Danny! – Where Is Danny?
Definitive Jux: 2010
The hype has come and gone. Countless delays made it unclear whether or not we would ever get our hands on a new Danny! release. But finally, out of the blue, we are graced with Where Is Danny? Weighing in at a hefty 26 tracks (coinciding with his 26th birthday), this Def Jux production contains absolutely no filler. Brushing up on the few missteps from previous releases like Charm and And I Love H.E.R., Mr. Swain comes correct with a flawless masterpiece. Filled with hilarious skits, miraculous production and witty wordplay, this is exactly what hip-hop has been looking for.
Jumping right in, “Man, Motherfuck An Intro” sets the tone for a creative classic that will hang in the same vein as Madvillainy. That’s right, I said it. Obscurity is an understatement when it comes to this album, especially Danny’s raps. On tracks like “Where Is Danny?” and “George Wendt”, D.Swain finds himself dancing with Ted Danson on one line, and having illegitimate kids with Ashley Olson the next. But this comical approach allows us to laugh at some rather serious subjects in today’s popular culture. And for you backpackers looking for underground hip-hop references, he has that too. Shouting out misfits like Charles Hamilton and Asher Roth, Danny has no problem saying it like it is.
One minor issue I had with Danny prior to Where Is Danny?, was his overall flow and delivery. Although his voice isn’t as commanding as one would hope, he has made drastic improvement in the art of spitting. This progression is most evident on songs like “Manic! At The Disco” and “Tattered Fedora Flow”, where he takes rapid fire shots, filled with endless wit and jest. Although Danny is by no means a microphone mangler, he holds his own and makes it work.
But not without a little help from his friends. Well, only three to be exact, but all worth mentioning nonetheless. Starting with “Hoedown Showdown”, Von Pea (Tanya Morgan) and Danny go back and forth with the wackiest of lyrical banter, over a grim backdrop. Moving on, the Lessondary’s Che Grand comes through on “Off The Hook” to pull some antics regarding phone etiquette. And last but certainly not least, “Theme Music To A Killing Spree” gives us a double dose of Danny. He and Danny Brown kick it old school, tossing relentless raps to one another for two minutes straight.
And we can’t go a minute longer without mentioning the production that allows Danny to spit such whimsical words. Alex Goose (Blueprint 3 Outtakes fame), handles the entirety of the beats on Where Is Danny?, flaunting brilliant sample flips and crisp drum patterns. We can start with “This Is Your Life (In West Watch-A-Ka-Tella)”, 5 minutes of instrumental bliss, followed by 45 seconds of applause. Or maybe “Turn Me Up”, allowing Alex to exemplify his prowess on the breaks as Danny chants, well, “turn me up.” I could go on and on about these beats, but to make it easy for you, Goose does no wrong.
So checks in both the lyrical and production department, but what about cohesion? Check. Both the sequencing and transitions of this project were spot on. I am usually a tad wary of skits on hip-hop albums, they tend to go overboard and take away from the project. Fortunately, Danny has become a skit wizard, gracing us with unprecedented comedy.
So Where Is Danny? Turns out he has been here all along, delivering by far his best work to date.
4.5 out of 5
Note – We realize this album leaked to the web nearly a year ago. But we have been informed that it just recently hit iTunes. Seeing how we never ran this review, we felt it was fitting to finally post it now.