#FridayFeature | Meet Dan “Lawyer By Day, Trapper By Life”

25-year-old Dan Mwale is an anomaly, a visionary, a philosopher and a true artist. Part lawyer and part time musician, combining the 2 arts, he is dedicated to changing the landscape of the music industry and the lives of those around him for the better and proving that anything is possible with passion, perseverance and commitment. 

Daniel Mwale, the son of a couple from Lusaka, Zambia was born in Johannesburg October 4, 1993. He cites his cousins and artists such as Kanye West, Michael Jackson, Tracy Chapman & the Weeknd as his primary musical influences who initially inspired him to take up a career in the music industry. 

Clearly a man with a mission and a sharp wit, Dan matriculated in 2011, finishing with the fourth-highest results in his grade. He pursued an academic career in law thereafter and in 2015, graduated from the University of Witwatersrand Cum Laude, receiving the prestigious Certificate of Merit for Intellectual Property. 

Striking a balance between music and law is not an easy feat, but Dan never gave up his dream and has been chipping away at his musical career during all of his years of study. 

Dan’s musical path started circa 2007 in a music producer role – specializing in hip-hop, RnB and alternative music. Co-owner and founder of Floggnation Records with friend and business partner Sponge Magubane, after years being in the back seat, Dan couldn’t resist the pull to front of stage and behind the mic. This is where it all began – the creation of his own unique sound and vision. Known for his flamboyant and audacious rap technique, Dan Mwale’s journey was meticulously planned and practiced. Being an A-class academic achiever, Dan’s precision and timing is what has shaped who he is today. 

With 2 previous projects under his belt – Dan’s debut project 2013’s ‘Holy Trinity’ featured the singles Love, Money Disaster, Buried Feelings and Life Is So Exciting, all of which have been critically acclaimed. The mixtape covered lyrical themes of love, money, medication tolerance and generally revolved around the artist’s personality and realities. 

In 2014, under the alias KOT – Dan released ‘The King of Trap Volume 1’. King of Trap Vol.1 is a mixtape characterized by a Hip Hop sub-genre called “African Trap” a sound influenced by heavy drum and bass instrumental with authentic South African traditional sounds accommodated by Dan’s youthful Msawawa charisma which influenced his “King of Trap” status. The mixtape featured guest appearances from PatrickxxLee, Caesar and Young Kemet.

In 2017, after completing his undergraduate degree, Dan completed his Masters in Commercial and Business Law at Wits with his thesis on the Harmonization of Copyright Law in the South African Development Community (SADC) region. Dan went on to serve his articles of clerkship at an international law firm, where he has written and passed all four of the attorney’s admission exams and is due to be admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa. 

In 2018, Dan dropped his most important musical release to date. A 5 song EP titled ‘Monster’.  Dan Mwale is ready to show the world just how serious he is. 

Monster, soft released in October 2018, features the lead single ‘Jet Lagged’ – a high-energy track representing the hard work and hours one needs to put in, in order to be successful. “It’s just a fun song expressing that you can also enjoy working hard, it does not need to be laborious and with too much effort. You can travel all over the world in your mind and not feel jetlagged” says Dan, who doesn’t seem to have any issues putting the hours in and burning the midnight oils. 

The title of the EP ‘Monster’ came about when Dan left varsity and entered the real cutthroat world, the beginning of his professional career in law. Using his creative expression to counterbalance the stress of a corporate world, Dan was pushed to release ‘Monster’. 

Dan notes – “The title Monster represents the transformation I went through and the feelings accompanying it. The realizations I was having made me feel like I was transforming into a monster, something which I needed to do to protect myself. I am no longer the timid shy boy from varsity who was taken advantage of. I’ve grown into a new entity and have an even bigger appetite for success and will do anything to catch my prey/goal. Monster is a representation of that transformation and transfiguration. The message behind it is that people should all unleash their inner monster and become proactive and to some extent aggressive in their pursuit of happiness or in whatever gives them meaning.” 

Driven by important messages and themes, ‘Monster’ is about inspiration, family and the assuming of responsibility as a young South African male in his twenties. “Man of the House is an example of the message in the music. I am becoming the “man of my house” and with that responsibility comes a lot of challenges and perks. On the record, ‘Dan’s Interlude’, An introductory part of the EP and very emotional, has a deep message behind it. Here I go into a bit of my personal life and share a conversation with my dad. He gives me priceless advice on how to deal with success and wealth and I think it sets the tone for the transformation. With great power comes great responsibility”. 

Having produced 4 out of the 5 tracks on the album, Dan was able to perfectly mold the mood of the EP. 

In the near future, Dan is open to the idea of starting an entertainment law practice and provide advice and legal services to up and coming creative’s who do not have the access to the information needed to strengthen their careers. This is just one way he can pursue both roles and create a working symbiosis, relevant to both. 

I want to show people, the industry, the world, the universe, the dimension, that it’s possible to be a corporate creative thriving in both industries. I will make an example through myself that you don’t have to be what society tells you to be but what you really want to be. I will provide pro amico and pro bono services where I can hold seminars and trainings for the public to attend”.

Being a lawyer and a rapper really breaks a lot of boundaries in today’s world. Through my music I will educate and uplift and hopefully get people to challenge themselves from a professional sense. A lot of the time, families put pressure on children to study etc, but usually avoid promoting any careers that are not corporate, I want to be an example to kids that you don’t have to give up on your dreams when you study hard and know what you want” says Dan. 

‘Monster’ was recorded at Dan’s house but sent to the U.S for professional mastering.  “The beauty of working and pushing independently is that I am able to support my dream with my job and this puts me in an advantage over other independent artists. I fund my own projects” notes Dan.  

FN – Floggnation Records is Dan’s flagship record label – co run with partner and best friend Godfrey ‘Sponge Magubane’ Ndlovu. 

“I figured if I can’t get signed to a major label I might as well start my own. Sponge is one of my closest friends, a partner who shares the same passion for music and the business, so we both figured we’d link up and pursue this dream together. I’ve always been reminded about a quote that reads: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Hugely influenced by artists Patrickxxlee, AKA, Michael Jackson, the Weekend, Kanye west, Future and Tracy Chapman, Dan takes major inspiration from them – the fact that they have boundless energy and not afraid to try new sounds, this is why they have the success that they do. 

Being described as a “flamboyant rapper” Dan Mwale’s sound is mixed with humor and personality, not always the norm in the Hip Hop world. “Some people consider it alternative, as it is very original. The fluidity in my switching of genres breaks the norm and gives people a new sound to look forward to.”

Dan has recently made an impact with another release titled: “And Then Everyone Died” Featuring PatrickxxLee. And Then Everyone Died is Dan Mwale’s way of affirming his position in the game, or rather where he wants to be. He is confident and drops lines with audacity as he raps about self-reliance and injects just enough personality to keep the listener interested.

“In an industry that is heavily saturated, you need to stand out to stand tall. My infusion of Art, corporate and fashion will take our industry to the next level”. 


Find him on Social Media: 

Facebook:                         Dan Mwale

Twitter:                            @dripoverlord

Instagram:                       @dripoverlord_

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