Brian Burton, the man better known as artist/producer Danger Mouse, was born to a schoolteacher father and a social worker mother in White Plains, New York, but spent much of his childhood upstate in Spring Valley.
When he was 13, his family moved to Stone Mountain, a suburb of Atlanta, where he was introduced to the hip-hop sounds of the South and Midwest. Though Burton had always wanted to be a cartoonist while growing up, the opportunity to attend college on a full scholarship appealed to the 18-year-old, and he pursued a degree in telecommunications at the University of Georgia. While in school, he was introduced to Nirvana, Pink Floyd, and Portishead, as well as the burgeoning indie rock scene in Athens (he even remixed songs from local band Neutral Milk Hotel) and also began making his own electronica music under the name Pelican City, releasing The Chilling Effect (1999) and Rhode Island (2000) on the December First label while still a student.
One class shy of graduating, Burton moved to London with his sights set on a career as a trip-hop DJ. Once there, however, he decided to focus on producing his own hip-hop beats instead, taking a job as a bartender in a pub called The Rose to pay his bills. A friend convinced him to send his work to the British techno label Warp, and impressed with what they received (a mash-up of Air and Audio Two, and another of Nas and Portishead, as well as his own original beats), the label signed him to a two-record deal on their hip-hop offshoot, Lex. Now working under the pseudonym Danger Mouse -- the name of the title character of a cartoon he had watched as a child -- Burton moved back to the U.S. to record 2003's Ghetto Pop Life with Brooklyn MC Jemini, which was followed by 2004's Twenty Six Inch EP.
It was not until later that year, however, that the producer started getting significant recognition, when his now legendary Grey Album, a mash-up of the Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album, was leaked to the Internet. GQ magazine named Danger Mouse one of its top men of 2004, and Damon Albarn recruited him to work on Gorillaz's second album, 2005's Demon Days, which brought him a Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year. Danger Mouse also collaborated with MC MF Doom to form Danger Doom, whose debut album, The Mouse and the Mask, starring characters from The Cartoon Network's nighttime program Adult Swim, came out in 2005.