© Koury Angelo
Danny Wolf Got a Sign and a New Sound
Meet the Atlanta-based producer who stepped into the "Mystery Pack" box in the season two finale.
The day Danny Wolf was approached to participate in the “Mystery Pack” series, he was already waiting for a sign. The Atlanta-based producer had just started his new label, Chaos Club, and was in the middle of studio sessions in Los Angeles when he began to feel like he was hitting a creative wall. “When you’re in that zone, you’re just so focused, focused, focused,” he explains via Zoom. “I was thinking of how to take it to the next level during the pandemic and all of a sudden, Red Bull hits me. I knew exactly what to do. It was just some divine intervention. A lightbulb just turned on.”
Wolf, who lived in Mexico before moving to the United States as a young boy, had spent years building a brand out of an inhuman ability to grind. His post-high school ambitions led him to an internship at Atlanta radio station Hot 107.9 and, eventually, a chance to work with Hoodrich Entertainment as a videographer. By the time he was 17, he was shooting videos for everyone from Young Thug to the Migos. The same zeal fueled his passion for producing, which he picked up during his internship and led to collaborations with everyone from ILoveMakonnen and Hoodrich Pablo Juan to Lil Uzi Vert and Juice WRLD.
“At the time, I was watching [Hoodrich] pulling in plaques left and right. I see them flexing a few plaques and I’m like ‘Oh, they’re millionaires.’,” he says. As a newly minted label head in his early twenties, Wolf was ready to use “Mystery Pack” to continue the fine art of showing and proving. Though he was only expected to create one beat for the episode, Wolf created three different beats in his 13 minutes, coming out of his shell in the process. “That was the first time I’d ever been comfortable on a set like that,” he says of working with Red Bull. “A lot of people play chess or checkers but I want to own the whole board.”
Was tackling the Mystery Pack challenge with 10 unknown samples an intimidating experience for you?
I’ve always been experimental so, as soon as I heard them, I was in my comfort zone. I try to use intimidating shit because it fine-tunes your ear into picking out the diamond in the rough. I think not having rules with random shit is the best for me because I can be myself. If it were just really good loops, it’s kind of like another cook-up. [Mystery Pack] just gave me more range. I saw a few other episodes and they had really nice loops, so I was hoping for something different. When they initially called me to do it, I told them I was trying to set my laptop on fire (laughs). I always try to go crazy with my shit.
Of the three beats you made, which one is your favorite?
I like the second one, but there’s something about the last one. I was fully in that zone towards the end. They’re like my babies but I really love the last one because of the moment we caught.
What were your thoughts when Red Bull initially reached out to you about being a part of Mystery Pack?
I was in LA working on sessions and when you’re in that zone, you’re just so focused, focused, focused. I stopped and didn’t want to burn myself out anymore. I needed a plan, so I started the label and ran up a few m’s during the pandemic. I was thinking of how to take it to the next level during the pandemic and all of a sudden, Red Bull hits me. I knew exactly what to do. It was just some divine intervention. A lightbulb just turned on.
When I heard about [“Mystery Pack”], I knew I had to go all in. I made three beats and they only asked for one, so it was a lot. I was up the night before practicing lines and what I wanted to say. It’s not even about the money or the brand; whenever anybody gives you an opportunity like that, you got to show out and go the extra mile. I was thinking about what I wanted to say, how I wanted to act, what I wanted to wear. It put me in that Super Bowl mode and now we’re going crazy.
Did you learn anything new or interesting about yourself as a producer after your work on Mystery Pack?
That was the first time I’d ever been comfortable on a set like that. I always try to give people the best when I’m on a set because a lot of producers get in front of a camera and they’re a whole different person. When I finished, the director was like “Wow, I never shot anyone who was that comfortable on set before. You were really just yourself the whole time.” It was an eye-opening moment for me. I just like to talk shit and this gave me a place to kick shit and not take it too seriously.
You’ve worked with everyone from ILoveMakonnen to Hoodrich Pablo Juan to UglyGod and beyond. How do you stay inspired flipping through so many different styles of rap?
I’m just really competitive. I have a goal: I want to be the best producer to ever exist. I feel like even if I have four #1’s back-to-back, it’s only 1% of my vision. A lot of people play chess or checkers but I want to own the whole board, which is why I started my label—Chaos Club—back in September. Two months in, we were already a multi-million dollar label. That’s what keeps me inspired. A lot of people put limits on themselves like “Oh, I can only go this far and achieve this much.” I haven’t even ordered my plaques yet; I’m not ordering any of them until we get 100. If I’m not meeting my goals, I beat myself up over it because I’m my own hardest critic. Even if I feel some sort of way, I’m gonna correct myself.
There’s always gonna be someone who goes up before you do. It’s always about staying grounded and staying committed to your direction. Your time is coming, so keep your head down and keep a level mind. I’m just always putting faith in myself that I’m gonna find a way. It’s also very much about putting a lotta trust in God, bro. It’s the easiest thing I could’ve done in my career, bro. It’s changed my life 1000%. My real vision is to show people you can do that by falling into God’s plans. I can feel sad or upset but God’s always got a plan. You don’t want to be that guy who’s on the top and shitted on people. You’re meant to be there but you gotta make sure your people are cool.
If you had one piece of advice for any upcoming producers/beatmakers, what would it be?
Make every decision out of love and ask God for more wisdom. I believe that wisdom is divine reasoning, so make good decisions for yourself and for your loved ones. Also, learn to separate your business: the same people you smoke with might not be the same people you cook with; the same people you hang with might not be the same people you do business with, you know what I mean? It’s just about learning how to delegate your order. Anybody who’s playing mind games and fucking with your business and your heart? Save yourself the time and just cut them off. You don’t have to cut them off for life; just cut them off for the period of time it takes to heal yourself. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes and never turn down an opportunity to help people. You don’t help someone because they’re famous or it’ll benefit your career; you help them because they need it. T Staying true and doing what’s right will take you a long way.