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Just Blaze worked closely with Roc-a-Fella Records in the early 2000s, producing hits like Cam’ron’s “Oh Boy,” Jay-Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls,” and Beanie Sigel and Freeway’s “Rock the Mic.” He worked closely with Roc-a-Fella’s other in-house producer, Kanye West, on the label’s many albums released during this same period. And like West, he developed a trademark knack for using old-school soul samples in unique ways for his hooks. Besides the Roc-a-Fella stable of rappers, Just Blaze also produced tracks for big-name East Coast rappers such as Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, DMX, and Fabolous. By the turn of the century, he’d become one of the rap industry’s leading producers, along with Timbaland, the Neptunes, and Swizz Beatz. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi
Wake Self Drops A Powerful New Album, Malala, Featuring Gift of Gab and Production from SmokeM2D6 of Oldominion
Packed full of sharp social commentary, unique rhyme patterns and uplifting rhythms, Malala is Wake Self’s magnum opus. Wake rides to the beat of a different emcee, never following the trends or changing who he is to fit a certain mold.
From the beautifully arranged and impactful title track to the call to action of “Change the World” featuring Blackalicious’ Gift of Gab, the 15-track album bursts with original content while retaining a musicality unmatched by most modern day emcees.
With generous contributions from Miles Bonny, Belgium artist Blu Samu, partner-in-crime Def-i, vocalist Alia Lucero, Dre Z, and of course, Gift of Gab, Malala is exactly what is missing in hip-hop’s often vapid landscape.
“Making this album has already changed my life … I am deeply connected to every word, syllable, rhyme pattern, feeling, concept, and idea that came through me on this project.” – Wake Self
Def-i is a Albuquerque native, representing the Southwest’s Hip-Hop Scene as a member of New Mexico’s Foundations of Freedom Crew since 2003. As well as being part of Skull Control Records, Chief Rockers, and Definition Rare, Def-i fell into MC’ing and beat-making while growing up in the Dine reservation as a young percussionist and poet. His style is multifaceted. His stockpile is all-inclusive: Hip-Hop, Spoken Word/Acapella, Instrumental, Breakbeat, Lyrical, Beatboxing, Downtempo, Underground/Freestyle Rap, Contemporary Native-Amercian Acoustic, and everything between. Def-i has maintained a local presence as a resident host every wednesday at ‘Vinyl and Verses’, NM’s longest running hip-hop weekly (7years and counting). For the past couple of years he’s been featured on the local radio station, ‘StreetBeat,’ every friday (89.9 fm www.kunm.org/streaming). He is also not a newcomer to the Hip-Hop realms that co-exist from the East to West Coast for he has opened for and shared the stage with top-tier artists such as KRS-ONE, Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, Evidence of Dilated Peoples, Percee P, Chali2na of Jurassic 5/Ozomatli, Blueprint, Yelawolf of Shady Records, OneBeLo of Binary Star, RA the Rugged Man, and The Chicharones to name a few.
Furthermore, over the recent years, Def-i has also made a name for himself in what was once the world’s largest rap battle league known as ‘Grindtimenow.’ West Coast CEO Lush One stated, “Back in October Lush One and the Machina Muerte clique went on a tour of the entire Western region of the United States searching for new battle rap talent. The stand out performance from the entire tour was by Def-i (stand out up & comer from SouthWest) in Albuquerque, NM. You can look out for him as a new name to watch.” Whether performing in front of a full capacity audience or battling in front of thousands of viewers, Def-i has moved the crowd and persists on delivering consistent craftsmanship each time he forks out his skillful talent.
Through hard work and perseverance, Def-i stands as one of the indefectible factors of Hip-Hop in the Southwest, continuing to provide listeners with quality music/sound. This triple threat mc/producer/sound engineer holds the experience and essential aptitude to be classified amongst any top-quality Hip-Hop artist, worldwide. In a profession that is highly competitive and ever-progressive throughout our times, it is safe to say that Def-i represents living proof of Hip-Hop flourishing over the Southwest and beyond.