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1 January, 1998@12:00 am

 Blowing in like a breath of fresh air from the golden state, Defari Herut brings it back to the time when artists concentrated on dropping pure hip-hop, tailor-made for the heads whose life revolves around the artform. As if their roster wasn’t deep enough already, another member of the hella dope Likwit Crew gets tipsy for our listening pleasure. Heads initially began to check for Defari after his release of “Big Up” on the Immortal Next Chapter compilation, which was followed up nicely by “Change & Switch” and “Bionic”, all of which created a nice buzz with the help of college mix-show DJ’s. On the heels of those performances, Tommy Boy  wisely snapped up the die-hard B-Boy to be their debut artist for its Black Label imprint. Following his dynamic verses on Xzibit’s “Handle Your Business”, and Rasco “Major League”, their was greatness in the air and you couldn’t help but feel he was on the verge of big things. His moment of truth Focused Daily is just that, raining down with a non-stop variety of prolific production and an accoumulous of lyrics, sure to quench any hip-hop drunkies’ thirst.

Although, he represents the left coast, like most Likwit projects there is a definite East Coast vibe encompassing his tracks. This LP brings the producer back to the forefront, as E-Swift, Evidence, Alchemist, & Chocolate Ty all bless Defari with 120 proof concoctions. Defari plays the role of the million-dollar emcee Steve Austin on the already classic “Bionic”, locking ish down over a rough piano-loop from Evidence. The Likwit Crew’s musical maestro E-Swift chips in 4 tracks, one of his finest being “Yes Indeed”, which just pounds you in the chest. Defari uses this track to discuss how emcees have lost focus on what’s important, sounding very at ease. Swift’s other gem is “Lowlands Anthem Part One”, perfect for those lazy days in Cali, sipping on something and pursuing top-notch dimes. The lyrically drenched “Thunder & Lightning”, finds Xzibit playing thunder and Defari playing lightning, taking things to another level. Defari and Mr. X to the Z flip verses exploding over this Evidence blessed cut. Tash punctuates the hook, but Xzibit steals the show “put the gun down boy and get beat like your Father did/ Debo style/ snap your limbs like a crocodile/ nasty, wicked and wild/ and ready for confrontation/ we try to deliver but running into complication”. Barber Drevin straight up laces Defari with some tingling ebony & ivory’s, backed by a continuous flickering bassline on “No Clue” feat. Barbershop Chocolate Tye. Both emcees go back and forth turning this cut into a delicious corner freestyle cipher. The tag-team of Defari & Evidence does not stop there, as they also deliver “Focused Daily” and “Never Lose Touch”.

However, there are a few lackadaisical moments and Defari could use some work on his hooks. As “Killing Spree” and “These Dreams”, are all undercut by underdeveloped, unimaginative hooks. In addition, “Juggle Me (For The DJ’s)”, E-Swift’s attempt at a b-boy track does not come off and is very misplaced.

The music and lyricism found on this project form a very amicable partnership. When one aspect needs help, the other aspect raises the stakes, to keep things running very smoothly. While, Defari is not flipping any futuristic rhyme schemes, his presence is overwhelming. After honing his skills for 10 years in preparation for this moment, Defari sounds like a very battle tested emcee. He posses an overwhelming presence on the mic and it is readily apparent that his dues were well paid. Pulling no punches and depending on no gimmickry, Defari proves he is more then capable of standing out in the deep Likwit Camp roster. Influenced by the true underground hip-hop of our past, his debut is a melting pot of yesteryear’s styles. The Likwit family just keeps coming up with multi-faceted emcees that can do it all.

  Mixtape D.L.
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