Interview: Danny Boy’s Pipes
Chi-Town native and Death Row Records’ son of soul and songbird to most of the notorious 1990’s west coast rap legends - r&b star Danny Boy (Danny Boy Steward) is on the come back with a new album and a dusted off collection due for release by new WIDEAwake/Death Row label. Steward, all grown and still beautiful in voice gave Dynamexx Enterprise and Hiphop.sh an exclusive on where he’s at now. From the impressionable age of 14, signed to hiphop’s most successful rap label, Danny Boy held down his teenage years as a lasting talent, outlasting Dre, Snoop, Tupac, MC Hammer and even Crooked I’s departure in recent years. He dropped his first solo recording, ‘Come When I Call’ for the Murder Was The Case soundtrack in 1994 and the following year released his first single entitled Slip N Slide. Eventually with the signing of Tupac Shakur in late 1995, Danny Boy aligned himself to the infamy of the rap megastar and hit the high notes throughout one of the greatest selling hiphop albums of all-time in All Eyes On Me for Tupac. While on Death Row imprint, Steward recorded over four albums worth of material but to no release. Now separated from his mentor Suge Knightand Tha Row label, Danny Boy comes by way of his own imprint, “Platinum Pearl” in Atlanta, Georgia. As of April, 2010 Danny Boy is readying the drop of his long awaited debut album, It’s About Time. Speaking on his upbringing within the world’s most dangerous record label, relationship with label mates, Tupac and MC Hammer, Danny Boy Steward drops the 411 on the old days, old music released from the newly owned and revamped Death Row Records and his ATL coffee shop hustle - pouring soul into every cup.
Interviewed by Damien Morgan & Rip Nicholson [April 5th, 2010]
Signed on at 14 years old with Death Row… you must have witnessed a pretty harsh upbringing in the way the label conducted a lot of business dealings, did you feel comfortable in this environment and conducive to creating music for Danny Boy?
It was more a bunch of hype than anything. The Public and the Media made more of it then it was. It was all about the music.
Being that connection from new to old… In your opinion, what really was the final demise of Tha Row and Suge Knight’s hold? Tupac’s passing, Suge’s losing label rights to Harry O?
When Suge Knight went to jail. People didn’t know anything about the music company. When ever the head is gone the body will fall.
After all these years, now, a white corporate Death Row are already priming your debut album… In hindsight, being held down for so long by Suge Knight – would you have broken away earlier to for the sake of furthering your recording career?
I was with the label until the end. Suge was good to me. I moved on to a better spot. You got to keep believing. God will make room for your gift. But you don’t have to do it for free.
The new album covers from 1994-1999, what else is new with Danny Boy?
I have a my coffee shop. “Soul Coffee and Cafe” in Chicago then another in Atlanta “My song, My soul, My coffee” is the slogan. We have a production company here in Atlanta. I’m always doing hooks for different people.
So Platinum Pearl the new label for you, are you still under contract with Death Row or is it a case of they are just releasing Danny Boy tracks of which they own the rights to?
No, I am not under contract with WIDEawake/Death Row. They are releasing albums from the vault that they purchased and asked me to come on and be apart of this release. I want to thank WIDEawake for resurrecting Death Row. It is a great business venture for myself. There’s great music in that vault. I’m glad someone is willing to give that music a new shot. It’s a new situation. I’m trying to see how it goes. I’ve been through the slammer so I feel it will be a much better time than before.
Tupac took you under his wing through his final year under Death Row – you became the soul to his hiphop. Was there a bond you shared with him over anyone else affiliated with Death Row?
Pac was my friend. He was my teacher. He was my brother. I learned a lot from him. I miss him.
One of the more final moves Suge made for the label was adding MC Hammer to the line up in ‘95… How was that chemistry within the label?
Hammerwould mentor us. He was a part of the brother system with us. He was a teacher. He did a good job.
What else do you see yourself doing apart from music in the future?
I have a my coffee shop “Soul Coffee and Cafe” in Chicago then another in Atlanta. “My song, My soul, My coffee”, is the slogan. We have a production company here in Atlanta, and I want to act. There ‘s a lot in the works.