Payback (album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 25, 2012
GenreHip hop
LabelOkayplayer Records
Danny! chronology
Where Is Danny?
The Book of Daniel

Payback is the seventh studio album of American rapper/producer Danny Swain, released under the name Danny!. The album was recorded primarily during the summer of 2011 shortly after Where Is Danny?'s re-release via Interscope Records.[1] After leaving Interscope, Swain subsequently signed to Okayplayer Records, and the album was released in late September 2012.[2]

Payback was promoted by an appearance by Swain on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon alongside the Roots one week prior to the record's release.[3] The album includes featured performances by various recording artists, and one by actress Amber Tamblyn.[4]



Shortly after Swain's previous album Where Is Danny? was re-released in 2011, Swain began to compose a satirical project to expose how listeners were more interested in music by high-profile names than in music of substance. Swain spent the remainder of 2011 assembling tracks intended for a digital download album to be released through Interscope.[5] Swain left Interscope's digital label in late 2011 and was later picked up by Questlove's relaunched Okayplayer Records. Payback was largely ready by January 2012.[6]


Payback, narrated by Joi Gilliam, was revamped for release on September 25, 2012. All tracks were produced by Swain.

One week prior to the album's release, Swain performed "Evil" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with the Roots as his backing band.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[7]
Consequence of Sound3.5/5 stars[8]
DJ Booth4/5 stars[9]
HipHopDX4/5 stars[10]
No Ripcord6/10 stars[11]
Popmatters8/10 stars[12]
RapReviews9/10 stars[13]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[14]
Slant Magazine4/5 stars[15]
SPIN7/10 stars[16]

Payback initially received mostly favorable reviews after being delivered to the press at the top of 2012, ultimately earning a 76% rating from review aggregator Metacritic[17] leading up to its eventual fall release. Noting the album's scarcity and constant delays at the time, Popmatters praised Swain's candor as well as the cultural references scattered throughout the album, wondering "how much of the album’s more subversive elements could slip between the cracks at a time when the market behaves as though there’s simply no time or need for inspective ears".[18]

The production on the album was unanimously acclaimed by critics; Slant Magazine deemed the beats "undeniably savvy".[19] Sites such as AllMusic and DJ Booth lauded Swain's emotional purging throughout the record, with both likening Payback to an on-wax "catharsis", while others such as Rolling Stone and No Ripcord chided him for the very same thing, calling Swain "angry"[20] on an album "[full] of gripes".[21] Swain would later debunk the latter sentiments on his Tumblr blog track by track, dismissing the presentation of such notions as "lazy".[22] Swain recanted this stance on his subsequent album, The Book Of Daniel, acknowledging that Payback was "cartoonishly entitled" and conceived during a "very, very dark time in [his] life".

Track listing[edit]

1."Overture" (featuring Chell) (Swain, Piccioni, Tanaka)Produced by Danny! 3:57
2."Myintrotoletuknow" (Swain)Produced by Danny!*"Amanda" by Dionne Warwick
*"Are You That Somebody" by Aaliyah.
3."Little Black Boy" (featuring Res) (Swain, Bankhead, Barnes, Johnson)Produced by Danny! 3:55
4."Get Up" (Swain, Larrieux, Tatham)Produced by Danny!"Get Up" by Amel Larrieux.5:21
5."Evil" (featuring Gavin Castleton and Amber Tamblyn) (Swain, Castleton, Tamblyn, Gudmundsdottir, Sigurðsson)Produced by Danny!*"Don't Know What to Tell Ya" by Aaliyah.6:21
6."Even Louder" (featuring Tanya Morgan and Swizz Beatz) (Swain, Callender, Freeman)Produced by Danny!*"Take Me to the Mardi Gras" by Bob James.3:36
7."Phonte" (featuring Phonte) (Swain, Coleman) Contains elements from "Paul", by Eminem.1:18
8."Shit Starters" (featuring Agallah and El-P) (Swain, Aguilar, Bush, Grayson, Meline, Minto, Prichard, Vera)Produced by Danny!*"Isolation" by Armored Saint
*"Sibling Rivalry" by The Simpsons.
9."Overture Reprise" (featuring Chell) (Swain, Piccioni)Produced by Danny! 4:43
10."Speed" (Swain)Produced by Danny! 3:56
11."Go That-A-Way" (Swain)Produced by Danny! 3:16
12."Misunderstood" (featuring Lil B and Blu) (Swain, Gray, Barnes, McCartney, Mosely)Produced by Danny!*"Get On the Bus" by Destiny's Child5:15
13."I Don't Wanna Hear That Shit (remix)" (featuring 'Sup Boo (Swain, Dudley, Göttsching, Horn, Rimbert)Produced by Danny! 4:34
14."Do It All Over Again" (featuring Questlove) (Swain)Produced by Danny!*"Border Line" by The Soul City Orchestra
*"C.R.E.A.M." by Wu-Tang Clan.
15."Keep Your Head To The Sky" (featuring Collette) (Swain, Hines, Harris, Lewis)Produced by Danny!*"Optimistic" by Sounds of Blackness.6:20
16."Far Away" (featuring Collette) (Swain, Jones, Lins, Peranzzetta)Produced by Danny!*"Setembro (Brazilian Wedding Song)" by Take 6.3:42
17."Payback" (featuring iLLmont) (Swain, Jones)Produced by Danny!*"It's a Terrible Thing to Waste Your Love" by The Masqueraders.4:04


  1. ^ "Where Is Danny? - Danny!". iTunes. 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  2. ^ Sanchez, Erika (2012-08-28). "Exclusive: ?uestlove Announces Okayplayer Records Re-Launch, New Albums By Danny!, Young Guru". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  3. ^ Blotnick, Emmy (2012-09-20). "Exclusive: Danny! Performs "Evil"". NBC. Archived from the original on November 27, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Loss-Eaton, Nicholas (2010-11-12). "Discovering New Music Artists in the Digital Age: Interscope Digital Distribution Reaches Beyond DIY". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Allmusic review
  8. ^ Consequence of Sound review
  9. ^ "DJ Booth review". Archived from the original on 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
  10. ^ HipHopDX review (content retracted, score retained)
  11. ^ No Ripcord review
  12. ^ Popmatters review
  13. ^ RapReviews review
  14. ^ Rolling Stone review
  15. ^ Slant review
  16. ^ SPIN review
  17. ^ "Danny!: Payback". Metacritic. 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
  18. ^ Amidon, David (2012-03-16). "Danny!: Payback (review)". Popmatters. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  19. ^ Scheinman, Ted (2012-11-15). "Danny!: Payback (Review)". Slant. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  20. ^ McKenna, James (2012-10-19). "Danny!: Payback (review)". No Ripcord. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  21. ^ Dolan, Jon (2012-11-22). "Danny!: Payback Album Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  22. ^ Swain, Danny (2012-10-19). "To Say Payback Is Angry Rap Man Music..." Tumblr. Archived from the original on 2012-12-25. Retrieved 2012-10-22.