Dragon Fli Empire is Cowtown's premiere hip hop act. The dynamic duo of DJ Cosm and Teekay appeal to a wide variety of music fans with their upbeat, melodic and positive sound. It all started with Mount Pleasant, their catchy tune about riding the bus. The cult popularity of this unabashedly Calgary anthem propelled DFE from the basement to the national stage. The crew now enjoys heavy rotation on campus radio across North America (charting well on CMJ, Earshot and ChartAttack) plus distribution deals in places like Finland and Japan. They have also appeared numerous times on MuchMusic, CBC Radio and CBC Television. DFE has toured across Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland and parts of the U.S., and has showcased at their talents at various festivals including Warped Tour, Calgary Folk Fest, Folk on the Rocks, Sled Island, Shambhala, Rock the Bells, the Western Canadian Music Awards and JunoFest.
For a full list of current and past shows:
Tarik Robinson (Teekay) - Vocals
Adam Hicks (DJ Cosm) - Backup Vocals, Turntables
*Conquest (2004 Makebelieve)
*Invasion (2005 Makebelieve)
*Intermission EP (2008 Makebelieve)
*Redefine (2009 Makebelieve)
*Inquest (2007 P-Vine)
*Redefine (2008 P-Vine)
*Abstrakt Vinyl Compilation (2005 Makebelieve) "Headphones"
*Roc the Crowd ft. Ohmega Watts (2007 Bigfoot)
*Ride On EP (2009 Traveller)
*New Music Canada, Vol. 1 (2004 CBC)
*Grow Up! Hold Your Ground Vol. 4 (2005 Indie)
*Alive From CJSW (2005 Indie)
*Up North Trip Vol. 4 (2006 Audio Research)
*Underground Hip Hop Vol. 4 (2006 URBNET)
*Mellow Beats, Rhymes and Vibes (2007 P-Vine)
*Beat Studies: Lesson Two (2008 P-Vine)
Intermission EP review
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Let's keep all this Alberta love flowing! If you know my history, you know I've always had plenty of...Let's keep all this Alberta love flowing! If you know my history, you know I've always had plenty of love for Alberta hip hop, and the feeling is clearly mutual as the Albums keep flowing eastward for the hill review treatment. The latest such album is the Intermission EP from Calgary's Dragon Fli Empire, comprised of MC Teekay and DJ Cosm.
This is the group's third release since forming in 2002, and based on the down-to-earth quality on display here, you can see why they've developed a loyal following in their hometown. You can count me amongst that following now for sure, as Intermission is the kind of golden-age inspired hip hop that will always be a winner with me. Teekay is a confident MC with an east to digest flow who writes lyrics about everyday issues (you know, things 95% of their audience can relate to), but does so with a style that keeps things interesting. And there's scratching on almost every song! By an actual DJ! What a novel concept. I think it's been a while since I've asked why more hip hop records don't have scratches on them these days, but I suppose I just did.
The production on this EP is solid, if a little understated, but I think it matches Teekay's laid back flow almost perfectly. Both group members handle production duties with DJ Cosm producing 3-4 tracks and Teekay twiddling the knobs on the jazzy Tribe vibes of album opener Hi-Fli which serves as a nice history of the band up to this point. DJ Cosm's funky drums, the quirky cameo by Cadence Weapon, Kirby Small's guitar licks, and the soulful vocals of Lynn Olagundoye come together on Outside Inn and the result is so enjoyable we were pleased to include it on our Alberta mix.
Teekay breaks out some solid 80's inspired fast raps on CGY, and runs down a breakneck trip through Cowtown for those not familiar with the groups hometown. Day Job is a fun ode to the way most Canadian artists (and bloggers!) pay the bills, and it gurgles with Moka Only's signature synths. Calgary producer Metawon provides the beats on the Headphones remix, which also features a fellow Albertan MC, the always-solid Touch. The sunny reggae vibes on Identiteye bring to mind some of the sounds on Politic Live's last album, another Albertan group that I enjoyed.
It's usually always a good sign when you feel an EP has gone by too quick and you're left wanting to hear more. That's how I felt after listening to the Intermission EP, so needless to say, I'm looking forward to a full-length from Dragon Fli Empire. For now, I suggest you check out this great little album, which just so happens to be perfect music for the sunny weather that has hopefully spread to your corner of the globe by now.
Dragon Fli Empire Plan Eastern 'Invasion' With New LP
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Calgary’s reigning hip hop duo Dragon Fli Empire (DFE) are set to leave the town of rodeo-loving, mu...Calgary’s reigning hip hop duo Dragon Fli Empire (DFE) are set to leave the town of rodeo-loving, mud-slinging cowboys behind for while as they court of the sophisticated world of central Canada. They’ll head toward the St. Lawrence in early May, but before embarking on the four-date mini tour, DFE pay their respects to Cowtown with two performances later this week.
Hitting Toronto, Ottawa (twice), and Montreal in support of their upcoming sophomore release, the two-piece are finally giving the people what they want after three long years since the original CD-R release of their debut album, Conquest. With a CD release party planned for their Toronto gig, Invasion is destined to add to the heaps of praise DFE have already received.
The boys of DFE are growing bigger and bigger within the lauded Canadian indie rap scene. They are quite chummy with New Music Canada/CBC Radio 3, and Much Music recently featured them on a Calgary edition of Going Coastal. To check out what DFE have to offer (including the much loved single “Mount Pleasant”), go to the band’s site at www.dfempire.net.
Invasion - Review
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Dragon Fli Empire The Invasion LP By Thomas Quinlan With Invasion, Calgary, AB's Teekay (rappe...Dragon Fli Empire
The Invasion LP
By Thomas Quinlan
With Invasion, Calgary, AB's Teekay (rapper/producer) and Cosm (DJ/producer) demonstrate a greater confidence as a duo. Their second effort has a smooth, mellow groove with boom-bap drums and positive, uplifting lyrics and sweet memories. Plus, there's a definite nod to the mid-’90s sound. The Dragon Fli Empire make some interesting choices: "Tight Spot," which features a rare slow verse from Mindbender, contains live didgeridoo by Chris Murdok that threatens to break into a beat box at any moment; and "Freshman" is a faux live track that does feature live melodica by Chaz, however. The posse cut that follows ("Three") features female Vancouver rapper Ndidi Cascade and a song-ending freestyle from Toronto's More Or Les. All three tracks are highlights, as are a few other hype tracks: "Invasion," a posse cut with Touch and Chaz; "Rock the Crowd" with Omega Watts; "Mount Pleasant Remix," featuring FAS KREW crew members Belo and Shortop; and the fist-pumping funk of "The City." On a different vibe is Teekay's chilled ode to "Headphones," while on "Everyday" he laments on a couple of deaths and still gives the song a positive spin over a funky soul track that leaves plenty of room to add your own vocals. By the end of Invasion it's obvious that the DFE are still D-E-F, only more so. (MakeBelieve)
New Music Canada Vol. 01 (liner notes)
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If anyone's going to put Calgary on the Canadian hip hop map it will be Dragon Fli Empire, led by th...If anyone's going to put Calgary on the Canadian hip hop map it will be Dragon Fli Empire, led by the casual flow of MC Teekay and the jazzy boom-bap of DJ Cosm. Their 2002 debut album features Mount Pleasant, the catchiest Canadian rap about public transit since the Shuffle Demons' Spadina Bus. Conquest has just been remixed and re-released, with another EP from this cowtown crew to follow in late 2004.
Top 20 ('03) Another Year, Another List
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09. Mount Pleasant by Dragon Fli Empire This is hip hop that resonates with hip hop fans and non-fa...09. Mount Pleasant by Dragon Fli Empire
This is hip hop that resonates with hip hop fans and non-fans alike. While Dragon Fli Empire didn't have a huge presence on the charts this year, their single Mount Pleasant contains just about everything you need for an addictive song- a jazzy, danceable beat with easy rhymes infused with an urban sensibility.
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Last, but hardly least, on the new release counter is the long awaited, finally completed disc by Dr...Last, but hardly least, on the new release counter is the long awaited, finally completed disc by Dragon Fli Empire. The hip-hop duo have been receiving a ton of attention locally and beyond, recently being featured on Zed TV (CBC) and at the Radio 3 Connect the Dots tour’s Calgary stop. Their record, Conquest, makes it pretty clear that while not necessarily a hotbed of hip-hop (though all the rappers hawking their homemade discs to drunken revelers stumbling around 17th Ave. after every Flames games may have you thinking just that), Calgary is growing in leaps and bounds.
Two halves of the same whole
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Dragon Fli Empire's Teekay and Cosm make beautiful music together JASON LEWIS Teekay and Cosm....Dragon Fli Empire's Teekay and Cosm make beautiful music together
Teekay and Cosm. Black and white. The rapper and the DJ. One is a practical optimist, the other a level-headed pragmatist. Together they seem like two halves of the same whole. Together they are the Dragon Fli Empire.
Cosm is a member of Calgary's Urban Farmers and Teekay clocks time with the FAS Krew (and Edmonton-Calgary hip-hop collective), but together as Dragon Fli Empire, the two have cultivated a distinctive partnership. The former prefers the big synth, James Brown-style breaks of the late-'80s, early '90s hip-hop and the latter is down with the jazzy funk of hip-hop circa '91 to '97, but when they combine their respective influences, the result is a smooth, laidback sound.
The two first collaborated in 2002, when Teekay approached Cosm to help develop oe of his tracks. That experience was so successful, they decided to work together on a full-length recording. To hear them talk about their music, it's no surprise that they work well together. Partnerships are never easy, but these two guys finish each other's sentences.
"When we both fuse our musical talents," says Teekay...
"Our strengths come together," says Cosm, finishing his thought.
"It's really cool," says Teekay.
Since their first collaboration, the two have recorded an album and in the process become CBC darlings with their hit "Mount Pleasant" - a simple, groove-rich song about riding the bus, which was the No. 9 single on the CBC's Top 20 last year. Now, after remixing and remastering the album, they are set to release the definitive version of their debut, Conquest. Aside from the strength of the music, Teekay and Cosm, who simply refer to themselves as the DFE, credit their success to their uncanny ability to collaborate with each other.
"A lot of times when you try to do something, it's just a clash of personalities 'cause one guy has a vision and it has to done his way... and nothing ever gets done," says Teekay. "(But with us,) as we each get inspiration, we feed off of that and we don't interfere with each other. It's a successful formula, so we're going to keep doing it.
"I could never do something on my own, because I'm too critical," says Teekay. "I have nothing to measure it against, so working with Cosm actually worked out being the most beautiful thing, because instead of having to be the perfectionist, with the other person, it balances that out and you can just with stuff that's good, instead of never coming out with anything because your standards are too high or too unknown."
With their partnership having grown steadily over the past two years, the DFE are excited to get Conquest out to the masses. Sure, the album was originally released over a year and a half ago, but at the time it was a limited-edition run of only 200 home-pressed CDRs. It had an impressive showing, to be sure, but now with a deluxe reissue of the album on Teekay and Cosm's newly-minted Makebelieve Records, audiences will get a chance to bear witnes to that DFE perfectionism.
"Basically we skimmed a bit of the fat," says Cosm, describing Conquest redux. "It's been remastered. A lot of the sound-quality issues that we were struggling with have been fixed." In addition, to those sonic Band-Aids, Conquest features a few new tracks, a brand new DFE single and a remix with the help of Ubiquity Records artist Ohmega Watts. While the differences may not be massive, the revised album offers a more refined version of the trademark Dragon Fli Empire formula - a formula that is easily defined by both halves of the DFE.
"It's not completely lacking in substance, like most listener-friendly hip-hop," says Cosm, "and someone who has a keen ear for music is definitely going to pick up on it."
"It's funky," says Teekay. "That's what the DFE is all about."
CELEB TOP FIVE
The top five favourite tracks according to Teekay from Dragon Fli Empire:
1. "They Reminisce Over You" by Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
2. "Runnin'" by the Pharcyde
3. "Electric Relaxation" by A Tribe Called Quest
4. "You're a Winner" by Curtis Mayfield
5. "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers
Enter the Dragon and check yo' Fli
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Even though Calgary's hip-hop scene is small and unknown, many local urban artists are willing to co...Even though Calgary's hip-hop scene is small and unknown, many local urban artists are willing to contribute their mind and soul to the growing culture. Leading the pack are DJ Cosm and Teekay, collectively known as Dragon Fli Empire. Just last month, they released their spectacular debut album Conquest after their single "Mount Pleasant" made it onto CBC Radio's Top 20. Now, the duo is devoting their time to preach hip-hop to the city.
"I'm honored to be able to bring hip-hop to people who normally wouldn't be into it." Teekay comments. "For example, the CBC guys are usually more into electronica and rock, but they liked us because they could see the honesty in our music. We don't try to be something that we're not--like gangsters or something."
Teekay has worked for CBC Television in Edmonton and Uprok Records in Seattle, but now creates rhymes of an easy-going, spiritual, fun, and very conscious nature. Using mostly jazz for smooth and melodic samples, Teekay also produces his own beats. As the host of popular CJSW show, Mental Illness, every Sunday evening, DJ Cosm can talk your ears off about any hip-hop affiliated person under the sun. A natural music-lover, a scratch deejay, producer, and promoter for many underground shows, he is undoubtedly the back-bone of the Calgary scene. Combining their talents, they're able to produce some of the finest hip-hop music Calgary has ever seen in the form of their new album, Conquest.
With a limited budget and only one month to record, the duo rode a Greyhound bus to Edmonton to create the album at DJ Nato's studio. DFE wanted to stay away from depressing lyrics or beats, opting for a more positive vibe. The lyrics to the track "Beauty Full", for example, speaks about the wonderful little things a person can encounter every morning and night.
"When I make a beat and if it's got a more positive swing to it, I give it to Teekay," DJ Cosm comments about the team's collaboration. "He encourages me to keep creating upbeat stuff."
Both members are thrilled about their rising fame, but ultimately would like to help put Calgary on the mainstream hip-hop map, just like Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver.
"Different areas of the country suffer from an identity crisis until someone makes it big." Teekay comments. "[Canadian rappers] used to pretend they were from L.A. or New York in interviews. It wasn't cool to live in Vancouver until the Rascals and Swollen Members helped to 'legitimize' that city. [Calgary] is just going through that same stage."
"We've built this up from the ground," DJ Cosm remarks. "It's important to support your local artists. Burn the dude on MCA Universal Studios with twenty videos before the local guys--that's the way to keep us going."
Calgary's Conquest - DFE makes a buzz
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DRAGON FLI EMPIRE W/ DJ Weez Il, Tengu Ninja Team, DJ Brace (Canadian DMC Champion) Sun, Oct 31 B...DRAGON FLI EMPIRE
W/ DJ Weez Il, Tengu Ninja Team, DJ Brace (Canadian DMC Champion)
Sun, Oct 31
Backroom Vodka Bar (10324-82Ave)
DJ Cosm and Teekay, better known as Dragon Fli Empire, are playing their part? with their latest release Conquest?in inspiring underdogs to put the Prairies on the hip-hop map.
With a feature on the New Music Canada Volume 1 compilation, a Top 20 song on CBC Radio 3, and a performance on ZED TV tonight (Oct 28), Dragon Fli Empire are among Alberta?s leading hip-hop acts.
Dragon Fli Empire recently showcased at the Western Canadian Music Awards, what was that like?
Teekay: It was an honour to be selected to perform at the WCMA festival. It definitely was our "coming out" party for the music industry. There were several notable names there. We also performed at the Industry Awards at the Palliser Hotel in front of 400 industry people. We?re one of the first crews from Alberta trying to really take it to the next level. We?re trying to pave the path for the next groups to come after us.
What?s Calgary?s scene like?
In Calgary it?s traditionally been fragmented. People weren?t linking up together with a common goal of getting the scene established. But recently, that started to change for the better. There is still a little bit of a divide between rappers that gear themselves more towards the club audience and the rappers who are really underground. But we?re starting to see some bridges being formed between those two sides.
How does it compare to Edmonton?s?
We appreciate both of the scenes. Our album, for the most part, was recorded was at DJ Nato?s Up In Arms recording studio [in Edmonton]. Curtis Santiago, Chris Plus, Shortop, and Nato are all guests on our CD. But our home is in Calgary, and we?ve built a lot of connections with some of the groups down here. I appreciate the history in Edmonton?s scene; it?s more established than Calgary. There are also seems less of a divide between the club rap and the underground rap in Edmonton. In Calgary, I appreciate the new found unity and the hunger of some of these up and coming groups to make a name for the entire city and not just themselves. Both cities are definitely on the rise, and I hope we can combine our efforts to make a strong Alberta scene. We?re only three hours away.
Conquest LP - Review
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What's the first thing you think of when you hear the term "local hip-hop"? Fly posters covered in i...What's the first thing you think of when you hear the term "local hip-hop"? Fly posters covered in illegible graffiti for a show at the Polish Cultural Centre? That kid in your social class in the unwashed Exco jeans? Or perhaps that guy (we've all seen him) with the ghetto blaster on 17th Avenue, selling his homemade tape with all the subtlety of a used car salesman and a megaphone? If this is the imagery that comes to mind, it's no wonder the thought of "local hip-hop" is enough to make almost anyone cringe.
This is why it's a damn shame the debut full-length by Dragon Fli Empire will probably be sadly, sadly slept on.
The Conquest LP is easily the most solid Calgarian hip-hop recording since DJ Pump's 2001 funk pastiche, One For The System (another criminally overlooked release). Worth its weight in both lyrics and production, MC/journalism graduate Teekay, along with turntablist/CJSW radio disc jock DJ Cosm, deliver an album that will take you back to a simpler time in hip-hop, when lyrical skills were as abundant as the jazz and funk samples they rode on. Taking its cue from early '90s gems like Boogiemonsters' Underwater Album and Resurrection by the artist formerly known as Common Sense, the Conquest LP is an album saturated in obscure jazz samples poured over giant drum tracks and tied together by Teekay's soothing baritone. While the production doesn't score too many points in the originality department, Teekay's clever and uniquely Calgarian rhymes are a saving grace for anyone who feels the album's tracks are nostalgic to the point of detriment.
Teekay's lyrical embrace of his hometown is truly what sets this album above its competitors. While many indie releases try to deny their roots by evoking imagery found on American television, The Conquest LP is a proudly Calgarian effort, even if many of the tracks were recorded in Edmonton, Portland and Tacoma. For evidence of this, look no further than the track "Mount Pleasant", an ode to the Killarney/17th Avenue bus route. You're practically sitting on the bus next to him as Teekay contemplates "the beauty of the landscape" and "the miracle of human life in a baby's eyes glowing with excitement." Describing his scenery like only a true Transit Head can, Teekay's lyrical prowess is often the shining highlight on this record, rivaled only by DJ Cosm's brilliantly understated production and scratches on "Beauty Full", quite easily the song that can break them into a mainstream audience.
So forget Exco Jeans and the Polish Cultural Centre. Dragon Fli Empire's debut album is the embodiment of the term "local hip-hop," and for once, that's a compliment.
-Chris dela Torre
Set length can run from 30 to 45 minutes depending on what is necessary, some songs have introductory skits. Our set is high energy, with funky beats to get the crowd rocking. There is a lot of call-and-response. Cosm spins the beats, provides backup vocals and scratching. Teekay is the emcee, with amazing poetic rhythms and an infectious postive vibe.
3. Tight Spot
5. Ride On
7. Spanish Story
8. The Entity
9. DJ Cosm scratch showcase
10. Bob Marley "Jamming" interlude
13. The City verse (acapella) + freestyle
15. Mount Pleasant
16. Be Free
There are no upcoming dates at this time.