Review: Danny! – And I Love HER

And I Love HER
4.5 Stars

It’s a damn shame that Danny Swain isn’t more known in the music industry. While some acts, even those who aren’t even signed to labels, generate massive Internet hype, Swain, who is signed to the venerable Def Jux can’t even get his label to return his phone calls.

But its all good. Swain has resorted to what he does best: producing, writing, packaging, and distributing this records by himself. And like his last CD that I reviewed here two years ago, this D.I.Y. approach can hold its own with any major label CD on the market this year. (And no, I’m not biased, this is my honest opinion.)

And I Love H.E.R. is a concept album, and that concept is one that most guys know all to well–our frustrations with women. But of course, there is a duality to all this: the “woman” is hip-hop. As a dude who hasn’t gotten the ink that he deserves in the hip-hop industry, the frustration is well deserved.

Danny Swain – I Want Her (Snippet)

What strikes you first about this album is its production. Headed by the 24 year-old Danny and ATL producer Alex Goose, the sound leans very heavily on 60s era jazz samples and skirts into the Motown sound. Sure, the cover and the title pay homage to the Beatles, but the sound stays fresh and modern. Even if tracks like “The Groove,” “I Don’t Know”, and “After the Love Has Gone” have some 60’s cheekiness, it’s handled with in a way that’s tasteful and not annoying (Think “Hey Ya, not “Rehab”), and songs like “At What Price,” having an ending which I can only describe as amazing.

Danny Swain – At What Price (Snippet)

As a producer, Danny has a knack for putting a fresh spin on the tired hip-hop “backpacker” vein with production that emulates the jazz-centric “golden era” of hip-hop but dosen’t imitate it. Tracks like “Not The One,” “Wanderland,” “Do You,” and “Never Change,” have song of the year status on my iPod and the thump of “Yoko Ono,” can put almost any street song to shame. In fact, why doesn’t Danny have a production deal?

Danny Swain – Wanderland (Snippet)

As for the lyrical side, Swain brings fire as always with a nonchalant flow that never tries too hard. From his lyrics to the liner notes (mastered at Roscoe Mastering and Waffles?) Swain never seems takes himself too seriously, which is a rareity in hip-hop. Of course many people compare him to Kanye West (which apparently he’s still salty about–he mentions it about 4 times on the album), but Swain leaves the egotistical nonsense at home. Tanya Morgan’s Che Grand and Naledge from Kidz In Da Hall are recruited for the ride.

Danny Swain – Where You Goin’ (Snippet)

The Verdict: “And I Love HER” ain’t your typical rap CD, and that’s a good thing. Solid production. Solid rhymes, and an a refreshing atmosphere that is neither backapcker nor hood makes this album a must buy for 2008. Seriously.

Buy And I Love HER from CD Baby