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Album Review

The third, and allegedly final, record in the young MC's career, Charm finds Danny! at his most adventurous, and probably at his most mature. It's hailed as a concept album that traces the rise and (probable) fall of an artist who found overnight success, and though this isn't incorrect, Charm's really more of a frame story, a dream bookended by the reality of trying to work and support a family while pursuing a musical career. Though Danny!'s rhymes aren't always profound — many of them deal with the sexual benefits afforded to a superstar, and are pretty standard — he still does a good job of achieving that objective. He explores quotidian struggles of a struggling artist, but he also presents the different sides of fame, from its seductions ("Temptation") and perks ("Can't Wait") to its pressures ("My Problem") and its effects on relationships ("What Now") and artistic integrity ("Lip Flappin"). Danny! has an easy way of rapping that he sticks to throughout the album (though occasionally he does switch up his delivery, on "It's Okay," for example), almost like he's talking or telling a story, which aids in conveying the sense that Charm is a snapshot of sorts into the life of a musician, his personal musings, and reflections on his own life. Production-wise, Danny! has never sounded better, now able to move away from the short four-bar phrases that dominated his previous albums into beats that are much more complex. While lyrically "Where Were You" has a predictable ending that seems fairly contrived, it has a fantastic musical backdrop that works to emphasize the sadness of the song. Background voices sing in a bittersweet descent as a slow bass echoes the pain of the described loss, a forlorn trumpet entering to highlight the shock and despair. Yes, it's affected, and perhaps it's a bit overdone, but it's stirring nonetheless and shows off Danny!'s talents in the studio. And as the album ends with the (post-dream) approach from a record label, it's hard to believe that though there's no conclusion, Charm will actually be Danny!'s last. He's set himself up for a sequel, and if he continues improving as much as he has, it could be a pretty good thing.


Born: 18 August 1983 in Killeen, TX

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

While South Carolina producer/MC Danny! declares himself "A Tribe Called Quest on acid, or EPMD on LSD," he's much more complex than that. Born to military parents in the summer of 1983, Danny Swain never had enough time to grow roots in any particular area. With his family crisscrossing the country, the scenery was always changing and so were Swain's friends. The only long-term relationship he was able to maintain was the one he had with music. His mother supported her son's interests, buying him...
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Charm, Danny!
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