Defari conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman  

Defari Interview: Behold My Life

June 2005

If mic skills translated into record sales, Defari would be a rich man. For almost 10 years the West Coast veteran has been overlooked by the average rap fan who is more concerned with flash rather than substance. Still, Defari has gathered a solid underground backing around the world due to his various appearances with Tha Liks and Dilated Peoples, and his two solo albums Focused Daily and Odds And Evens. Defari's latest release is a collaborative effort with DJ Babu called The Likwit Junkies. The duo rekindles the spirit of great Hip Hop tandems that have come before them, like Pete Rock & CL Smooth and Gangstarr. While promoting his LJ's album, MVRemix spoke with Defari about his new project, as well as his third solo album Street Music.

MVRemix: How did this Likwit Junkies album with DJ Babu come about?

Defari Herut interviewDefari: About 10 months ago, I took the idea to Babu and he was all for it, because we had recorded so much material already, and it all came out great. At the same time, I took it to Ben at ABB Records, and he was down with it. That was pretty much it, and after that, we started working on the album.

MVRemix: How was it working with Babu for a whole album? What was the chemistry like?

Defari: It's pretty much organic. Its like a natural combination, because me and him have similar DJing backgrounds, similar feelings for Hip Hop, and similar tastes in music. So it's a natural hook up. It was long overdue, to be honest with you.

MVRemix: You used to DJ? I didn't know that.

Defari: Yeah, that is pretty much how I started to really get into Hip Hop.

MVRemix: Have you been pleased with how the album has been received and the responses you have gotten?

Defari: Yeah, for the most part we have been very happy. The in-stores have been packed with people, so its been a good look. We have a new single coming called "Ghetto", with "Brother" as the b-side. We are also about to hit the road, so we are really excited about the whole thing.

MVRemix: Lets go back to your last album Odds And Evens. Were you happy on how the album turned out?

Defari: I was happy about the actual product, because my shit was crackin' on that album. The sonic value of Odds And Evens I was very happy with. But the marriage with High Times was a mystery.

MVRemix: So you weren't feeling the promotion?

Defari: Na, I wasn't feeling how they worked the music. It was a fictitious entity, it wasn't even a label. It was fiction! So the business side was real wack, but the product was phenomenal. For those of you who don't have that album it's a must have!

MVRemix: What do you mean by the label was fictitious? There was no set up for anything like that?

Defari: It wasn't a label! It was one person running shit, Devon, and he was doing the best he could. But the head of the label was basically a weenie!

MVRemix: Overall, do you feel your are overlooked or underrated?

Defari: I feel like that in one way, because of the talent I see being successful nowadays, Plus, my lyrical skills. So in that way, yes I feel underrated. But at the same time, its all music, and I'm a fan of the music. I really feel blessed to even have thousands and thousands of people that have heard me worldwide. I try to focus more on that, than feeling that I am underrated or overlooked. I try and focus on the positive and keep building. Because at the end of the day its all about the music and your catalogue. Regardless, whoever doesn't recognize my talent at this moment, at the end of the day I will go down as one of the greatest to ever done it coming out of L.A..

MVRemix: Do you think you being overlooked has to do with there being a subliminal bias against the West Coast?

Defari: Well, there has been traditionally, being that the majority of the heavyweight magazines and media, like Viacom, are based on the East Coast. So a few of us do get out there and do it big, which is dope for the West Coast, like Snoop and The Game. Their success is real big for us, and not to forget one of the greatest ever, Ice Cube, and the list goes on - Ice T, King T, WC, Dre. But we are still overlooked to this day, and look at all the people I just named. I think that has to do with things not being centralized here in L.A., in terms of the media. If the West Coast had a big media presence, you would see and hear more of us.

>> continued...

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