Saturday, June 28, 2008

Danny! - And I Love H.E.R. - @@@@ 1/2

While most acts leave their career’s fate in the hands of others, (producers they’ll work with, management, label reps, etc.) the idea of a completely self-contained solo act within Hip-Hop has primarily gone unexplored. For the past few years South Carolina’s Danny! has impressively juggled the creative process of making music with business logistics on his own, going everywhere from The Grammys to receiving major press on the strength of sheer work ethic and drive. While legend has it D Swain was ready to quit Hip-Hop after 2006’s critically acclaimed Charm, the album scored him a EP deal with underground powerhouse Definitive Jux, and after returning to form with last year’s Danny Is Dead he is back with his fourth full-length LP, the conceptual piece And I Love H.E.R.

Danny is to be heralded for shirking all convention and sticking to his figurative guns, making the music that sounds good to him in hopes that traditionalists latch on. And I Love H.E.R. doubles as the soundtrack to what could be considered a boy meets girl a love story and the tale of an artist’s ups and downs trying to etch a path in an industry plagued by fickle fans, questionable politics, and media driven by popular style over actual substance. Danny’s work remains a bastion of creativity as he manages to convey the full range of human feeling from frustration on the album’s intro (Snippet) to going lighthearted on “The Groove” (Snippet) and expressing self-determination on the thematic “Never Change” (Snippet). While always mindful of maintaining a strong lyrical acumen, Danny covers all bases of Hip-Hop artistry from an advanced flow on “At What Price” (Snippet) to boom-bap on “Yoko Ono” (Snippet) and the introspective “Misery” (Snippet), clearly demonstrating he has mastered the aesthetics of our culture.

In a climate where the most successful artists cash in on the radio’s trends and casual listeners follow in tow, Danny’s brave endeavors find him footing the road less traveled. He has grown to be a symbol of quality work that comes from talent, passion and dedication to one’s craft, as And I Love H.E.R. is sure to resonate strongly with the everyday person using a discerning ear that has honed an affinity for Hip-Hop of the highest caliber.

Purchase And I Love H.E.R.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Critically Acclaimed Albums I'm Just Now Hearing Part 4

Souls Of Mischief - 93 'Til Infinity

In retrospect this album is really dated on the tip of production and rhymes. I'm not exactly willing to place it in the perspective of a time capsule either because Midnight Marauders and 36 Chambers dropped this year and still sound fresh. Maybe I'm biased against the West, the title track is forever golden though.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Critically Acclaimed Albums I'm Just Now Hearing Part 3

Royal Flush - Ghetto Millionaire

I really have no excuse for never hearing this album, and I'm actually embarrassed now that I have. When it came out I was stuck between Bad Boy/Jay-Z/Capone & Noreaga/Camp Lo/Wu-Tang/Mobb Deep and it slipped under my radar. I was up on "Movin’ On Your Weak Productions", "Iced Out Medallions" and "Worldwide" when they were getting big spin in New York, but that was the extent of my interest. I'm guessing he hails from somewhere around Queensbridge as he speaks the dunn language and sounds like descendant a cousin of Capone.

The album has slight missteps like "Cant Help It" which is doubly cheesy between the jacking the Force MDs "Love Is A House" for the beat and the Michael Jackson interpolation of the song's title on the hook, but there are timeless gems from the likes of Sha Money XL, Hi-Tek, and EZ Elpee.

Critically Acclaimed Albums I'm Just Now Hearing Part 2

Deltron 3030

West coast veteran Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, producer extraordinaire Dan The Automator and DJ Kid Koala teamed forces for this concept album of sorts, placing Del 1022 years from today.

Heard all about it, slept hard thinking it was too weird for me but it turned about to be pretty damn good.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Critically Acclaimed Albums I'm Just Now Hearing Part 1

Playa - Cheers 2 U

I never would have checked for this, until a colleague of mine brought it back up. One of those albums everyone was crazy about, Timbaland did a bulk if not all of the production (the minimal flaw being it reminded me of what he did with Aaliyah and Ginuwine), at first I settled on it being cool music if you just had female company but songs like "Top Of The World", and "One Man Woman" made me decide to keep this for future listens.