Artist Spotlight: Milwaukee Rapper Denny Lanez And His Quick-Witted Anthems
Keep the name Denny Lanez on your rap radar. The young Milkwaukee artist is an up-and-comer in the hip-hop game, smoothly dropping slick rap anthems with quick-witted bars.
Everything You Need To Know About Denny Lanez
1. His real name: Denny Lanez is an undoubtedly cool stage name, and if you didn't know any better, you might get him confused with fellow musicians Denny White and Tory Lanez, but his family knows him as Denzell Armon.
2. His other talents: When I was 21, I ate pints of ice cream in bed watching The Office in between homework. By the time Denny Lanez was 21, he'd already starred in an independent film and an episode of Chicago Fire, modeled under Ford, and dropped a full-length album.
3. His major moments: Denny has performed with Jordin Sparks, was named an "Artist To Watch" by rapper Sway on his radio morning show, and scored radio play all over Paris with his feature on "Purple Flower."
Songs to Smash the Replay Button For
1. "The Oath": His second most popular track, "The Oath" is a dark rap song that finds Denny delivering his rapid-fire grievances atop slaps of wailing percussion. Here, his lyrical skill is clear, but so is his talent with flow.
2. "D'Angelo": Another moody, eerie arrangement, "D'Angelo" goes hard with deep warbling beats pulsing beneath verses heavy on the ego, as Denny's drowsy vocals state the hook: "I swear I'm the one, she say I'm the one, and I feel like D'Angelo."
3. "Comfort": On this track, Denny gets soft and confessional, smoothly getting real about his upbringing over echoing claps and a soulful R&B vocal accompaniment. His songwriting is at one of its strongest points here -- "Now I'm focused on my life's purpose / I'm putting it in these verses" -- as the song grows in emotional swells.
Watch Him in Action
1. "Zeus" music video: For Denny's most popular track, he dropped a quick music video that follows him slickly delivering and performing the rap in the company of friends. Racking up over 100,000 views already, "Zeus" is a high-powered rap anthem that deserves endless replays.
2. Freestyle over "God's Plan" beat: One of our favorite series from Denny is #NoBeatSafe, his freestyle renditions over popular rap tracks. When he tackles Drake's chart-topper, he kills it, perfectly on beat and spitting an addictive spin on everybody's favorite verse: "I'm back from oblivion and prolly gonna sin again / They handin' out awards, boy, I'm prolly gonna win again."
How to Connect with Denny Lanez
Read on for our exclusive Q&A as Denny Lanez chats with The Music Mermaid about the Milwaukee scene, social media, hanging with Diddy, and more.
The Music Mermaid: First, can you tell The Music Mermaid a little about yourself and your music?
Denny Lanez: I'm a 21 year old artist from Milwaukee, WI whose music paints pictures and keeps listeners intrigued with intricate flow patterns. Whether it's trap, rock, jazz, dubstep, it doesn’t matter, I'm going to captivate the listener and create an experience.
TMM: What’s the music scene like in Milwaukee and how has it influenced your work at all?
DL: The music scene in Milwaukee is similar to the city itself: its very segregated, to be honest. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing -- people like what they like but that's what they stick to. It has influenced me because, fortunately for me, I’ve been diverse enough to have a fanbase spread across all kinds of people, but I hope to have everyone start working together to help shine light on this goldmine of a city.
TMM: You’ve gotten a ton of buzz for last year’s single, “Zeus.” What was the production process like for that track?
DL: The process for "Zeus" was actually simple -- it was just a track where I took it straight through and just rapped, no chorus. The beat was such high-energy and I felt the only way to attack it was to showcase my lyrical skill. It was meant just for that: but once it was released, it took off!
TMM: You’re seriously skilled at your rap verses. What is the songwriting process like for you? What topics do you often write about?
DL: Thank you for that! The songwriting process usually begins with experiences I've had or am currently having. Whether it's the past, present, or things happening around me, I take that and write about it.
TMM: In what ways has social media helped to further your music career?
DL: Social media has helped me talk directly to the people who support me. It's helped me spread my content to countries and people I never thought I’d touch. If used right, social media is the world's biggest tool.
TMM: What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of the music industry today?
DL: Great question. I feel the advantages of the music industry for an artist are that you are able to do what you love and influence others... perhaps even save others. That's why I try to keep a strong message in my music. Nobody goes through anything alone. It's bigger than you -- that’s beautiful to see.
The disadvantages for sure would be the business side of things: everyone trying to take take take, especially your freedom and creativity. People around you start becoming different. It's very cutthroat.
TMM: You’re not just a rapper -- you’re also an actor and a model. What other hobbies do you have that your fans might not know about?
DL: The fans that follow my Snapchat may know, but for those who don’t, I am a huge gamer. I also collect jerseys. I probably have 50 of them so far, spread across the NFL, NBA, etc. I love sports -- I've told myself I would probably choose the athlete route if I could do life over!
TMM: Who are three musicians you think the world needs to hear ASAP?
DL: There are a lot of dope people out there. I've recently been listening to J.I.D, Tame Impala, and also this artist Kampo out of Milwaukee! Real creative and unique!
TMM: What has been your most memorable music moment so far?
DL: The most memorable music moment for me was meeting Diddy and Pharrell. It was in New York after Diddy's movie premiere at this private afterparty. Two legends and the vibe was insane. I'll never forget that day!
The Music Mermaid: Finally, what’s next for Denny Lanez?
Denny Lanez: I have a mixtape dropping later this month and I’m also working on an album entitled The Nomad Story. I have some tour dates soon to be released as well so everyone stay tuned!
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Featured photo by Rick Wood.