Danny Brown is staring at me with unabashed disgust and contempt. It's rather intimidating, it's somewhat confusing, as we've literally just met - and it's pretty upsetting, as this is an artist I respect and admire greatly.
My crime? I'm not totally sure. It seems to be just my presence that displeases him. He's not in a good mood - he hasn't slept, he's just been on an 8 hour flight, and he hasn't smoked weed in 12 hours.
Danny Brown is one of my favourite rappers. I've been looking forward to this for weeks. I've spent days preparing and writing questions, researching and reading countless other interviews with him, deliberating what to avoid and what to focus on. He comes across as friendly and fascinating in everything I've read so far, so I'm feeling positive.
He's in town for shows at Rough Trade and Koko. I'd like to know about his live shows, and what fans who have never seen him in action before can expect. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it seems straightforward enough. It's not.
Casting a disdainful eye on me, he replies: "Rapping. They can expect to see me rap." He then lazily rolls his head towards his smirking manager, who lolls on the bed throughout the whole sorry affair, scanning the room service menu. "What does she expect me to say?" he sneers. He directs his gaze towards me again, and suddenly yelps: "Do you want me to say take loads of Molly? Wear kneepads?". He laughs emptily, shaking his head.
Well, no. I didn't want him to say that, necessarily. He's putting words into my mouth. I'm well aware of the way he's portrayed in the media - an MDMA-guzzling, sex-crazed figure of fun. He's rap's outsider, but he's always seemed to embrace it. I can understand why he's tired of being hip hop's clown, but on the other hand, if you're going to make entire songs about your love of drugs ['Dip'] and make constant references to out-there, filthy sex ["You ain't met a n*gga like this before/Eat it from the back and suck on your toes", 'Handstand'] what do you expect?
I know there's a lot more to him than that, however, which is why I've come armed with a mix of standard questions about his music, some serious subject matter [I wanted to ask him what he thinks about government internet surveillance, for example] as well as a handful of light-hearted questions, if he was in the mood.
He's not in the mood, however. He's not in the mood for anything. He gives one-word answers to questions about his music. He doesn't want to discuss anything serious. And he sure as hell isn't in the mood to have fun. Whilst the interview crashes and burns, he's openly making unpleasant comments about me to his manager, who's still trying to work out how to order room service.
Interviewing musicians is a part of my job, and it's mostly an enjoyable and interesting perk. I've had artists be disinterested and distant whilst I'm speaking to them, but they'll still answer my questions and maintain an air of politeness. I've never, however, had someone go out of their way to humiliate me and make me feel like an idiot; someone who has given me no choice but to cut the interview short, as there's a certain line that I can't allow to be crossed. Danny Brown may be famous, and a good artist, but I'd have to be one hell of a masochist to sit there and take his shit any longer.
I leave his airless hotel room with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I'm mortified. I'm disappointed. A day later, I'm still reeling - and I'm angry. He didn't like my questions. That's fine. But it truly blows my mind how an artist who would not be where they are without the support of fans - can conduct themself like that with someone who is there to write about their work, who is interested in what they do and wishes to promote them. I was there for him, because I love his music. That's it.
Brown complained about being tired, and having to stay in hotel rooms day after day. I have no doubt it's an exhausting job, with an unrelentless and punishing schedule. But it's his job. He's a musician, and a successful one at that, with a large and devoted fanbase. He's flying all over the world, playing shows every night to adoring fans, staying in luxurious hotels. Yes, perhaps the last thing he should have done when he landed was talk to the press. Maybe he should have made that wish clear to his management team.
I've interviewed one of my favourite musicians, and he was a horrible arsehole to me. Now what? It genuinely feels like I've been brutally dumped. I have to delete his music off my iTunes, and unfollow him on Facebook and Twitter, as even the sight of his name makes me feel nauseous. I'll never listen to Old again. I'm just glad I've played it almost every day for the past few months, and enjoyed it whilst he was just someone I admired from afar.