Risky Business

Danny Dominguez won't go with the mass- market hip-hop flow

"More bang for your buck, Counterflow loves the kids," clowns Al Moran, Dominguez's business partner and one of the heads of GTC Media along with party and printing impresario Carlos Perez. Together they form a team of fearless entrepreneurs with a grand scheme called 4 The Hard Way, which encompasses the Bomb 12 clothing line, a street-art magazine called The Vapors, and just about anything else that promotes urban culture. "It's about the lifestyle," says Moran. "We're going to hit 'em up with how we live day in, day out."

The Counterflow crew expects a big breakthrough this year. "Last year we were bogged down by finances," explains Moran. "This year with a new, cooperative distributor we can concentrate more on the music." Due to drop in 2003: full-length albums from Cee Knowledge, Panda One, and Dave Ghetto, who Dominguez calls the "next Mos Def."

To get to that breakthrough, Dominguez doesn't mind playing "Danny Knows Best" with his artists, even though most of them are older than he is. "There are deadlines and sometimes you gotta have that conversation: 'Do you want to make it? Don't slow down the process,'" he says. That's one reason Dominguez chooses artists for their compatibility and attitude. "Someone might send a kick-ass demo, but if they're pricks or don't want to work hard, we won't work with them."

The hip-hop nation pays attention to Danny Dominguez
Steve Satterwhite
The hip-hop nation pays attention to Danny Dominguez

If the guests dropping in at Paid Attention are any indication, people definitely want to work with Dominguez. The night is attracting big hip-hop names looking for a place to perform in Miami. Prince Paul, Rob Swift, and Biz Markie all plan to show some skills in the next couple of months.

Meanwhile Thursday nights just get bigger. Crowds spill out the side doors and front porch. There are two smooth-talking brothers with a camera interviewing some unsuspecting chick for a documentary about "pimps 'n 'hos," they say. Dominguez is somewhere inside, making sure everything is smooth. This could be the time for a twenty-year-old to lay back and enjoy it all, but not Danny. Why does Counterflow continue to grow? "I work hard," he says, never flinching.

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