Payback (album)

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Studio album by Danny!
Released September 24, 2012 United Kingdom
September 25, 2012 United StatesCanada
October 9, 2012 JapanChina
Genre Hip hop
Length 79:51
Label Okayplayer Records
Producer Danny!
Danny! chronology
Where Is Danny?
The Book of Daniel

Payback is American rapper/producer Danny!'s seventh studio album, originally scheduled for a January 17 domestic release. Nicknamed "Project Lucky Seven" during its inception, Payback was recorded primarily during the summer of 2011 shortly after Where Is Danny?'s re-release via Interscope Records.[1] After a quiet exodus from the label Danny! subsequently signed to a rebooted Okayplayer Records, which had been on hiatus since 2004; a release date was finally slated for September 25.[2] Payback was notable not only for establishing Danny! into the mainstream—propelled by a promotional appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon alongside The Roots the week prior to the record's release[3]—but also for boasting an eclectic roster of featured artists; actress Amber Tamblyn, for example, makes a surprise cameo appearance during the epilogue of "Evil".



Danny!'s previous record, Where Is Danny?, was noted for being highly experimental and eccentric in nature, merging genres by way of Turkish psychedelic rock, Big Band arrangements, bossa nova and library music. While a courageous and critically acclaimed effort, the album was nonetheless largely ignored by mainstream media, due mostly to Danny!'s perpetual lack of a proper record deal and publicity team at the time, but also likely to the abrupt shift in musical direction for Danny!.

Shortly after Where Is Danny?'s re-release in 2011, Danny! began to compose what began as a vindictive satirical project to expose how listeners were much more interested in high-profile collaborations than music of substance. Danny! would spend the remainder of 2011 assembling a catalog of tracks originally intended for the Interscope digital download version[4] of what would become Payback.

Danny! would depart from Interscope's digital label in late 2011 and was later picked up by Questlove's recently relaunched Okayplayer Records.


Payback, narrated by Joi Gilliam, was later revamped for an official fall 2012 release, scrapping the original track listing and encompassing elements and nuances throughout the record as homage to Timbaland and Missy Elliott collaborations from the late 1990s. For example, the drum pattern from "Go That-A-Way" emulates that which can be heard on Elliott's 1997 single "Beep Me 911", while the chirping cricket, drum programming and even ad-libs from Elliott herself from Aaliyah's "One In A Million" appear on "Far Away". All tracks were produced by Danny! himself and is considered the musical bridge between Where Is Danny? and Payback's successor, the experimental The Book Of Daniel.

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


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[5]
Consequence of Sound 3.5/5 stars[6]
DJ Booth 4/5 stars[7]
HipHopDX 4/5 stars[8]
No Ripcord 6/10 stars[9]
Popmatters 8/10 stars[10]
RapReviews 9/10 stars[11]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[12]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[13]
SPIN 7/10 stars[14]

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[15] leading up to its eventual fall release. Noting the album's scarcity and constant delays at the time, Popmatters praised Danny!'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".[16]

The production on the album was unanimously acclaimed by critics; Slant Magazine deemed the beats "undeniably savvy".[17] Sites such as AllMusic and DJ Booth lauded Danny!'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 Danny! "angry"[18] on an album "[full] of gripes".[19] Danny! would later debunk the latter sentiments on his Tumblr blog track by track, dismissing the presentation of such notions as "lazy".[20] 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]

{{tracklist| extra_column = Sample(s) | music_credits = yes | title1 = Overture | note1 = featuring Chell) (Swain, Piccioni, Tanaka | music1 = Produced by Danny! | extra1 = | length1 = 3:57 | title2 = Myintrotoletuknow | note2 = Swain, Stephen Garrett, Timbaland | music2 = Produced by Danny! | extra2 = *"Amanda" by Dionne Warwick
*"Are You That Somebody" by Aaliyah.
| length2 = 6:08 | title3 = Little Black Boy | note3 = featuring Res) (Swain, Bankhead, Barnes, Johnson | music3 = Produced by Danny! | extra3 = | length3 = 3:55 | title4 = Get Up | note4 = Swain, Larrieux, Tatham | music4 = Produced by Danny! | extra4 = "Get Up" by Amel Larrieux. | length4 = 5:21 | title5 = Evil | note5 = featuring Gavin Castleton and Amber Tamblyn) (Swain, Castleton, Tamblyn, Gudmundsdottir, Sigurðsson, Stephen Garrett, Timbaland | music5 = Produced by Danny! | extra5 = *"Don't Know What to Tell Ya" by Aaliyah. | length5 = 6:21 | title6 = Even Louder | note6 = featuring Tanya Morgan and Swizz Beatz) (Swain, Callender, Freeman | music6 = Produced by Danny! | extra6 = *"Take Me to the Mardi Gras" by Bob James. | length6 = 3:36 | title7 = Phonte | note7 = featuring Phonte) (Swain, Coleman | music7 = | extra7 = Contains elements from "Paul", by Eminem. | length7 = 1:18 | title8 = Shit Starters | note8 = featuring Agallah and El-P) (Swain, Aguilar, Bush, Grayson, Meline, Minto, Prichard, Vera | music8 = Produced by Danny! | extra8 = *"Isolation" by Armored Saint
*"Sibling Rivalry" by The Simpsons.
| length8 = 4:21 | title9 = Overture Reprise | note9 = featuring Chell) (Swain, Piccioni | music9 = Produced by Danny! | extra9 = | length9 = 4:43 | title10 = Speed | note10 = Swain | music10 = Produced by Danny! | extra10 = | length10 = 3:56 | title11 = Go That-A-Way | note11 = Swain | music11 = Produced by Danny! | extra11 = | length11 = 3:16 | title12 = Misunderstood | note12 = featuring Lil B and Blu) (Swain, Gray, Barnes, McCartney, [[Missy Elliott], Timbaland | music12 = Produced by Danny! | extra12 = *"Get On the Bus" by Destiny's Child | length12 = 5:15 | title13 = I Don't Wanna Hear That Shit (remix) | note13 = featuring 'Sup Boo) (Swain, Dudley, Göttsching, Horn, Rimbert | music13 = Produced by Danny! | extra13 = | length13 = 4:34 | title14 = Do It All Over Again | note14 = featuring Questlove) (Swain | music14 = Produced by Danny! | extra14 = *"Border Line" by The Soul City Orchestra
*"C.R.E.A.M." by Wu-Tang Clan.
| length14 = 10:36 | title15 = Keep Your Head To The Sky | note15 = featuring Collette) (Swain, Hines, Harris, Lewis | music15 = Produced by Danny! | extra15 = *"Optimistic" by Sounds of Blackness. | length15 = 6:20 | title16 = Far Away | note16 = featuring Collette) (Swain, Jones, Lins, Peranzzetta | music16 = Produced by Danny! | extra16 = *"Setembro (Brazilian Wedding Song)" by Take 6. | length16 = 3:42 | title17 = Payback | note17 = featuring iLLmont) (Swain, Jones | music17 = Produced by Danny! | extra17 = *"It's a Terrible Thing to Waste Your Love" by The Masqueraders. | length17 = 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. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Allmusic review
  6. ^ Consequence of Sound review
  7. ^ DJ Booth review
  8. ^ HipHopDX review (content retracted, score retained)
  9. ^ No Ripcord review
  10. ^ Popmatters review
  11. ^ RapReviews review
  12. ^ Rolling Stone review
  13. ^ Slant review
  14. ^ SPIN review
  15. ^ "Danny!: Payback". Metacritic. 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  16. ^ Amidon, David (2012-03-16). "Danny!: Payback (review)". Popmatters. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  17. ^ Scheinman, Ted (2012-11-15). "Danny!: Payback (Review)". Slant. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  18. ^ McKenna, James (2012-10-19). "Danny!: Payback (review)". No Ripcord. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  19. ^ Dolan, Jon (2012-11-22). "Danny!: Payback Album Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  20. ^ Swain, Danny (2012-10-19). "To Say Payback Is Angry Rap Man Music...". Tumblr. Retrieved 2012-10-22.