Freshly signed to indie rap powerhouse Def Jux and eager to record, producer/MC Danny! self-released an EP, Danny Is Dead, to pass the time. What resulted from this is a stronger-sounding rapper, surer in his flow and rhymes, able to portray his personality confidently, but in a good-natured, not arrogant, way: in short, someone who is most definitely ready for a Def Jux debut. Beat-wise, Danny Is Dead (the title based on the De La Soul album) is much like his other releases, sampling soul and R&B tracks and with constant, but not heavy, drums, from the quick, bouncy "Rhyme Writer Crime Fighter" to the Tribe-inspired (rather, reinterpreted) "Check It Out" ("Now you caught my heart for the evening/Kiss my check, moved in, you confused things," he says in the hook, making sure to give credit to his influences, both Q-Tip and Dilla). But Danny!'s got his own style, too, a kind of melodic, triplet-driven delivery (and much smoother and quicker than Kanye West, to whom he is sometimes compared), heard best in the very witty, very smart "Press Conference," in which the MC plays all the parts, rhyming the answers with the questions to address what he's been going through lately (getting signed to Def Jux after other deals fell through, receiving an invitation to the Grammys, wondering if he'll ever get the recognition he thinks he deserves). It's short, clocking in at exactly 30 minutes, but it's solid and fun; there's no filler here. Despite the title, Danny Is Dead is definitely a good sign of things to come.
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AllMusic Review by Marisa Brown