat onstage magnetism shone through at both the COMPLEX showcase and when he came out to assist on “Kush Coma” and perform one of his own songs. Danny Brown introduced ZelooperZ to the stage saying, “It’s great to see Danny Brown at SXSW, but discovering the next Danny Brown is even better.” And after he’d performed, you couldn’t help but think that there was some truth to Brown’s words.

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