Likwit Junkies The LJ's

The world wasn’t exactly waiting with bated breath for a collaboration between Defari and DJ Babu, but it’s clear this project isn’t around to sate the demand from eager hip-hop heads. In fact, both come into this project with something to prove. After the forgettable Odds and Evens, Defari’s status in hip-hop’s underground had reached its lowest ebb, a far cry from his heyday when ABB emerged as a power player in the late ’90s indie rap circuit. DJ Babu also has something to let people know about. His burgeoning production skills were only getting occasional shine within Dilated Peoples, limiting him mainly to vinyl rubs. The duo’s working relationship had previously issued the gem "Behold My Life (remix),” but this record proves that wasn’t a fluke. Here, DJ Babu firmly establishes himself as a producer to reckon with a distinctive throwback flavour. His ear for choice samples, arrangement and overall consistency mixed with sonic cues obviously taken from DJ Premier ensures he holds the entire record together. Defari’s conversational monotone delivery that was such an ill fit for the second-rate Dre-esque beats that dominated Odds and Evens sounds right at home here over Babu’s rugged soundscapes. Invigorated, Defari sounds better than he has done in some time, and the former teacher freely traverses bravado, lover-man and wizened social observer throughout. While the record could have been trimmed by a couple of tracks to lessen the occasional lull, the truth is the record exceeds expectations and is way better than anyone had the right to expect in the first place. (ABB)