NEW MUSIC: 33 And A Third – Def Dee

Def Dee - 33 and a Third

Def Dee’s production acumen caters to that nebulous and finicky cluster of hip hop heads otherwise known as “true schoolers.” It’s an audience that favors the production stylistics defined by their arenose breaks, abrupt sample flips, and dexterous record scratches. I’m speaking of the Golden Era apologists, of course, and Seattle area producer (and Mello Music Group recording artist) Def Dee lives and breathes that “revival.”

33 And A Third is the producer’s first full-length album for the other MMG. It’s a work in continuity from his last full-bodied collection, Gravity, this blog’s favorite local rap album of 2010. 33 is yet more refined in the ways of traditional boom-bap and it’s clear Def hasn’t run out of ideas. He’s similar to our region’s other like-minded producers such as Jake One, Vitamin D and BeanOne in that all are virtuosos in the fine art of extracting fresh ideas from well-tilled soil. 33 is intended for a national audience but features local stalwarts like Grynch, Mic Phenom, Chev, and La. (Also, dig the Cortez jersey Def Dee is rocking on the album cover.)


THE SIX: Featuring Zar


[THE SIX is a regular interview feature on 206UP.COM with a simple format: One local hip-hop artist and six questions. For past editions click here.]

Zar is an up-and-coming Seattle MC who released a seven-song album back in January called Zulu Delta (Mello Music Group). The EP featured production by another local cat named Def Dee (that was this blog gushing about Def’s 2010 full-length collaboration with La, Gravity). Most folks, even inside this region’s boundaries, probably don’t know who Zar is yet, so let this edition of THE SIX be an introduction. I suppose you could qualify him as a throwback-type MC, though that assessment might not be accurate either given his limited run of publicly available material. Just know that Zulu Delta harkens back to rap’s famed Golden Era and succeeds with details by MC and producer that are only possible given a deep understanding of that particular aesthetic.

Let’s start with the basics because I don’t think a lot of people know who Zar is yet. Give a little background on yourself as an artist: your age, where you came up, how long you’ve been rhyming, and where you feel you currently fit in in the local rap scene. 

Born in Seattle raised in Renton breathing since 1991. Currently 21 years old. Origin: Zacatecas, Mexico. Rhyming over rhythms for seven years and counting. My intentions weren’t to fit in in the local rap scene, they were to try and reconstruct the image of a Seattle MC. I wanted hip-hop heads from all over the sphere to recognize Seattle for being able to bring something new to the culture.

How’d you get connected with Def Dee?

I met Dominic in Junior High [in] Redmond. Dom and my older brother Rudy were in the same grade, ninth. I was two grades younger. Everything else fell into play after Dom started mixing on his Stantons. I felt as if hip-hop followed Dominic and Rudy, and everywhere they went people around them would be influenced by the lifestyle. All of [a] sudden people at school were B-boys or graph artists, or knew how to rhyme.

Does the Zulu Delta EP firmly represent who you are as an artist? Meaning, do you have a steez that’s rooted in mid-90’s boom-bap, or does your musical personality extend beyond that?

I personally don’t think the EP represents ZAR to the 90[th] power, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the EP or productions. Dom and I just wanted to put the EP out to get heads open to the idea of a new sound, the sound that Zar brings. Lyric-wise I haven’t even begun.

What are your thoughts on the so-called recent revival of Golden Era / NYC-style boom-bap?

When I think about the resurrection of hip-hop I think KRS-One; Steez Capitol (R.I.P); Badass, Joey; Wu still ill; Budden, Joe; Marciano, Roc; Lux Loaded; 5’9, Royce; Crooked i; Kung Foo Grip; Language Arts; and ALCAZAR.

What’s the biggest challenge or obstacle you encounter when trying to succeed as an independent hip-hop artist?

I would say the entire process is one big obstacle until I make it, and even then there [are] going to be obstacles. But if I had to just throw one out there I would say distributing our music on a larger scale.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to announce and/or tease for the readers?

I am currently working on a full length album with Def Dee and hope to complete a full length album with all members from The Nine Six (The96Tape).

Downloads Interviews The Six

NEW MUSIC: Zulu Delta – Def Dee & Zar

Click album cover to download.

Click album cover to download.

Fresh from that other MMG, producer Def Dee and MC Zar with a short burst of that good: Zulu Delta EP is free on the Camp today. Mine ears have yet to hear, but I trust any drums Def touches and, as far as Zar goes, well, you’ve got one of the most capable producers in Town behind you, son.

Audio Downloads

NEW MUSIC: “Numb Again” – Def Dee (feat. yU & Hassaan Mackey)

Click image to download.

Click image to download.

“Numb Again” is the first drop from 33 An’a Third, the upcoming Mello Music Group debut from Seattle producer Def Dee. 206UP.COM is really looking forward to this one ever since Def dropped Gravity (in conjunction with area MC La) and Cheap Heat (a beat tape that showed off his well-tuned ear for boom bap in the grand tradition of Premier and Dilla).

Audio Downloads

DOWNLOAD: “Blink (Def Dee Remix)” – Boog Brown

Click image to D/L.

More remix treatment by Def Dee (for his new label home, Mello Music Group). This time SEA meets ATL in the form of MC Boog Brown. Check the dusty stutter of Def’s beat matched by the get-even yarns spun by Boog.

(Out of) Town Movement Downloads

DOWNLOAD: “The Flame (Def Dee Remix)” – DTMD

Click image to D/L.

Local producer Def Dee recently signed a deal with Mello Music Group, a great look for the young composer who 206UP.COM counts as one of the best in Town. Here then is a drop from DTMD, a Maryland duo also affiliated with MMG. The song is “The Flame” and Def Dee gives it the remix treatment. Astute listeners can expect more from Def on the Mello Music Group compilation album, coming soon.