December 11, 2023
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Daniel Jordan: ’10th Anniversary of The Stranger LP’ Interview

Many lives among the wicked underground were changed forever upon Daniel Jordan releasing his cult following Reel Life Productions underground hit “The Stranger”. And it’s through the fans’ deep connection to Daniel’s raw emotional vivid story-telling heard within “The Stranger”. It’s heart-wrenching and beautiful at the same time. This is hip-hop you can relate to at its most real! Independent music rumors have it that even Snoop Dogg was possibly emotionally touched by this underground classic, as its bonus track “This Is Reel Life” mysteriously ended up on episode 23 of Dr. Dre’s highly successful podcast “The Pharmacy”, with Snoop doing hosting duties for that specific episode. Today marks the official 10th anniversary of “The Stranger”! Where were you when you first bumped this Reel Life Productions instant classic LP?! Please enjoy this exclusive all about “The Stranger” with Daniel Jordan below!

Chad Thomas Carsten: Today marks the 10th anniversary of your cult following Reel Life Productions underground hit “The Stranger”! How does that make you feel?

Daniel Jordan: It makes me feel fucking old for one, but in all seriousness, I have thought about this day for a long time. Over the last couple of years, I knew this day would approach and I wondered how I would feel. Honestly, it just feels like another day but it’s like watching a child of yours turn 10. It’s a milestone in a person’s life.

CTC: How would you characteristically describe “The Stranger” as an individual?

DJ: The stranger is a very nihilistic person. Doesn’t believe in God, doesn’t even like people for that matter. A loner, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. A quite toxic individual. But the stranger is the way he is because society made him that way…

CTC: Can you recall where you spent most of the time location-wise preparing lyrical content for “The Stranger?”

*Classic photo of Daniel Jordan and Esham*

DJ: I spent a lot of time back home in Hayward, California while making this album. A lot of the songs were recorded in a crack house, neighbors on meth screaming at each other all night. Right in the heart of the ghetto, there was a danger and an intensity in the album that came from the environment. My brothers and my friends out there know exactly what I’m talking about because they were there while I was crafting this album.

CTC: When first developing the concept of “The Stranger” what main goals did you and Reel Life Productions want to conquer together for this classic release?

DJ: The concept of the album came from the book by Albert Camus “The Stranger“. It’s about a man who believes in nothing. He met a beautiful young woman who wants to get married but he doesn’t understand the concept of love. His mother dies and he doesn’t even weep. He gets the death penalty for murdering a man in cold blood and even in his final hours, he struggles to find meaning in any of this.

CTC: What was it like working with California hip-hop legend Mac Mall for your single “Sad Clown”? Can we lyrically dissect the track too?

DJ: Mall is one of my closest friends to this day. I love that guy. He’s my brother. We were just hanging out at his house in the bay area. I would crash at his place many times. I spent Christmas there because I had nowhere else to go. We just happened to be hanging out and I had an eight-track digital recorder in my trunk so I busted it out and he laid down his verse right in his living room.

CTC: “Last Day Alive” lyrically is a vivid heart-wrenching track. What brought forth the deep suicidal emotional theme for the track?

DJ: That beat was made by Blockhead, who is world-renowned as Aesop Rock‘s main producer. He produced many classics. Esham gave me the beat because he had been working with Blockhead and it was a very unique beat. It reminded me of some Beyoncé kind of shit so I didn’t know how to attack it, but I felt the intensity in the drums and I needed to come with some end of the world kind of shit. Hence last day alive. I wanted to get into the head of a person who knew he was going to die that day.

CTC: “Fade Away” is a personal favorite among your fans. Why do you think your fans relate to the track so much?

DJ: Because that shit is real. We’ve all been there, had the world in our hands, and fucked it all up somehow. Constantly forced to dissect the mistakes you made in life, or in love. Honestly, the song is influenced by ‘Vanilla Sky’, I was fucking with that movie-heavy at the time and I wanted to create a first-person perspective of the main character, falling in love with his soulmate and fucking it all up.

CTC: “Sometimes” is another emotional song from “The Stranger”. How precisely did you channel your past to create the track?

DJ: That song is mostly about my dad. I had a strange relationship with him. He was in and out of jail most of my childhood. The irony is the song is “Motherless Child“ but it’s actually about being a fatherless child if that makes any sense?
That song has resonated with a lot of people who have lost a parent, it has hit a nerve with them, throughout the years it has taken a new meaning.


CTC: Do you still feel Tom Macdonald bit your style within the “The Illuminati Wants Me Dead” single?

DJ: Definitely. But it is what it is, I’m not mad, I’ve been influenced by many people throughout my life so it’s all a part of the game.

CTC: What’s the backstory on why “The Stranger” has two different art covers? 

DJ: Why does it have two covers? Because me and RLP were in a race to see who put the album out first. There was a little bit of a war going on behind the scenes for the rights to the album but eventually, we settled. The version they put out where my eyes are whited out has 15 tracks. My version with the bandanna cover (which was always the intended cover since 2008) has 16 tracks, the bonus track being “This Is Reel Life“.

CTC: What was Esham’s personal reaction after hearing “The Stranger” in full for the very first time?

DJ: He’s a hard person to read, he’s the type that doesn’t let you know he likes your shit but you might randomly find him listening to it as you walk into the room. The last time I was with him he berated me for hours on why “Dark night of the soul“ is too dark of an album, but I caught him listening to it after and singing along. He means well, his heart is in the right place. But he sure loves to tell me what I’m doing wrong. *Laughs*

CTC: If “The Stranger” had its own biopic. Which Streaming service would you want to release it through and who would you hire to direct it?

DJ: I don’t know man, that shit is kind of lame. I don’t want no fuckers weak ass hands touching my shit.

CTC: Reflecting back. How satisfied are you with “The Stranger” as a whole?

DJ: I knew at the time that shit would be a masterpiece 10 years from now, as crazy it is to say that but I already knew. I look back and feel like I did everything I needed to do on that album. That shit is perfect.


CTC: What’s next for Daniel Jordan musically in the near future?

DJ: Working on my next album “The Love, Sex & Death Experience”, shits going to be incredible, mostly storytelling songs on this album. “Moonlight Drive” just came out and that’s a taste of what’s to come. Till then, Godspeed.

Interviewer: Chad Thomas Carsten



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