Danny! (South Carolina’s Danny Swain) has stayed too unnoticed for too long. Last year’s Charm, his third full-length, was one of the best hip-hop releases of the year and, while you’ll be hard pressed to find a copy of it, it helped him finally sign with Def Jux. Now he’s dropping one last independent disc, the EP Danny Is Dead. While Swain has a brilliant album in him, this disc exists more to keep him active before his label debut. Even so, it still reveals not only his smooth production skills, but also his blend of intelligent cleverness and humor. He also mixes boasting with self-deprecation, worldliness with “prayer requests”, and his possible personae (“the media insists that I stay hood”) with his fluid self-image (“but I never was to begin with”). Danny Is Dead succinctly shows Swain’s art, but it lacks the amazingness of both what he’s done and what he’s likely to do.
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