Danny Boy: Life After Death Row

The flamboyance and bravado of Suge Knight, the co-founder and former CEO of Death Row Records caused a great deal of controversy in the early 90’s. Knight and his entourage of cronies were often spotted in their trademark blood red attire, partying and living the good life.   After all, the label’s marquee artists were […]

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The flamboyance

and bravado of Suge Knight, the co-founder and former CEO of Death Row Records caused

a great deal of controversy in the early 90’s. Knight and his entourage of

cronies were often spotted in their trademark blood red attire, partying and

living the good life.


After all, the

label’s marquee artists were ruling the airwaves and Billboard charts while taking

“gangsta rap” to all new mainstream heights. Times were

good for the label until the violent inclinations of its

CEO began to make more news headlines than its artist.


Signed to the

label at the age of 15, Danny Boy witnessed first hand the miraculous rise of the

West Coast based label and its ultimate demise. This is the former Death Row

signee’s first exclusive interview since leaving the label. Danny Boy talks

about his admiration for

2Pac, the death of Pac’s in-house producer Johnny J , the legal struggles he’s

endured with Afeni Shakur and also, why he would never record for Suge Knight,

ever again.



AllHipHop.com: Many people do not know

you were signed to Death Row at the age of 15, how did that come about?


Danny Boy: I was with an independent

label out of Chicago that was shopping for a deal.  There were several record companies interested such as

Warner Brothers, Motown and Scotty Bros, which is owned by the Whispers.  Interscope beat us out for a group that

signed over there. Then my boy walked in the room and told Suge about the meeting,

Suge heard me sing and wanted to know if he could sign me.



AllHipHop.com: So, there is no truth to

the rumors you are Suge’s nephew?


Danny Boy: No, Suge

adopted me. In California, you cannot be signed to a record label at my age

without the signature of a guardian. My mother was ill and my father was in his

60’s and did not want to relocate to California, in his words, “for some damn

music.”  Nevertheless, Suge just

made the move and made it possible for me to able to stay in California and

work under their strenuous recording contract laws. Therefore, he adopted me.

AllHipHop.com: There is no denying the

facts; Suge has been instrumental in catapulting the careers of Snoop, Tupac,

Dr.Dre and you, among others. However, you seem to be the only one who has not

come out publically to discredit his business practices or ethics. Why is that?


Danny Boy: In the beginning, we were that label no one could beat.

We had records out that everybody knew; Death Row was a household name in terms

of music. There were artists signed over there such as myself, that never had a

record out, no one knew and I was living just as well as any artist who was out

during that time. I must say at that time he took care of his peoples. He made

sure we were all right as artists; we looked like artists and were treated like

artists. One thing I respect again at that time, Death Row was one of the

biggest record labels around as far as Hip-Hop is concerned. I feel he was

trying to break into the R&B thing, but did not know enough about it. What

I do regret, is trusting Suge too much. I have grown

from the things I learned, from the places I been with him.


AllHipHop.com: So there was no loyalty

to his artists?


Danny Boy: I do not think he ever had

loyalty for any of his artist. I think he was manipulative and he did what he

wanted to do. If he liked you at that time, he treated you as such.


AllHipHop.com: Hip-Hop has been rocked

with another sudden loss with the passing of producer, Johnny J. You personally

recorded with him. How did you hear about his death and what was the brother



Danny Boy: I heard about it on MySpace.

I am always on MySpace checking my messages and someone had hit me with a

message and had a banner saying rest in peace Johnny J so I clicked on it and

his picture came up with the R.I.P. and the next morning my phone was just

ringing off the hook.


Regardless of

what producer was in the studio working on Pac’s album, Johnny J was a producer

2Pac took into his own heart as a friend, so he was always around and was

instrumental in making the All Eyez On Me album. 

I’ve had a chance personally to record songs with Johnny J. Just a great

producer, great producer, very energetic, we always had a joke like, “Dude

don’t ever get sleep.” Johnny J was just a great talent man, innocent brother.  You know, another innocent brother just

gone for no reason.




AllHipHop.com: If you had one fond

memory of Johnny J, what would it be?


Danny Boy: In the studio when they were

recording one of those dissing records, I think  Pac was doing one of his Bad

Boy disses… yeah it I think it was “Hit Em Up he was

having his little fun in the studio. He would say “Junior Mafia we gonna get you muthaf**kas” or something like that and it was a real rowdy time

and Death Row was so close.  You

know the artists – well I shouldn’t say the artists but whatever side

they were on, they were real close. 

You know, the blue side or the red side… Snoop and Suge’s people you

know they were so close man and you know we always had good times just in the

studio because that was where we lived everyday. You know you couldn’t catch us

in the streets, we didn’t party in the streets, we didn’t party in the clubs,

we partied in the studio, we did things together. 


AllHipHop.com: What was the feeling

like when the songs were just coming out and the videos were blowing up…where

were you in life then?


Danny Boy: At that time

I was recording my record from my forthcoming album with Death Row and that was

the A studio in Cam-AM studios in Tarzana, California. I am in the A

studio and Pac was in the B studio and you could just… Pac would just come

running in the room and I would be in the booth recording one of my songs. He

would come in the booth saying, “Come on D lace this part, I got something for

you man.” There were times of us being drunk and tired as I do not know what

and we would go in there and record them records.


One song that

really sticks with me is “I Ain’t Mad

At Cha”. We shot a video to that song

and it was not really coming across the way Pac or the executives from the

labels wanted it to come across. It was going to be slated and was not going to

be a single; I was somewhat upset because this was my opportunity to be in the

video with Pac. I had the chance to see that video after Pac passed away. The

director sent the reel to Suge’s house and I was there. To just sit there and

watch that video, to see us in the heaven scene when Red Foxx tells Pac, “You

got to earn your wings to get in heaven.” It was kind of emotional for me

because I was the only one in that scene who was still living, everyone one

else was legends or either passed away… Pac just passed a couple of days



AllHipHop.com: When was the last time

you spoke to Suge Knight?


Danny Boy: The week after he got

knocked the f**k out, I spoke with him.


AllHipHop.com: What did he say to you?

Danny Boy: He said, “Ooh I’m straight.”  I’ve always told myself…see I was

brought up in church and knowing God, when I care about somebody my Lord, he’s

liable to see that. I was just calling to make sure he was good because the one

thing I don’t take for granted is life regardless of what somebody has done to me or how they make me feel. I just took everything I

learned from Suge as a great learning experience and I’ll always reach out to him

and I’ll always let him know some words that probably nobody else will tell



“You’re straight,

I’m praying for you…” I was thinking that maybe this dude got hit he was that

close to being killed at that moment. 

A shot is just as easy as a punch – if a person can get up on you

and hit you they can get up on you and kill you.  I had to reach out to him and make sure that he was cool.  And, we talked for a minute.  He said to keep doing the music and that

I should come out there to California, so we can get some things cracking

– which I wasn’t listening to that but – just to know he was alright was

good enough for me. 



Do you think in your opinion after all you been through and with you being

more mature, that there will ever be a chance of you working with Suge Knight



Danny Boy: Never.  I wouldn’t record a record on his rest

in peace album.  I would be there

to watch him go away but I won’t sing a song for him ever in life again, never,  ever



AllHipHop.com: I heard you had the

chance to be on American Idol?  I

heard you made it all the way to Hollywood?

Danny Boy: Yeah I made it to the top 22.

After I got through doing a part everybody was clapping and I was getting a lot

of love from Paula and Simon. Those guys were really treating me nice and the

lawyer came to me and shoved some papers in my face saying, “What the f**k is

this?”  I looked at it and it was

some papers of me being on Death Row on their website saying, “Danny Boy album

coming out soon.” One of the rules were you could not be involved with a record

label or under any contractual agreement. 

I had been off that label; I was signed at 15 and was off the label when

I turned 21 by the courts.



Did you ever try to take them to court for royalties or anything like that?


Danny Boy: This has been the hardest

trip I’m still on right now…filing some procedures and things like that against

Tupac’s estate.  I can’t really

file against Suge because he filed for bankruptcy for Death Row because they were

put out of business.  I know that

me and Tupac’s mom had signed an agreement for me to be paid when it was all that

time I was waiting around…I waited months, I waited months and I finally got in

touch with her and she told me that my payment had been sent to Suge –

her company told her to send the payment to Suge – Why? I don’t



AllHipHop.com: I’m still going through

it and the thing is when you don’t have money you can’t compete against these

big record companies and these moguls who have a hundred million dollar budgets.

It’s kind of hard to fight against them with a lawyer that, you know my little

five thousand dollars and twenty-five hundred dollars runs out faster than that

of Tupac’s mom with her two million and that’s how it would work out.


AllHipHop.com: You never mentioned that

to them and asked directly “where’s my royalties?”


Danny Boy: To who, Pac’s mom or Suge?


AllHipHop.com: Suge.


Danny Boy: I mentioned it to him and

he’s the one that turned me on to the first lawyers saying that Pac’s mother or

Pac’s estate owed me.  [He said]

the lawyer he used to contact them and what ever we needed to do that, “We’d

make it happen.” The first lawyer I talked to – it gets to a certain

point where he makes me think I’m about to get paid and a couple of months go

by and I’m not hearing from the lawyers or a couple months go by and, “We can’t

do anything.” Then they come with a bunch of false information to make me not

want to go after the money.   



AllHipHop.com: What is your

relationship with Pac’s mom now?

Danny Boy: Nothing.  I wouldn’t say s**t to her if I had the

opportunity – she’s a fake, she’s a phony and I hate to say it because

Pac was my friend, Pac is my friend – no disrespect to him.  But I believe if Pac was

living he wouldn’t have treated me like this.  We didn’t have this kind of relationship.  I can walk up to Pac and get a hundred thousand

dollars out of his pocket at that time if he had it on him.  So for me to have to go through so much

over something that it is clear in evidence is ridiculous. Something, I was a

part of, over something that I’ve written. I just think it’s disrespectful to my

mother who’s resting in peace – when Pac wasn’t being paid by Death Row Records,

she was very adamant about going to Death Row Records and Interscope

to make sure he got the right portion that he deserved. 


I seen Pac’s

mother at the memorial held at the Tupac Shakur Peace Garden, and when I saw her it was liked a

ghost jumped in her face.  She

hugged me and hugged me and she said, “Oh I’ve missed you and I’ve been worried

about you,” and “We’re finally through this…God has finally released us and

we’ve made it through the storm.”  This

was really my first time being around his mother since Pac had died and I was

with my manager. I’m crying because I’m emotional, I’m standing in the Tupac museum  and I’m feeling like I’m around Pac because I’m

around his mother, and I’m falling into the trap of her.


My manager was

saying that’s some bull because you are still going through the same thing,

you’re still going through the same problems. She’s the one that made it

through the storm. She ended it by saying yeah we need to get together and you

belong here and she called over her people and said give him your numbers and

get his numbers.  And that’s when I

knew – I’ve been in Hollywood a long time so I can’t even mention the artists that

I’ve met, the stars that I’ve met and the legends that I met…  so I can tell you I know how it is when

somebody will tell you get my assistants number and that’s kind of how she

played me.  I haven’t seen her



AllHipHop.com: What kinds of projects do

you have going on now?


Danny Boy: What I’m working on now is

the most famous question. I’m used to being asked, “How was it working with Pac

and what was it like working with Death Row?” I kinda

fell a little behind the eight-ball but I’m back on it.

I’m working on my book to tell the story of my travels through Death Row and my

life, my relationship with Pac and we’re planning on putting ten songs on a CD

that will come inside the book when you purchase it.  I’m working on landing a deal with that.  I can’t even name the record labels that

I’ve been to that turned me away because their being scared of – I think

they call him Mr. Knight.  I’ve

been constantly singing and I believe that when God has something for you, it’s

for you and nobody can turn it down. I’m just constantly singing and recording

until one of those labels is ready to step up and say they’re willing to take a

chance on me. 


AllHipHop.com:  What inspired you to get into the

music industry?


Danny Boy: My mother inspired me into

wanting to really take it serious. 

She was a singer and before I was born she sang.  And all I can remember is the stories

of people saying how I sang like my mother and how you’re carrying your

mother’s legacy on. During her pregnancy and a little bit after she suffered

about seven strokes and it left her with a speech impediment. I was the only

person that really understood my mother out of all my eight sisters and

brothers and 12 of her sisters and brothers I was the one gifted to understand

every word that she said.  My

mother – through her and church – because I sang in church –

she would sit on the front row and every word I sang she would just cry.  When I went over the first time to

Death Row we were coming out with a Christmas album and my mother was deep into

church.  She didn’t understand but

she walked around with that album every Sunday at church saying, “Danny’s on

this,” not realizing that it wasn’t a Christmas album, it was the Murder Was The Case record that had just came out.  So my mother inspired me to take this thing real serious.


Danny Boy

“Slip N Slide” Video


AllHipHop.com: Is there anything you

remember from your time with Pac that you carry with you?


Boy: Yes, I shot my second video in Mexico for the song called “Slip N Slide”.

I was with Suge, his lawyer David Kenner, Michele, and my daughter’s mother. On

our way back, we were up about 30,000 feet in the air and our plane caught on

fire, we had to make an emergency landing. Once we hit the ground the fire

department and police was out there. Word got back to the family at Cam-Am

Studio and I remember getting on the phone with Pac and he said, “Man you got

s**t to do, ain’t none of that dying s**t…Danny. I was

crying and he was saying, “You good little homie, you

good, it’s going to be alright.” I remember that he told me you got to live you

got something to do. That stuck with me the most.