Don’t sleep on Danny!

The Atlanta-based MC is something like a phenomenon

He’s dropped 10 albums, including three instrumentals and a Best Of — just to “be funny,” says the MC. He’s been on the shortlist for the Grammys, charted on Billboard, retired, and inevitably returned.

Yet, South Carolina-reared, Atlanta-based MC/producer Danny Swain, aka Danny!, still considers his upcoming show opening for rap phenom Drake on May 2 as his “official coming-out party.”
When Danny! emerged in 2004 with his debut, The College Kicked-Out, after being expelled from Claflin University following an alleged cheating scandal, he didn’t expect his career to move so slowly. His above-average, sample-heavy production and sometimes self-deprecating lyrics should’ve landed him on every blogger’s hit list with the cyber rappers of the day. It didn’t.

Even though he signed to Definitive Jux in early 2007 — a deal spawned by his most critically acclaimed album to date, 2006’s Charm — Danny’s music isn’t the subject of heated Twitter debates. That’s partly because the label he half-jokingly refers to as “the plantation” still hasn’t released his album; and partly because he’s refused to release a slew of mixtapes like his MP3-slinging peers.

“I rarely get mentioned in the same category as these other guys who have come out after me,” says Danny!, who has released five albums on his own since being signed. “But maybe I’m not that, maybe I’m not an Internet rapper.”
It could work to his advantage. He’s equipped with a viable back catalog that new fans can readily discover, plus his yet-to-be-titled debut on Def Jux is finally scheduled to drop in July, aided by the Billboard-charting single “Just Friends.”

But he’s still searching for validation. “It’s frustrating knowing that your stuff is up to par but not getting that feedback that you think it needs,” he says. “But it keeps you going.”