Danny Watts
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Danny Watts

Houston, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Houston, Texas, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Hip Hop Hip Hop




"Top 10: Dope Emcees You Should Know (2013)"

New Zealand’s Cosmic Compositions unleashed the sounds of Texas emcee Danny Watts this year with the first installment in their Messenger Series. Danny’s intricate bars have a heavy metaphysical leaning and provoke introspection as well as heavy replays for head nodding dopeness. - TheFindMag

"Video: Danny Watts – Poetic Effusions (Prod. by KVZE)"

Up and coming Texan emcee Danny Watts dropped a highly impressive EP through Cosmic Compositions earlier this year. His cerebral flows floating delicately atop clouded jazzy production made him one of my favourite new artists this year.

His first music video comes from the 5th track off the EP, “Poetic Effusions” with a beat by KVZE. The minimalist black and white video fits perfectly with Danny’s style of thoughtful poetic dialogue. This track could be seen as the flagship for the whole EP, as the emcee invites you to sonically and mentally experience his own plane of existence, and through his music develop your personal significance that relates to your own narrative. - TheFindMag

"A Conversation With Houston's Danny Watts"

1. Who is Danny Watts?
Since a kid I’ve been taught the skill of being multifaceted. Danny Watts isn’t just one thing or one trait. I’m all of these intricate little details that I choose to show at different times in my life; I’m the controller of it though. I get to choose what aspects of myself come out when I need them to. I’m just positive or at least I try to be. I allow myself that space to be whatever I want to be everyday when I wake up, as long as its something positive, then I’m happy with that.

2. What inspired you to get into music? What sparked your passion for it?
I’ve been a writer since I was 8 years old. Solitude really allows a person to find themselves. So my passion for writing has been there since the beginning. Writing poems for girls, getting paid for essays, and all that. I started recording when I was 17. Never would have happened if it wasn’t for my homie at the time Austin. Over the years, I’ve come to love the aspect of creating more than anything. That first moment you get to hear the results of what you just created. I’m always pushing myself and my voice. Also, pushing my knowledge of language and grammar.

3. Why is music so important to you? What about it makes you feel whole?
Music is important to me because it’s not just for me. I realized that I don’t just make music for me. My experiences are my own but once I share them they become someone else’s as well. The process of making it is the only thing that belongs only to me. You can actually speak for people through what you say. That’s so cool to me. Especially with hip hop because it’s the only genre of music that’s word driven. You can cover multiple aspects of life in just one verse. People choose you to speak for them and get them through life. It just gives me a vibrant feeling knowing that my words are powerful enough to be an escape for anyone on any level.

4. What is your creative process?
It changes. I just go where the vibe takes me. I may start with the verse, I may start with the hook. The only constant is that I have to be alone. Only on a few occasions have I created in front of other people, but I prefer not to. I need time to make sure my words make sense and that the thoughts flow in the sequence I need them to. Creating is never a rushed process for me. I’m also very picky with what I choose to keep. I have a select few that I trust with my music and if it gets past them then I know I’m good.

5. What is a real-life situation that motivates you to never give up & to keep pushing no matter how bad things got in your life?

The people around me motivate me so much to never give up. I knew that I had a special gift when I started sharing my music with people I wouldn’t normally share it with and the reception was positive. Places like my job and my church, the people really latched on and pushed me to keep pursuing it. Life is always throwing me some sort of tribulation, I just have to remind myself of the gifts God graced me with. It gets very difficult sometimes and I’ve gotten so far away from music. I just have a really supportive system of friends and family around me. They remind me that the troughs of life are opportunities for inspirational music.

6. What are some other creative avenues, or other things in general, that inspire you & that you like outside of music?

I’m a big fan of writing. I love poetry and just researching words in general. I’m really into abstract displays of art. I appreciate anything that’s open for interpretation. I try to apply that to the way I write. Just creating something that can fit into any pocket of life.

7. Top 5 hip-hop artists of all-time to you, GO!

My list is Tyler, The Creator, Kendrick Lamar, Zeroh, a Houston rapper named Loocy Lex, and myself

8. How do you feel about the music scene in Houston?

The music scene is very diverse out here. Speaking from a hip hop perspective, you can really put on shows that cater to different audiences. I’ve been shown a lot of love since I’ve introduced myself. I do wish there was more opportunity for artists who make good music but are still building a fan base. A lot of us are starting to realize that we have better chances in other markets. It would be cool if the fans latched on from the beginning but it’s just not the case. Which isn’t good for the city because if an artist leaves and then gets big, then that becomes his story. Which leaves a negative stigma on the city. I would love to just put on free shows and have hundreds of people show up and show that to the world. That’s what these labels want to see. They want to see people rapping along with you. A crowd of 50-60 people on their phones isn’t going to work.

9. What are some long-term goals you have for yourself and your passion? What do you see yourself accomplishing in the near, or far, future?
Long term, I would like to transcend music and artistry. I want to be known for philanthropy and giving back to my city. While I’m still in the world of making music I hope to be considered a voice for my generation. Someone who used their platform to push the culture and just advance a mindset of unity for everyone. Right now, I’m into pushing this message that my people need. I’m working on my album that tells my story of how I got to where I am mentally and also intertwining todays issues. Finding Eunoia, 2016

10. To anyone with a dream that feels like their passion will never pay off, what is some wisdom you’d like to share?
Hone in your talent. Build a message that you align yourself with naturally. Find a good support system that just gives you motivation as needed. Think in advance. Create goals and steps that are attainable to get where you need to go. - The Hive Society

"Danny Watts Made His Most Personal Album in a Week"

Everyone dreams of the day they’re going to quit their pain-in-the-ass day job. They have it mapped out, whether or not they want it to be more of a ceremony or a simple clock-out-and-go. Danny Watts has his day planned out a bit differently.

“I would speak to my boss lady,” Watts tells me. “She's been super-cool and helpful. She's been to shows, helped me find time off work, changed my schedule so I could work on music more frequently, and so much more.”

His days of being a slave to a regular 9-to-5 are up after Friday’s release of Black Boy Meets World. The day after the album lands, Watts, 29, will punch in and out for the last time. The co-workers will understandably notice how his music career has taken off. His boss, the woman who brought him to work when he hit rock-bottom, would earn all of his appreciation and love. “You don't find too many people who help you with your own interests when it has no benefit to them,” he says. “I love her for that.”

Watts’s decision to quit came not as a mandate or a divine order from a higher power. The lanky Houston rapper and father of a precious little girl found his answer via the notification of a two-month tour. His job, even though he loves some of the people who work there, wouldn’t be receptive to one of their contracted guys leaving for two entire months and still remaining on the payroll. So last month, Watts put in his notice, a “no brainer” decision that later became a full-on leap of faith.

To know of Danny Watts is to dive deep into a web of clouded thoughts, decisions he’d later come to regret and a call toward something. His rapping style has earned him bona fides from coast to coast and yet there’s always an uncertainty in his delivery. The assuredness comes behind a pitter-patter of thoughts; hardscrabble and introspective peers into his mind-set. He knows Houston, the ebbs and flows of the scene as well as its inhabitants. He used to hide behind his words, an abstract thought process to refuse what his actual reality was. Now, that's no longer the case.

Black Boy Meets World, his full-length debut, opens with an admission of prayers gone unanswered. “I don’t trust myself enough/ I need to have a little more faith,” he sings in a raspy voice. “I tried to pray to God, he don’t hear me/ Talked to my Mom, she don’t feel me though/ Called up my Pops, he don’t answer the phone.” It’s a 30-minute exercise, pressed-together thoughts that come spilling out like people anxiously trying to exit a crowded elevator.

Getting to this point, a period that Watts titles the “Eyes Wide Shut” chapter of his life, came with its own jagged scars and fragments of emotional shrapnel. “I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t accepting of what was happening around me,” he says with a calmness to him. “Inside I knew that I didn’t align with what was happening, I just didn’t have the courage to move away from it.” He fought off stagnancy, refused to be active and worked at music with little effort or forward thought. He just got by on talent, similarly to how a basketball player with all the gifts in the world wouldn’t dare himself to be even greater.

Watts understands that Black Boy Meets World is him opening up and telling stories he’s kept internalized for years. Only close friends got to hear the stories in Watts’s head. He’s no longer blaming the world for his issues and has come to grips with them, whether it be his father leaving his family when he was a child or him sort of stumbling into those same faults with his daughter. On “Uprooted,” one of the album’s more freeing singles, he pours it all out and beats himself up for committing the sins of his old man. All of this managed to come out in a manic, weeklong recording session in Los Angeles. Under the eye of Jonathan “Jonwayne” Wayne, a two-year plan was carried out in seven days for a grueling, therapeutic session of recordings.

When the pair met in 2015, Jonwayne immediately told Watts there was only one way they’d ever collaborate: in person. That meant Watts had to fly out to Los Angeles. “Usually when I've made mistakes in my career, it was due to the lack of trust in my gut. A certain amount of what governs the creative world is intangible and also a force I subscribe to,” he says of the Houston MC. “Other than that, I think it was a combination of potential I could see in both the work and work ethic. His willingness to go the extra mile showed me a capable canvas.”

The first result found Watts contributing to Jonwayne’s lauded Rap Album 2, where, on “Rainbows,” the Houston rapper has time to shine all himself. Backed by lucid, looping production from Jonwayne himself, Watts acted with no hesitation. He was gleeful inside of a dark, purposeful thump. The two became fast friends during the Rap Album 2 session as Watts saw one of the rappers he was a fan of bring him into a world where he could interact with his other L.A. heroes such as Thundercat, Flying Lotus and some members of The Internet. All within a week’s time, Danny Watts had fallen in love with the tight-knit community that was the L.A. rap scene. Solid with the effort, Jonwayne brought Watts on to join his Authors Recording Company label and put forth an idea that Watts couldn’t readily reject.

“I would always come back home full of energy and vigor, excited for the endless possibilities. Then I would fall back into living complacently,” Watts says of the initial meetings before he retreated back into his shell. Television became his mistress, work became his full-time obsession.

“I did that for two years because I was seriously thinking about quitting music,” he says flatly. “I’m very thankful that Jon was patient with me throughout this process. Fast-forward to July 2017. Jon hit me up because he was setting up his tour and he wanted me on it. He told me that I needed to have the album done by August in order to go on the tour with him. I flew out there for a week with no material written. I didn’t even know if I could do it. Once I was there, I put my head down and powered through it.”

Says Jonwayne, “Making the album in a week was as accidental and spontaneous as any part of the creative process should be, though I think we found ourselves to be unsuspecting but willing participants. What the process allowed Danny to do was let his brain shut up for a second while his heart did all the work. It's a process that sometimes takes years or, as it turns out, a week.”

The plan was made then: Watts would write and record everything for the album within a week’s time. Jonwayne would arrange and produce it. The evidence of the process spills out on songs where Watts’ mind is trapped on the burning images of a robbery and how helpless he feels during it. The album’s closer finds Watts right back at square one. Having tackled his own masculinity in the face of death, fear and thoughts of not fulfilling his wants and desires as a man, he gives thanks to his mother who raised him as a single parent and pushed him to keep going. Her voice is the last we hear on Black Boy Meets World, one of beaming pride that her boy refused to succumb to his demons and pushed forward.

Watts’ wordplay and occasional deadpan delivery is his strength. Lines that would appear to be throwaway bars for other rappers are tightly woven into his story. Because it is his story, there’s no outside force that can dictate how it goes. No come ons or calls to create a certain type of record. Black Boy Meets World allows its lead creator to take H-Town menace and gloom a la Scarface on The Diary and apply it to his own life and its own pitfalls. He can acknowledge his mistakes without caution. As the album progresses, one comes to realize that the Danny Watts of four years ago is gone, replaced with a man who understands accountability, high and low.

“The last day of recording, when it was announced that I was done, I broke down and cried,” he says. “I held it in that entire week and focused only on the task at hand. So that last day was real emotional but also satisfying for me. Just thinking about all that I had to overcome. I remember they also adjusted the tracklist on the last day too. I thought I was almost done with the album but Jon came in and told me that we needed to take away some of the tracks. So on the last session, with only hours left to finish, I had to write three new songs to replace the ones taken off the record. I also had to make sure they were good enough to make the album. I had no room for error.”

On songs like “Lullaby For You,” the sludgy and late-night bruiser “Pill” and “Young And Reckless,” Watts finds ways to bend himself up. He can reminisce about a friend getting shot and killed in front of him but also paint a picture about a father wanting more for his daughter and himself. “Young And Reckless” fields the album’s most seamless hook, a jagged yet self-realized piece of authenticity. “Young and reckless/ We don’t follow directions/ We just ignore the message/ Then fall back on aggression.” There’s no falling back for Watts; backsliding to the past isn’t optional. Come Saturday, he won’t have a full-time job to consider as a crutch.

Just rap.

“This is my first time being fully confident in something I've done when it comes to music. I'm not excited that people are about to hear a portion of my story,” Watts says of the finished product. “That's the surreal part in all of this. I've always written about my life in private and shared with those who become close to me. I feel like I'm releasing a book detailing certain things that I've gone through. It feels amazing.” - Houston Press

"Meet Danny Watts, the Houston Rapper Signed to Jonwayne Who Just Quit His Costco Job"

Prolific underground rapper Jonwayne might be best-known today for his virtuosity on the microphone, but he was first recognized largely as a beatmaker. Nearly a decade after beginning his rise to prominence within the Southern California beat scene amongst names like Flying Lotus and the Gaslamp Killer, and with the help of Daddy Kev, founder of the famed club integral to that scene, Low End Theory, Jonwayne now owns his own imprint record label, Authors Recording Company.

Earlier this year, Jonwayne released Rap Album Two, one of the best hip-hop albums of 2017. For his next effort, though, he wanted to work primarily as a producer and was looking for a talented artist willing to put in the time and effort—whether or not they were polished.

“I like to incentivize creative people to continue to work and display loyalty to what we do,” Jonwayne explained during a recent phone conversation with both Danny and DJBooth. “I like to offer royalties, ownership, and guarantee that things will be stable and you’ll continue to work and build a catalog.”

Danny Watts, a 29-year-old Houston-based MC, proved to be the perfect counterpart as evidenced by his debut album, Black Boy Meets World, released on September 22.

On BBMW, Jonwayne provides the instrumental backdrop for Watts' soulful, honest and reflective raps. Especially polished for a debut effort, the LP includes fearlessly honest songs like “A Lullaby For You,” written about fatherhood and failure. “Ain’t No Problem” showcases his sharp delivery and flow. For those not yet familiar with the rapper, the title track ties the whole project together as a convincing introduction to this highly-compelling musician.

Two years ago, Watts was working in the optical department at a Costco, lacking the resources and backing necessary to successfully take the next steps towards a full-time career in music.

One day, Watts took a chance and sent Jon a message on SoundCloud, and to his surprise, Jon not only responded but also expressed an interest in working together. Jon had one simple request, though: we need to meet in person.

“I had no intentions of going to Los Angeles," Watts said. "I was just chilling and living my life in Houston. When he gave me the opportunity, I told him I’d be there in a week. I took a leap of faith.”

At first, Watts and a few friends were planning to rent a car and drive to California, but their impulsive decision fell through. Without the necessary funds to afford roundtrip airfare by himself, Watts and his closest friends pooled their money together. A day later, an expensive, last-minute flight to the West Coast was booked. Shortly after arriving, Watts immediately got to work, recording a stellar verse for Rap Album Two standout "Rainbow."

“Danny has a natural voice for rap,” Jon explained. “But I think what compelled me to stick with him is that he showed that he wanted it. I’ve worked with many people. The one thing you can’t teach is passion. You can’t teach that to somebody. So when somebody really has it, they’re ahead of 80% of people.”

Watts, who gushes about Jonwayne's extension knowledge about recording, mixing and marketing rap music, received advice from his veteran counterpart about what equipment to use and how to capture the true essence of his voice for a more full and authentic sound. Pressing play on Black Boy Meets World, it's clear Watts was taking notes.

“I knew I had to get in there and put in work and turn these people who kind of sort of know my name into actual supporters and fans of me as an artist and as a person,” Watts said. “This is where the work actually begins.”

Lyrically, Watts' goal on Black Boy Meets World was to remove the veil. He made his storytelling more tangible and less abstract than during previous songwriting attempts. Once afraid to talk about certain subjects, he knew it was important to represent himself as genuinely as possible on this record.

On “Things We Have To Do,” Watts wrote about the time he got robbed in vivid and candid fashion. Later on the album and backed by horns, he opened up about mortality on “Pill”:

"The vision of lost life changes perspectives I view / Perplexion, so many ways that a person’s persona flows / Like the morning Folgers’ aroma, now I’m woke to the notion / That life is only a moment. Seeing death is a hard pill to swallow."

During the recording process, Jon would often encourage Watts to push through various creative walls, resulting in a feeling he had never had before, like stepping up to the plate for the very first time and launching a screaming fastball out of the ballpark for a home run.

Jon, who says he and Danny would sometimes spend hours recording and re-recording the same verse, played an integral role in giving the record as much purpose as possible. It was a decision made to help bridge the gap of respect for the yin and yang of the music industry: art and money.

“If we’re going to take some of your money, we’re going to make part of the music,” Jon said. “I’m not going to roll up to you when you have your album finished and say, 'Hey, how’d you like a thousand dollars?' That’s not me. A lot of other white men do that in this business. I’m not going to be one of them. I’d rather be part of the good side of history with this.”

Danny looked at his verse on Rap Album Two as a job interview, while Black Boy Meets World was Jon offering him the gig. To further solidify his place with Authors Recording, Watts will be joining Jonwayne on a nationwide tour, which begins this week and will extend across the United States for nearly two months.

His only upcoming plans are the tour dates with Jonwayne, where both rappers will perform both albums six nights a week.

“My last day of work [at Costco] was the day after the album came out,” said Watts, who quit so that he could go on tour. “My main focus right now is doing any and everything I can to turn me making music and performing for a living into enough of an income where I can do this full-time.”

Watts is understandably excited for what's next. And so are we. - DJBooth

"Danny Watts' "Black Boy Meets World" Flips Negatives Into Positives Like Jonwayne Flips Samples"

Listening to the 29-year-old Danny Watts spit his verses, you can sense a profound rawness you'd think you could only find in a poet rather than a Houston MC. His reputation for technicality, verbosity and a willingness to explore his own emotions in his music landed him in the radar of La Habra's very own MC/producer Jonwayne. In 2015, Watts found himself working full-time while being a father, ready to give up on music when Wayne followed him via SoundCloud. Watts decided to go out on a limb by messaging Wayne about collaborating when he got back the response "I don't work over the internet, hit me up when you're in L.A."

"So I was like 'Ok, I'll be there in a week'," Watts says. "We set it up from there and ultimately that first time meeting him we were in the studio and we were working on music which ultimately became my contribution to Rap Album Two."

Looking at this as his only chance to make it in the rap world, he'd take the helm on the beautiful lullaby-like track "Rainbow," unleashing what sounded more like a passionately delivered confession rather than the albums sole guest verse. For two years they would meet on and off in L.A. until Rap Album Two finally dropped this year. Wayne approached him about going on tour with him in the fall but with a catch; Watts had to have an album done by then. "He didn't outright say it, but I just kinda knew, if I don't get this album done right now, my shot of making an album with [him was] pretty much over," he says.

They took the 7 Day Theory approach to creating Black Boy Meets World, recording everything in a week with Watts writing all of the lyrics in the same time-frame. It's set to release on September 22 on Wayne's label Authors Recording Company with it being the first release from another artist besides Wayne. All the beats were produced by Jonwayne with guest contributions by artists like bassist Juan Alderete de la Pena, saxophonist Aaron Shaw and guitarist Paul Castelluzo. The musicians all come together to parallel a beautiful space between jazz and hip-hop with the instrumentals being within the same macro-verse as Rap Album Two. It explores four themes which come together to tell his early life story in a nonlinear format, hopping around like a Quentin Tarantino movie to form a therapeutic journey from the pain in Watts' life to the blessings he's been bestowed.

On tracks like "I Don't Trust Myself," he sets the tone of opening up with the sounds blending together to form a self-questioning aura of doubt as the track slowly bleeds into "Cards With The Devil". His powerful wordplay, the technicality of his flow and the unforgettable hook by Ray Wright of Warm Brew make this a standout track which captures just how deep Watts can take you with his later track Lester's Interlude serving as a self-reminder none of us are perfect yet all still deserving of respect.

On the banger "Young And Reckless," he places you in the car alongside himself as a teen riding around the hoods of H-Town looking for trouble with his homies as a beat reminiscent of Bodak Yellow (with a far more devious edge) sets the tone. But with recklessness comes risk, with Watts speaking on the traumatic experience of seeing his friend being shot & killed on the track Pill as he rhymes the hook "seeing death is a hard pill to swallow."

While the next track "Ain't No Problem" speaks on showing a lack of fear, little do his homies know the trauma cause him to hold a fear of death he never shows because he doesn't want to be viewed as weak. He confesses this on "Things We Have To Do", when he speaks about a robber pressing a gun to his head, causing him to freeze and choose to empty his pockets instead of fighting back. Realizing he's not ruthless like his homies, he tries to pull away only to reveal on the song "Back Again" just how hard it is to stop riding with a group of friends you consider brothers.

Ultimately, he escapes the group through moving on the track "Uprooted" but only to get a girl pregnant at age 17. He speaks on the hard truth of his anger towards his father for not being around in his youth due to work, only to reveal he's guilty of the same thing with his daughter on the track "A Lullaby For You" because a number of different circumstances, I wasn't able to be there as I would've liked to be."

The final theme in the album takes you all the way back to the beginning of his life on the track "Black Boy Meets World", speaking on growing up poor with his single-mother struggling to make ends met while simultaneously not having his father in the picture. Through all his pain though, he finds gratitude for his mothers sacrifices in raising him, a faith in god and a proud mother who ends the album by telling her son she's happy her son is still chasing his dreams.

"It's a coming of age story," he says. "A young guy who goes through so many things in his life that once he gets to a point where it's time to be a man in this world, you reflect on it...All of those things at that point definitely weren't desirable at that time in my life but they definitely made me the person that I am today."

The true mark of this album is in its ability to navigate between confessing weakness and mistakes while still being able to hold confidence, making Watts a bigger man over others who would let pride get in the way of revealing their inner truth. These songs will give the youth permission to feel, to be afraid, to be sad, to be frustrated with their situation without feeling like it compromises their strength, with him showing them how accepting those negatives can help turn them into positives to make them stronger. Definitely buy this album as it's certainly one of the best releases this year and will stand out both in message as well as sound.

Watts' is full of passion, fueled by a father's desire to be a role model for his child and as a man to set an example for others by showing you can fulfill your dreams no matter what path you've taken in life. His eyes are set on becoming a hip-hop legend as he approaches his music career with the work ethic he's developed over the years hustling to make ends meet. He even looks at the recording of the album as his interview, finishing it as getting hired and the upcoming tour as a probationary period. To him it's a chance to prove himself to the masses in hopes of turning them into fans with a set date opening for Jonwayne October 5 at The Constellation Room. "If I can do that within this 60 days then I earned my spot, I can do things on my own now, I can make another album," Watts says. "I can go on the road by myself and set things up on my own."

"I've always thought to myself, I want to be one of the best," he says. "No matter how new I am to the music industry, no matter how many people are aware of me and how many people aren't, the work that me and Jon have done, the quality of the music, the stories that I'm telling, the way it's presented, the way it's conveyed, I don't see why I shouldn't have a top ten album of the year." - OC Weekly



Danny Watts is a rapper whose rhymes are lyrical and reflective, grounded in everyday struggles. The Houston, Texas native caught a break when he contacted Jonwayne through social media and was invited to work with the producer and fellow rapper. Insisting that they meet in the flesh, Wayne was visited at his Los Angeles home base by Watts, who was subsequently showcased on "Rainbow," a track off Rap Album Two -- the first release on Wayne's Authors Recording Company. Watts' debut album Black Boy Meets World, produced by Wayne, arrived seven months later as Authors' second title. The day after it was issued, Watts quit his job in retail and went on an extensive U.S. tour as Wayne's opening act. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi

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