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by Joseph Mandat
1 January, 2000@12:00 am
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No one can deny that Defari has a strong foundation and love for Hip-Hop. At best he’s been a slept on member of the Likwit Crew  and guest on Dr. Dre 2001 (see “Some LA Niggaz”). At worst, he’s lacked any type of concept in his song formats (see Focused Daily). Now that he’s been off of Tommy Boy for sometime, he hopes to score big with LA Collection. The six song EP comes off refreshing, mainly because it contains no fillers, and is limited in guest appearances. Although production duties are split up among DJ Babu, Evidence, DJ Revolution, and Joey Chavez, the music maintains its fluidity without sounding monotonous.

Defari opens up with “Joyride”, featuring a dramatic chiming laced with a sinister bass line, sounding like it was left off of the original Chronic. Unfortunately, Defari is everywhere on this song, not really maintaining any type linear direction. However, where he lacks in vision, he doubles up on witty lines about his former employers, “Can’t no Boy named Tommy hold me down/let it be known Silverman/I’ll whip your ass on the pound for pound.”

Evidence’s haunting digital production fits perfect with Defari’s laid-back delivery on “Joyride”. On the next track, “I Can’t Wait”, Defari speeds up his flow over frantic pianos courtesy of DJ Revolution. The song’s chorus unfortunately seems lazily written. But Defari quickly recovers on “Smack Ya Face”. The bouncy track provides a nice platform for slick rhymes seething with braggadocio. He then follows up with “Keep It On the Rise II”, which could contain the best intro of the year. Heavy scratches (a la DJ Premier) over the Joey Chavez track will make listeners want to hit rewind. The dark production is so tight; Defari can’t lose on this cut.

Fortunately for fans, he saves the best for last with the introspective “Behold My Life”. Armed with a soulful piano keys, Defari gives us some insight, “the Black man said uplift your mind/take a page from history, and turn it into facts/Bush is back/watch out for the new crack/the streets already hot like in the 80′s/they don’t give a fuck how we choose to raise ours babies/so this is the days of my life in LA”

Those new to Defari’s music, will keep LA Collection in constant rotation. For the fans, they’ll be mad it’s so damn short. Either way, musically it doesn’t disappoint.

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