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Danny!

Background information
Birth name Daniel Keith Swain
Born August 18, 1983 (1983-08-18) (age 26)
Killeen, Texas
Origin Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Genres Alternative hip hop
Electronica
Electro-hop
Occupations Rapper
Record producer
Years active 2004 - present
Labels Definitive Jux
Website DannySwain.com
DefinitiveJux.net

Danny!, also known as D. Swain (born August 18, 1983 in Killeen, Texas[1]), is an American rap performer and record producer from Columbia, South Carolina, a former student of the Savannah College of Art & Design[2][3] and, most recently, a recording artist for Definitive Jux Records[4]. Garnering praise—and fielding minor criticism—for being an atypical rapper relying on sampled tracks, Danny! released five self-produced studio albums, three instrumental albums and even a greatest hits[5] compilation prior to his affiliation with Def Jux. He is often seen wearing his trademark oxford shirt and pinstriped necktie, a fashion style he adopted during high school.

Danny! is most notable for his critically-acclaimed 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[6]. L.A. Weekly has called Danny! "the best new artist that Def Jux has signed"[7].

Contents

Biography

Early life (1999 - 2001)

Danny!, the only son of military parents[8], moved to Columbia, South Carolina in the late 90s. He attended Richland Northeast High School and began pursuing music as a hobby during his sophomore year[1]. Shortly after selling his first beat at age 17, Danny! began to take producing music more seriously. He started penning his own lyrics—after initially being reluctant to rap—and eventually recorded makeshift songs primarily as a showcase for his production. Early Danny! songs mimicked rapper Eminem's multi-syllabic shock lyrics[8]; Danny! has openly admitted to copying Eminem's flow early on.

Danny! performing live in Atlanta, Georgia.

College years (2001 - 2004)

After graduating from high school Danny! matriculated at Claflin University, a liberal arts college located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and enrolled in the college's fledgling "Call Me Mister" program. While at Claflin Danny! began to experiment with sampling, gradually straying from keyboard-based production. Danny! has stated that hearing a demo version of Freeway's "What We Do (Is Wrong)" for the very first time was the definitive point in which he decided to incorporate samples into his production[9].

A campus-wide grade-changing scandal[10] halted the production of Danny!'s self-produced debut album and forced him to leave Claflin University in November 2003. Danny! was accused of orchestrating a scheme in which 300+ students' grades had been altered in exchange for money, and was expelled from the university.

Career (2004 - present)

The College Kicked-Out

After spending nearly a year rebuilding his reputation and networking with local rappers back home, Danny! released his debut album, now renamed The College Kicked-Out (formerly known as The Danny Swain LP[1]), in late 2004. The record's content would become overshadowed not by Danny!'s dubious past, but by critics who panned the effort as an amateur version of Kanye West's own debut album, The College Dropout. Critics felt Danny!'s style of production at the time, which heavily utilized pitch-altered vocal samples, was far too similar to West's. Artists in the Columbia area ridiculed Danny! and refused to continue to work with him, which Danny! would allude to in much of his later work.

F.O.O.D.

In early 2005 Danny! was accepted to the Savannah College of Art & Design and relocated to Savannah, Georgia accordingly[1]; it was here that he began to work on his second project, F.O.O.D. Highly bothered by the reception to The College Kicked-Out, he spent much of F.O.O.D. verbally attacking his detractors. Otherwise decent songs on the LP were overshadowed by the out-of-place, retaliatory tracks. Nevertheless, Danny! began to develop a moderate following—albeit primarily on the internet—and fans began to praise him for his production efforts, usage of satire and, at times, humor that ranged from quirky to self-deprecating.

Breakthrough

In March 2006 Danny! officially released his third and allegedly final record Charm, a concept album in which he has credited the song "Poor Charlotte" from The Miracles' City of Angels record as his inspiration[11]. The album was notable for featuring an underlying theme of escapism, narrating the story of a musician who wants to achieve success through music and be reprieved of the day-to-day routine in his hometown. The protagonist, which is believed to be Danny! himself, dreams that he actually becomes famous and wealthy, only to realize towards the album's closing that perhaps fame wasn't meant for everybody, particularly him. The album ends with the musician awakening from his dream, only to be approached by a label executive shortly afterwards. Lauded by a variety of music critics, Charm went on to become Danny!'s biggest success and, ironically, help make the entire premise of the album come true in real life.

Promotional photo for Danny!'s second album F.O.O.D.

Charm and selected tracks from the album made their way onto the shortlist for the Grammy Awards of 2007[12], making Danny! the first hip-hop artist from South Carolina to achieve such a feat. Shortly before the Grammy recognition, Danny! quietly released an instrumental album, Dream, Interrupted, abroad. A sequel, Dream, Fulfilled, was also released overseas in April of the following year[13]. Both albums, which Danny! has jokingly referred to as "sensationalized beat tapes", are extremely rare; only a small number of copies exist stateside and are thus highly sought after in the US. Rumors of a third and final installment to complete the trilogy—Dream, Extinguished[14]—swirled for months before Danny! actually confirmed its release in the wake of And I Love H.E.R. being delayed. However, Dream, Extinguished was abruptly withdrawn the day before its release; in June 2009, more than a year-and-a-half later, the album was finally released.

Definitive Jux

Despite his success, Danny! had long insisted that he had no plans to ever release another record commercially after Charm. However, in January 2007 Danny! finally received his big break when he received a recording contract with Definitive Jux Records by proxy[15]. The record deal "forced" him out of "retirement" to record an album for the Def Jux label and release a 12" single -- to be accompanied by a music video slated for an exclusive premiere on mtvU -- with fellow Jukie Mr. Lif.

The project would be mysteriously delayed for several years before a single, titled "Just Friends"[16], was finally released by Definitive Jux in early 2009. Despite a glaring absence of promotion from the label the single managed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100[17]. In the years preceding "Just Friends"'s release, Danny! significantly increased his musical output and self-released a staggering six records in a year-and-a-half span, of which only two were actual studio albums (Danny Is Dead and And I Love H.E.R.). Danny! would continue to gain acclaim on his own merits, appearing on URB Magazine's website as part of their "Next 1000" campaign[18], as well as features from Pitchfork Media[19], Okayplayer[20], Allmusic[21], Complex Magazine, VIBE, Rolling Stone[22], Scratch Magazine, Creative Loafing, IGN[23], XXL Magazine, BBC News, Northern Express Weekly[24], Popmatters[25], The Fader, Blender, mtvU, Billboard[26], Spin, L.A. Weekly[27] and the Village Voice. The self-promotional DIY approach has since been mimicked by other underground rappers such as Mickey Factz, Kid Cudi and Charles Hamilton, albeit slightly more successfully.

To date the outspoken producer/rapper remains reclusive, reportedly working on his Definitive Jux debut album tentatively titled Where Is Danny?. In early 2009 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[28]".

Discography

Studio albums

Album Year Producer(s)
The College Kicked-Out 2004 Danny!
F.O.O.D. 2005 Danny!
Charm 2006 Danny!, Alex Goose, G. Test
And I Love H.E.R.: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 2008 Danny!, Alex Goose
Where Is Danny? 2009 Danny!, Alex Goose

Instrumental albums

Album Year Producer(s)
Dream, Interrupted 2006 Danny!
Dream, Fulfilled 2007 Danny!
Dream, Extinguished 2008 Danny!

Compilations

Album Year Producer(s)
21st Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Danny! 2007 Danny!
Behind The Beats, Vol. 1 2007 Danny!
Behind The Beats, Vol. 2 2007 Danny!

EPs

Album Year Producer(s)
Danny Is Dead 2007 Danny!

Singles

Album Year Producer(s)
"Just Friends" 2009 Danny!

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Jeffries, David (2006-03-11). "Danny!: Biography". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:fvfexqtsldke~T1. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  2. ^ "Dean's List: Hosted by Danny!". mtvU. 2007-04-08. http://www.mtvu.com/video/?id=1555883&vid=141374. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  3. ^ Stoehr, John (2007-01-28). "Local Student Wins MTV Award". Savannah Morning News. http://savannahnow.com/node/216937. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  4. ^ "Jukies: Danny!". Definitive Jux. 2007-01-28. http://www.definitivejux.net/jukies/danny. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  5. ^ "Danny!: 21st Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Danny!". MTV.com. 2007-10-11. http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/danny__underground_hip_hop_/albums.jhtml?albumId=2166736. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  6. ^ Raible, Allan (2009-01-02). "The 50 Best Albums of 2008: Nos. 25 to 1". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/Music/story?id=6556115. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  7. ^ Weiss, Jeff (2008-08-01). "The 10 Best Hip-Hop Albums Of The Half-Year". L.A. Weekly. http://blogs.laweekly.com/play/weiss/the-10-best-hiphop-albums-of-t/. Retrieved 2008-08-17. 
  8. ^ a b Jackson, Deborah (2009-03-11). "Military People: Danny Swain". Military Hub. http://www.militaryhub.com/military-people.cfm?id=29. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  9. ^ Fresh, Dee (2008-02-22). "Interview With Def Jux Artist Danny Swain (a.k.a. Danny!)". Thirty-Three Jones. http://33jones.com/artistfeatures.asp?aid=50. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  10. ^ Hughes, Megan (2003-11-14). "Claflin University Subject of Grade-Fixing Controversy". WIS News. http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=1526208&nav=0RaMJ8a1. Retrieved 2005-02-08. 
  11. ^ Suss, Ginny (2006-08-18). "Charm". Okayplayer. http://www.okayplayer.com/nowhearthis/nht_danny.html. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  12. ^ Brown, Amena (2008-03-20). "Bigger Than Buzz: Creating Your Own Mania". Performer Magazine. http://www.performermag.com/sep.cover.0803.php. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  13. ^ "Danny!: Dream, Fulfilled". Rolling Stone. 2007-01-26. http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/danny/albums/album/22271382/dream_fulfilled. Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
  14. ^ "Danny!: Dream Extinguished". MTV.com. 2008-01-20. http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/danny__underground_hip_hop_/albums.jhtml?albumId=2213570. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  15. ^ Welte, Jim (2007-01-26). "Danny Swain wins mtvU/Def Jux contest". MP3.com. http://www.mp3.com/news/stories/8375.html. Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
  16. ^ "Danny!: Just Friends 12"". Definitive Jux. 2009-03-10. http://www.definitivejux.net/store/catalog-product/US-V2X-08-057-00.html. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  17. ^ Howard, Jacinta (2009-04-28). "Don't Sleep On Danny!". Creative Loafing. http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/don_t_sleep_on_danny_/Content?oid=793782. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  18. ^ Ciotti, Corey (2007-07-12). "Next 1000: Danny Swain". URB Magazine. http://www.urb.com/promotions/next1000/profile.php?BandId=319. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  19. ^ Patrin, Nate (2007-08-02). "Danny! News". Pitchfork Media. http://pitchfork.com/artists/7079-danny/. Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  20. ^ Suss, Ginny (2007-07-17). "Danny! Is Dead!". Okayplayer. http://www.okayplayer.com/nowhearthis/nht_danny2.html. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 
  21. ^ Jeffries, David (2007-02-27). "Allmusic Spotlight Archive: Danny!". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=66:. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  22. ^ "Danny!: Discography". Rolling Stone. 2007-10-31. http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/danny3/discography. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  23. ^ Leonard, Alfred H. (2008-10-27). "Five Underground Producers You Need To Know". IGN.com. http://music.ign.com/articles/920/920668p2.html. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  24. ^ Kates, Kristi (2008-09-17). "Danny!: And I Love H.E.R. (4Play)". Northern Express Weekly. http://www.northernexpress.com/editorial/music.asp?id=3371. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  25. ^ Catania, Chris (2009-04-20). "Flavor For Your Ear, Eventually". Popmatters. http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/70881-flavor-for-your-ear-eventually-an-interview-with-danny/. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  26. ^ Purdom, Clayton (2008-06-27). "And I Love H.E.R.: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Album Review". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/album/danny/and-i-love-her-original-motion-picture-soundtrack/1100008/review. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  27. ^ Weiss, Jeff (2008-12-17). "The 25 Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2008". L.A. Weekly. http://blogs.laweekly.com/westcoastsound/weiss-25-best-hip-hop-songs-of/. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  28. ^ Coscarelli, Joseph (2009-03-26). "Lone Star State (Of Mind)". Spin. http://www.spin.com/articles/danny-lone-star-state-of-mind. Retrieved 2009-03-28. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Danny!, also known as D. Swain (born Daniel Keith Swain, August 18, 1983), is an American hip-hop performer and record producer.

Contents

Sourced

Albums

The College Kicked-Out (2004)

  • "And as the mouthpiece
    Of every single citizen without peace
    Direction and leadership
    I'ma spit it 'til your ears can't believe this shit
    We got weapons of mass destruction, and we is it"
    • "Talk To You (remix)"
  • "I wish the government would quit tappin' phones in the ghetto
    (Leave us alone) I wish my student loans were all settled
    I wish they'd quit riggin' elections, the shit is depressin'
    Bet your bottom dollar Bush wins again, no question
    I wish AIDS didn't exist
    I wish I didn't have flashbacks of my cousin slittin' his wrists
    I wish there weren't so many single mothers and deadbeat dads
    Yeah"
    • "I Wish"

F.O.O.D. (2005)

  • "You mad at the last album, I apologize for it
    Yo, I can't call it, man muh'fuckin' Wyclef spoiled it"
    • "Intro"
  • "Two roads diverged in a wood, I took the one less travelled
    I'm patient so that's one less hassle
    If I dream it, I can live it
    I've seen the light with vivid imagery
    I need to write with fits of energy
    But it's hard tryin' to get where I'm goin'
    Without a hint or an omen
    It's too late to turn around
    Perseverance, gotta learn it now
    But I'm stubborn how
    Am I supposed to survive this rollercoaster hurtlin' to the ground?"
    • "F.O.O.D."

Charm (2006)

  • "I guess it's true what they say, the third time's a charm
    I grabbed the game and let it die in my arms
    Then resurrected it
    Changed clothes, same flow, perfected it
    They know Swain though they still won't respect the kid
    But I ain't slowin' up
    This time, blowin' up
    Sponsors, concerts, everybody showin' up
    Know enough tricks of the trade to get a record deal:
    Fresh kicks, press kits, sex appeal
    Had to mail my demo out 'cause I ain't had enough bus pass
    To take the bus first class
    So frustrated, had to puff-puff-pass
    Sent my CD out to Puff, Puff passed
    Must've had enough trash on his desk this year
    Sent one to So So Def, but it fell on so so deaf ears
    I never once shed tears, this must be a test here"
    • "Charm"
  • "D. Swain ain't never dwell on shit
    So why would he start now?
    The perfect time for him to depart, vowed
    To make a name for myself
    Get some fame, maybe gain some wealth (what else?)
    I gave you the pain of a black man going through thangs
    Just being myself and showing you Swain
    Now a nigga feelin' disenchanted, jaded
    'Cause instead of gettin' props, Danny got hated
    Yeah I made it to the top, but I'm tossin' myself off
    D. Swain kill his image? Chalk it up as a loss
    Goodbye"
    • "Now You're Gone"

Danny Is Dead (2007)

  • "So one time for my disillusioned artists, I hear ya
    Two times for the kid that air-guitars in the mirror
    Three times for the 9-to-5-in' bus ridin' dudes
    And four times for my dreamers, yo I'm just like you
    That's why I sing for my queens with their own pair of wings
    My brothers flyin' beside me, drama behind me
    Mama tried to find me, she inquired emphatically
    I was in the sky with all these other ghetto kids, defying gravity, uh"
    • "Fly, Pt. 2"
  • "Tribe purist to the fullest
    If'n you ain't feelin' this track, then you're full of it
    Pull that li'l shit if you wanna, ya dig
    But you ain't gonna do me like you did those Kidz, and clown me
    Homage, comma, props
    Call it what you want, but I'm not gonna stop
    Record hit the store and I'm not gonna flop
    And if I do, well then it's fodder for the message boards tomorrow"
    • "Check It Out"

And I Love H.E.R. (2008)

  • "I, once was retired but he's sort of back
    Haven't been the same since Uncle L sneezed on a track
    (Heee-shay!) I'm 'bout to throw some D's on the 'Lac
    Sike...my guest appearances is cheese for the rats
    Pease porridge hot? Nah nigga, pease porridge black
    Please pour a batch of Singaporan tea, more than that
    Y'all gon' need some bigger cups if you fuckin' with me and Naledge
    Even college was a hustle to him, like me at Claflin
    We is laughin' at the competition deviously
    So much accomplished, Wikipedia's peeved"
    • "Guess Who's Back"
  • "But she just stood there, scared that I might snap
    I looked in her eyes and there were years of disappointment starin' right back
    And I was scared too, scared of what she would say
    But I was embarassed like I, like I sat through three Madea plays
    Before she walked away, Misery stopped
    And she said 'look at your music career, you're in the same spot'
    'Nah,' I said, 'don't even try me
    Because you used to stand beside me
    But I moved so far ahead you're ninety feet behind me'"
    • "Misery"

Interviews

  • "[Relationships] never seem to work out, I mean it gets to the point where I have to be extremely cautious. You have to understand, this stardom thing is still new to me, I don't even consider myself "famous". It's 2008: if you have a blog, a mixtape and two pairs of skinny jeans you, too, can be 'famous'."
  • "I wasn’t reluctant about it. I’ve had so many fans online and at shows ask for my old material that I was surprised. So when I had the chance to release my back catalog on iTunes it was really for the fans. I’m still surprised when a fan comes up to me and ask about F.O.O.D. I want to please those fans that have enjoyed my previous albums and I also want to be able to see the progression of my music for posterity sake."
  • "I rarely get mentioned in the same category as these other guys who have come out after me...[b]ut maybe I’m not that, maybe I’m not an Internet rapper."

External links

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