Gig Seeker Pro


Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"'Where Is Danny' (review)"

(3.5 out of 5 stars) On Danny!'s Def Jux debut -- which will, with the label's prompt shuttering after its release, also serve as his Def Jux bow -- the South Carolina emcee indulges all of his trademarks. There is the endless myopia, the oscillating self-aggrandizement and self-doubt, the 1950s chintz, the rap in-joking. And as Danny well knows, this all works with a certain, regular degree of aplomb: he is a direct and enthusiastic emcee and surrounds himself with only more of himself, and raps only about himself, comfortable as can be. It's unfortunate that he took this high-profile turn, though, to rest on his laurels, because Where Is Danny? is the least interesting record in his oeuvre. He's at his best here with friends like Von Pea and Che Grand, who force him to play nice and shift his flow to accommodate new ideas. A tight sell-out record full of tracks like these could've been a thrilling step forward for him, but as is, the record plays like the lowest common denominator of all his independent work. No one is benefitting from a five-minute theme-song instrumental like "This Is Your Life," pinned smack in the middle of these 26 tracks, and while the record picks up thereafter and remains decidedly palatable, the new listener is left unimpressed and the old listener bemoans the missed opportunity. - AllMusic

"'And I Love H.E.R.' (review)"

(7.3 out of 10) Making a hip-hop concept record in which the unifying referents are the Beatles and Common's "I Used to Love H.E.R." sounds like a recipe for stodgy, safe-as-milk canonical hell, and those aren't the only strikes against South Carolina rapper-producer and recent Def Jux signee Daniel Swain. The young man who performs as Danny! has already spent much of his brief career simultaneously cleaving towards and sternly rebuffing a musical and image-based resemblance to Kanye West, who, by the way, himself recently released a song that borrowed Common's gimmick of describing a relationship with an impersonal thing (in West's case, Chicago) through the metaphor of a romantic dalliance-- a song, no less, that Swain actually freaking quotes on his new album, And I Love H.E.R.

For the record, Swain is far better described as a less-righteous Lupe Fiasco than any kind of Kanye clone, and surprisingly And I Love H.E.R. is an engaging, thoroughly promising album regardless of its dubious origins. Yes, a great many of these songs can be heard as veiled presentations of Swain's complex feelings towards hip-hop, but for the most part you can also take them on their face and still be no less rewarded (and quite possibly more enriched). A thousand words could be spent on pondering why some of rap's most honest and affecting odes directed at a feminine Other have actually been personifications not at all concerned with flesh-and-blood women, but Swain may be able to have it both ways here. If you read the successive tracks "I Want H.E.R. (She's So Heavy)" and "At What Price" as genuine meditations on the rosy and sour sides of love, they're truly satisfying, avoiding assholishness, and perhaps more importantly, avoiding self-congratulation for avoiding assholishness. Temporarily letting down even the pretense of his conceptual guard, Swain hones in on the source of much of his generation's gendered antipathy, dedicating "Do You" to portraying how the roots of misogyny are planted in unstable homes.

Swain seems eminently capable of empathy, but most of his time is spent chewing on deeply personal concerns, with the result being that the record can feel a bit hermetic at times. Lucky for him, then, that his personality is sufficiently engaging and his music sufficiently buoyant that we don't mind following him down his private rabbit holes, especially not when he flashes such consistent cleverness, boasting that "No one's effin' with me on this Guitar Hero shit," taking a jab at Tyler Perry's Madea plays, and dropping references to Flickr, Theo Huxtable, and Colin Quinn. While Swain's grappling with the pressures and pitfalls of hip-hop may occasionally grow tendentious, he doesn't allow grouchiness or self-excoriation to seep into his music either. In fact, the beats on And I Love H.E.R. offer a fascinating counterpoint to his navel-gazing, being almost uniformly generous, breezy, and life-affirming. Of course, were the lush strings of "Intro" or warm horns of "Guess Who's Back" paired with equally insouciant lyrics, the effect might trend towards the too-relaxed province of a thousand blithe Golden Age revivalists, so it's a blessing that Swain does almost always remember to undercut his symphonic settings with serious ruminations or sardonic wit, skewering the sunny "Hey Ya" lilt of "The Groove" with a mid-song mocking interpolation of "Crank That (Soulja Boy)".

Still, the shopworn agonizing over hip-hop's strictures and shortcomings you can read in "Where You Goin'" and "After the Love Has Gone" do represent a sore worried too insistently. The brightest hope for Swain's future lies in him finding a way to channel his internal wrestling into the stuff of wider resonance, which is exactly what makes the drum-laden "Wanderland" the album's most compelling moment. Swain offers vignettes of a 37 year-old, eternally aspiring emcee tired of "seeing the same 112 fans on MySpace" and an archetypal starry-eyed girl who goes to California to pursue singing dreams but ends up duped and "on the pole." But these characters aren't just cautionary tales to Swain, they're kindred spirits, and recounting their struggles pushes him to ponder, "I fear I'm headed down the same path sometimes/ Worried if my dreams of hittin' big are asinine." - Pitchfork

"'And I Love H.E.R.' (review)"

(4 out of 5 stars) It's fitting that, on an album which mutates hip-hop in jokes into lush, solipsistic psychedelia, one of the first lines is a self-serving Def Jux diss. As a production showcase, And I Love H.E.R. may just be the diametric opposite of El-P's sound: fleet and uptempo drums where El-P's lumber murkily, samples pluming like silk here where El-P's stab, whine, and thud. That he casts such lofty contrasts, of course, is Danny Swain's entire intent. As often as his rhymes dip into melancholic self-doubt throughout the record, these starbursts of dusty violins and mariachi horns are the expression of an artist in complete control. Hence these manic flights of artistic whimsy: the Guitar Hero solo on "The Groove," the knowing, indulgent lifts from OutKast and A Tribe Called Quest on "I Want H.E.R. (She's So Heavy)," the audacious syncopation of "Do You." Spaced over 17 tracks and 70 minutes, it's a rich listen, demanding headphones but rewarding the investment. In this regard, it's a release that draws as much from post-millennial Chicago rap (probably the closest scene to which we might peg oddball South Carolinian Danny!) as it does Prince Paul's finest mid-'90s output. - Billboard


"Payback", 2012
"Where Is Danny?", 2011
"And I Love H.E.R.: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack", 2008
"Danny Is Dead", 2007
"Charm", 2006
"F.O.O.D.", 2005
"The College Kicked-Out", 2004



Daniel Swain, better known by his stage name Danny!, is an American rap performer and record producer from Columbia, South Carolina.

Danny! was born in Killeen, Texas and is a former student of the Savannah College of Art & Design. Danny! released six self-produced studio albums, three instrumental albums and a greatest hits compilation prior to, and during, his brief affiliation with Definitive Jux Records. He often wears an oxford shirt and pinstriped necktie, and has gained notoriety for prank-calling celebrities.

Danny! is most notable for his self-released albums "Charm" and "And I Love H.E.R.", the latter named by ABC News as one of the best 50 albums of 2008. 2011's "Where Is Danny?", despite internet leakage that hindered sales, has received acclaim for its cartoonish lyrical content and "lo-fi" production; in press coverage prior to its release SPIN revealed that the record would be less of a departure from Danny!'s musical direction but more of a return to original form, sounding "[as] over-the-top as 'The Slim Shady LP' a decade ago".

Shortly following the proclamation by The Roots drummer Questlove that there was strong interest from Jay-Z, Danny! was subsequently signed as the flagship artist to Questlove's re-launched Okayplayer Records after years of being loosely affiliated with the company. In support of the new venture Danny! made his television debut on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon in September 2012, premiering his song "Evil" alongside The Roots.

(Source: Wikipedia)