Music

Meet Danny Seth, a Jewish White Boy Who Can Rap Like Hell

Music

Meet Danny Seth, a Jewish White Boy Who Can Rap Like Hell

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When asked to describe his look—the punk-lite coif, tinted round specs, elephant-print safari shirt, and two feather charms dangling from his left ear—Danny Seth is at a loss for words. “I just pick up things from everywhere and hope that I don’t look like a fuckin’ idiot,” says the 22-year-old U.K. export, whose recent EPs, Prespliffs Vol. I and Vol. II, pay tribute to the American emcees (Clipse, Lil Wayne) he grew up idolizing in London’s Watford borough. He’s also quick to address that other elephant in the room: namely, that he’s a pale, skinny, baby-faced British bloke trying to stake a claim to a primarily U.S. genre full of haters. “I’m a white Jewish boy, and where I’m from it’s not the most normal thing to be a rapper,” admits Seth. But his tracks’ self-mocking intros and videos reveal a goofy, Eminem-like humor—something that’s all but dead in contemporary hip-hop—while his Vol. II cut “Stereotypes” tackles his detractors head on. “With that song I put my balls on the table,” he says. “I’m like, Is there any reason you’re hating on me? I want people to laugh, but when it comes to the rapping, it’s serious.” Seth plans to unveil Boadicea—his line of unisex accessories, boxers, and bags—this summer, just before releasing Prespliffs Vol. 3. “I’ve been waiting for the right features and producers,” he says of the debut album he’s currently putting together. “I get sent beats from all over the world, from Chicago to fuckin’ Poland. Nowadays, 16-year-olds are shitting on 30-year-old men who’ve been doing this their whole lives.”

How would you describe your style?
I hate when people call me a hipster because that’s it. I do me. It is such a broad term. Especially from where I’m from, no one dresses like me, so it’s not ‘hipster.’ Hipster I feel is when you’re in a crowd and you’ve got to do something to be unlike all the others. Me, I’m just me from day one.

I know you work on your own line, Boadicea. And that’s going to be an accessories line, right?
I didn’t want to just make a t-shirt brand, like what everyone else does. I had this idea, I love Rolexes, even though I don’t have one yet, I wanted to do a camouflage print of Rolexes, but instead of Rolexes they’re Broalexes. So, we did a camo for the Rolexes on boxes and reversible bucket hats and shorts.

The watches are actually part of the print?
Part of the print, yeah. I wanted to start high, but money’s been tight, so we started with the boxes and bucket hat, but we’re moving to bags. Bags is the main thing we wanted to do. Our next line is camouflage of the bronze pound coins.

Let’s talk about music then. When you started you were in L.A. You were working in music publishing, right? What happened with that? Because it obviously wasn’t enough.
I interned for BMG Chrysalis. I was sitting there, sifting through music, and I was just like, ‘I’m better than this.’ I’ve been writing for about three, four years, but I really took my rapping seriously about two and a half years ago. I got taken up by a rapper in L.A., Pittsburg Slim, proper gangster. He gave me the confidence that I can do it. I was writing and recording every day and came up with the idea to make a mix tape called Tea Spliffs, and it was amazing, but I had no audience. So, I took a step back and I was like, ‘Let’s take a few minutes. I’m going to record a few EPs called Pre-Spliffs. I dropped the first volume. I was dabbling in that EDM trap thing, at the time it was hot. It got picked up by a few people, and I was like, ‘Wow. This is amazing, but, you know, I want to be known as a hip-hop artist.’ I wanted to make something for America. I just wanted to give my twist on how I’ve perceived American music.

How do you choose the beats?
For me, my main person I work with is my producer. He’s a 19-year-old wunderkind. We’ve been working together since day one. But when it comes to choosing beats, it’s gotta feel right. I want to make music that I would listen to. I have been working with someone quite big at the moment. But you’ll find out about that. He is my idol.

Are you collaborating with Pharrell?
[Laughs] Pharrell is who I was talking about. He’s become my homie. Someone who’s been trying to get me a collaborator put me on the phone with Pharrell. I nearly started crying.

Lyrics are really important to you. What do you think has been your most personal song?
I would definitely say “Stereotype,” which is on Volume Two. I put my balls on the table. I’m a white, Jewish boy, so coming from where I’m from, it’s not the most normal thing to be a rapper. I’m like, ‘Is there any reason you’re hating on me? It’s not because of my lyrics. It’s not because of the way I am. It’s because I’m white or I’m Jewish. It’s both of those things because, lyrically in that song, you can’t hate on that.’ I just want people to know it’s real. Don’t’ listen to the stereotypes. I am not your normal stereotype.

What do you think you’re bringing to the game that is missing, as far as the hip-hop scene?
As far as the hip-hop scene, I love the state that it’s in at the moment. The Internet, like I said, has blessed everyone with the opportunity to be a star. I just think, in England, there’s yet to be a rapper whose come over here and actually broken through America. I love England so much, but US hip-hop has been with me through and through. I just think that the game’s ready for a respectable white boy. As I said, visually there’s so much more to come.

What do you think has been your biggest challenge?
Not getting enough support form my hometown. I think that’s definitely hard.

Why haven’t you had support from your hometown?
Because I’m doing something that no one else has really tried to do. Everyone tries to make a respectable career for themselves in the UK and go to the US, but somehow through the Internet, 80% of my fan base is from America. They must just relate to it better.

Why do you think that is?
You know, the US is very open-minded to new things. With the UK hip-hop scene, I love it so much, but there’s so much fuckin’ beef involved with that and who’s the baddest guy, and I’m not bad. I can’t relate to that music, so I can’t make it. I just guess that the type of music I make is more suited to an American market, clearly.

What can we expect from Dvnny Seth, the first official album?
Expect me. You’re just going to find out about me, to be honest. Things that people don’t know. I just want people to keep an open mind.

What is the wildest thing you’ve done.
A story I’ve told before, I nearly died on mushrooms. That was pretty wild.

What wild thing have you not done yet that you hope to do in the next 5 to 10 years?
There’s a famous Drake lyric that I do live by. He says, ‘I’m in my living room and I’ve got Grammy’s all around me. I’m famous. Bitches doing nose candy all around me.’ So, living room full of Grammys and famous bitches doing nose candy all around me could be a fun, you know?

Photography by Frederik Lindstrøm. Styling by Sebastián Machado.

 

The Wild issue, out now at The Bullet Shop!