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Danny Brown: "Never Spend $70k on Samples for an Album That No One Buys"

Brown's decision to spend $70,000 to clear samples for his 2016 album 'Atrocity Exhibition' put him in debt.
Danny Brown 2018

Danny Brown's Atrocity Exhibition is the highest-rated album of his career according to Metacritic, but as the Detroit rapper learned the hard way, high ratings don't pay the bills.

In response to a fan question on Twitter, asking the most important thing he learned during the making of his 2016 album, Brown replied, "Never spend 70k on samples for an album that no one buys cause you will be in debt."

Upon its release on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, Atrocity Exhibition debuted at No. 77 on the Billboard 200, racking up 7,000 album-equivalent units and nearly three million on-demand streams in an abbreviated week.

"I wanna make timeless stuff, so you're gonna have to spend a couple dollars," Brown told Rolling Stone in an interview prior to the album's release. "You could have Rolex or you can have a Swatch."

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In hindsight, with his own personal finances tied up in paying for sample clearances, Brown probably would have preferred to literally only spend "a couple dollars," but it appears the product he delivered has guaranteed him fans for life.

"Nah that was worth it. That album is so perfect I bought it 4 times," one fan tweeted.  

Another fan remarked: "First album of yours I ever discovered. The music was created in an honest way that really takes the listener into your various mind states. Fantastic project."

For future releases, Brown would be wise to employ the services of your favorite producer's secret weapon, Oakland instrumentalist and producer G Koop, who recreates (or "replays") samples for producers who want to completely circumvent the entire clearance process. This alternative, as you'd imagine, is also more cost-effective.

Brown is currently working on his next full-length album, which will include production from Alchemist. There is no word on whether or not it will contain samples.



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