Moka Only + Def 3
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Moka Only + Def 3

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
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Moka Only & Def3
Dog River

Now that Vancouver musician/MC Moka Only is no longer tied down to a group or label, he’s once again free to take up his role as “the most prolific.” This time it’s a collaboration with Regina rapper Def 3. The result is an album of comfortable Moka Only-style songs about travel, girls and hip-hop with plenty of dirty samples, smooth production and singsong hooks, with a few quirky, catchy tunes for good measure. Frankly, it’s these quirky songs that are the most interesting, like album apex “Eat a Bomb,” a joust-ready medieval jam, or “Mumble in the Jungle,” with its freaked-out flute sample. Unfortunately, like many of the album’s 15 songs, they’re just too damn short. Most end up as one verse from each MC, a chorus or two and then it’s quickly onto the next jam. I guess that’s just the part of the recording process “the two Dannys” call “just fucking around” (“F**kn Around”). While more song structure would have been nice, Dog River is a solid summer album just in time for the fall. (Ship) - Thomas Quinlan


Moka Only & Def 3

Dog River
[Ship Records/Fontana North]

Dog River is a new collaboration between Vancouver’s Moka Only and an up-and-coming MC from Saskatchewan named Def 3. If you know a bit about hip hop, you’ve likely heard of Moka Only, maybe from his past days as a part of Swollen Members or from one of his releases such as Lime Green and The Desired Effect. Those in the know can tell you that those days are just the tip of the iceberg of Moka’s talent, with a 15-year-long career and more than 30 self-produced solo albums. This collaboration, then, between Moka and Def 3 is one that surprised me because of the widely different styles of these two talented individuals. With Moka’s laid-back, abstract style of singing and rapping, and Def 3’s polished delivery, the album shines with the contrast and talent these two bring to the table and is one of my favourite hip-hop albums to drop in quite a while.

The album starts with a heavy beat layered with samples that appears to be both maniacal Halloween-type laughter and sped-up chipmunk vocals, firing up an album that’s diversity and contrast ties it together. Each track except the fourth was produced by Moka and stays true to his typical production style of intentionally unrefined raw, chunky beats that could be compared to a J Dilla or a Madlib style. The album is amazing front to back, flowing through a diverse variety of amazing beats and well-executed raps from both Moka and Def 3. However, Def 3 sometimes doesn’t alter his precise flow enough throughout some of the diverse beats, although his repetition ends up balancing Moka’s abstraction and helps tie the album together.

I played this album for a few people and had everyone, including some non hip-hop fans, praised the hell out of it. This album shows that Canadian hip hop is alive and well, and hopefully will prove that Canada’s music scene isn’t all trash like Avril Lavigne or Sum 41. From surfers to crack dealers, this album will appeal to any music fan out there and should definitely not be missed. - joelboy


Def 3 & Moka Only
Dog River (Ship/Fontana North)
I’ll say it again, but Moka Only’s bountiful and endless stream of beats and rhymes sets him apart from most people making hip hop in Canada. Here he teams up with Def 3, a capable MC who might not share Moka’s swagger, but is far from a slouch. This collection of songs features some first-class production, Moka’s signature catchy singsong choruses, and more than its share of moments, but the songs themselves seem clipped, and often finish before they should. I’m sure there’s got to be a second album of outtakes or tracks they passed on, but it would have been nice if they’d padded this one a little bit more. 7.8/10 (Scott C) - Scott C


Def 3 Represents Regina Hip-Hop
Monday October 15, 2007 @ 06:00 PM
By: ChartAttack.com Staff

Def 3

There was a time when hip-hop was far more provincial and, if you weren't hustling from Los Angeles or New York City, you simply weren't in the game. And yet MCs worldwide were throwing down not just in urban areas, but in subdivisions, back yards and anywhere else with a pulse. Only now are these regional scenes being acknowledged by ballers, b-boys and others of this ilk.

Regina is one such locale that boasts a subtle, unheralded community that's quietly churning out some serious lyrical talent, led by scene mainstay Def 3. Known to his friends and family as Danny Fernandez, Def 3's DIY approach to hit-making landed his recent single "I Can't Put My Finger On It" on MuchMusic. And with his recently released Dog River full-length (a collaboration with Swollen Members' Moka Only), Def 3 is prepping to shed some more light both on himself and the western Canadian hip-hop community as a whole.

"If you're coming from Los Angeles or New York or even Toronto, there is a certain sound that you typically identify with those cities," he says. "Even if you're trying something new and trying to extend what you're doing, it's hard not to get stuck with certain labels, regardless of what your music actually sounds like.

"You don't have those kinds of stereotypes in a place like Regina. So really, the expectations and biases don't exist."

Def 3 has always been passionate about hip-hop, but it was actually skateboarding that was his first love growing up. He spent hours upon hours wheeling around Victoria Park and other Regina hot spots as a teenager, and even had designs on going pro once he reached the age of majority. However, his interest in hip-hop soon intervened and Def 3 confirms that his burgeoning thirst for music-making put a potential pro career on ice, even though he still skates on a regular basis.

"Skateboarding was my whole life when I was young, and the goal was always to turn professional. But then as my body wore down, I got more into the music and, luckily, the passion and the energy that I had for the sport was pretty easily translated into the music."

Early on, Def 3 established a network of friends and supporters within the Canadian hip-hop community, including DJ/producer Merky Waters, fellow MC Ira Lee (with whom Def 3 formed an outfit called Dead Can Bounce) and Side Road Records founder, Factor. The relationships paid off and Factor became both a colleague and a driver for Def's career, offering space on various Side Road compilations and opening up connections in California and beyond. It even resulted in a spat of Japanese shows, with Saskatoon roughneck Shocks Munro along for the ride.

"[Factor is] basically my equal out of Saskatoon and he has a ton of connections, not just in Canada but all over the States and everywhere else," explains Def 3. "It was one of the Side Road comps he put out that made that Japanese tour happen.

"It actually came about pretty easily and word got around a lot quicker than any of us ever expected. We pooled our resources and it just worked."

Networking continues to pay off for Def 3, considering Moka Only's rep within industry circles and the buzz that Dog River is generating. Only time will tell if the album takes Def's notoriety to the next level, but you can be certain that this former skate-punk is going to get the word out to fellow hip-hop heads and anyone else who might be listening.

"You can't target just the hip-hop fans if you're living in Regina, because the audience just isn't there," he says. "You need to go for music fans in general, and that's what I'm trying to do, whether it's playing with more rock bands or punk bands or whatever.

"The best kind of compliment for me is when I get a non-hip-hop fan coming up to me after a show and telling me he likes my stuff. That's when I know something's working." - Cameron Gordon


DEF3 & MOKA ONLY Featured Artist: Def 3 & Moka Only: The Diaphaneity of Dannys

By: Mina Jasarevic [contact]
Date: November 5th 2007

http://www.myspace.com/def3mokaonly
http://www.myspace.com/def3
http://www.myspace.com/mokaonly
DEF3 & MOKA ONLY

Regina, SK - Numerous Canadian hip-hop writers seem to shed light on collaborations between American and Canadian MCs. Recently, vast importance is placed on Belly by these writers as he collaborates with names such as Scarface and Kurupt. The hype is comparable to Kardinal Offishall’s gigantic collabos including those with Akon and Pharrell. Perhaps these writers are excited to see Canadian talent associate their names with some of the biggest bigwigs in the hip-hop industry. Perhaps, at the same time, these writers are also placing expectations on the Canadian artists to evolve from the Canadian scene altogether and attempt to enter the oh-so competitive world of U.S. hip-hop. Whatever the reasons for illuminating the Canadian/U.S. love-affair, they seem less apt to celebrate the same love story when two Canadian MCs cross paths – and make one of the dopest CDs currently produced on the Canadian market.

Ladies and gents, I’d like to introduce Dog River, the first collaboration by Danny and Danny a.k.a. DEF 3 and Moka Only. They share the same name, and they most definitely share chemistry on an album that is loaded with carefully-chosen beats, consistent flow, and an obvious love for hip-hop that can be felt through its abundant energy and a return to rhyme and reason. Toronto-born DEF 3 (who now resides in Regina, Saskatchewan) upped his own game when he sat down to collaborate with the most underrated MC in Canada’s history of hip-hop. Aside from being a workaholic and rhyming far more than resting, B.C.’s Moka Only has contributed to hip-hop’s culture with a conglomerate of CD releases (it’s safe to say we stopped counting), and a thirst for innovation and growth.

Dog River promises originality as it elucidates the bare truth of both artists, which can be heard on tracks such as “ I Don’t Wanna Go Home”, a beautifully-crafted expression of love for hip-hop and MC’ing. DEF 3 and Moka Only have the potent ability to grasp the listener through tracks of emotional pleas such as “Let Me In” where both artists appeal to the heads and hip-hop listeners everywhere to basically, let them in. While petitioning for a chance, they’re also letting us know that they’re not going anywhere. “ Can’t stop/won’t stop/this is bigger than the artist”. The album is a product of an intelligently-orchestrated partnership, which in itself promises creativity, excitement, and rhyme; essentially, a fall’s must for your CD player. In an exclusive for HipHopCanada.com, I caught up with DEF 3 and Moka Only to discuss Dog River, Canadian hip-hop and of course, upcoming projects to keep an eye out for.

DEF3 & MOKA ONLYHHC: What were your expectations for the album and have they been met so far?

DEF 3: More than I expected as far as publicity and people’s interest. The average interest seems to be a lot more than I thought it would be.

HHC: How has Saskatchewan’s hip-hop culture supported this album?

DEF 3: Actually, really well. Our scene here is really tight, so we have a lot of people saying, “I bought it at HMV even when I didn’t know” or people would be like, “Keep up the good work”. For the most part, I haven’t had really any negative criticism – not that I wouldn’t take the criticism – but I think overall, Saskatchewan has been really supportive of it.

HHC: Moka Only, you have a prolific history of putting out numerous solo releases. What made you decide to do this collaboration?

Moka Only: It’s another chapter in my career really. It’s another album I have out – I don’t mean to say that in a cheap way – it’s definitely a special project. I’ve known DEF 3 for a while now and we’ve been talking about doing something for a couple of years. I visited the prairies and I saw that he had accumulated a good little buzz of his own and it just made sense. It wasn’t really that well planned out in the beginning; we just started recording out in Regina. After the first session, we were like, “Hey, let’s just do a whole project and see where it goes from there”.

HHC: How would you feel about working on another album with DEF 3?

Moka Only: Me and DEF are actually about to start another one.

HHC: Can you give us a heads-up about that?

Moka Only: No. No heads-up. It’ll come together just like the last. I think on this next one though, we’ll have a little more interpolation between our raps – a lot more back-and-forth as opposed to, “Ok, here’s my verse and here’s his verse.”

HHC: Why is hip-hop so important? Other than the commercialization of hip-hop, what is its underlying significance?

Moka Only: I don’t know anymore.

HHC: What did you think before?

Moka Only: I thought it was something making young people a little more aware of their surroundings whether it’s politically or socially; these days, I don’t know so much anymore. To me, it’s entertainment. I still try to keep a certain level of intelligence in there.

DEF 3: It’s a really good way to express [oneself]. A lot of kids relate to it. As an artist, you have a potential to show people to see themselves.

HHC: So do you think there’s a responsibility from the artist to the listener?

DEF 3: I think so – but that’s the way it works in my head. And some people would tell me that I’m doing that wrong. I guess it’s the way you look at it. A lot of people get into hip-hop assuming the industry is going to blow them up and they’re going to be the next big thing; but I never looked at it that way. I think as an artist, you should be expressing yourself so people can know who you are when they listen to your album. Some people don’t know themselves and try to make a catchy club song – which is fine, but I look at hip-hop and listen to other MCs’ lyrics and it has influenced parts of my life. For me, that’s what it is. I really love being onstage and having someone who can listen to my lyrics and say, “I understand what you’re saying”.

HHC: What is the current state of Canadian hip-hop, and particularly, what do you feel is missing?

DEF 3: It’s getting better. I like the state that hip-hop is in Canada; I think it’s growing and people are gaining interest. But the first thing missing is the support of itself. Also, I think a lot of artists try to mimic what’s going on in other places; people need to be honest with their music…

HHC: What would help it in terms of support?

DEF 3: I think media has to do with it a bit. Sometimes I look at Canada and I think that we miss a section of how it’s supposed to go. And it went from… instead of people coming up in Canada and then the media becoming interested and doing it here… I think we missed out on some middle steps. I think also it’s harder in Canada. We have less of a population of people.

Moka Only: I don’t really know what the current state of Canadian hip-hop is. I live under a rock, I just do my own business and if I happen to hear something that catches my ear and sounds good, that’s good. Something that’s missing? I think people need to lighten up a little bit and show a little bit more variety, that’s all.

DEF3 & MOKA ONLY

HHC: Are you speaking about a particular style that’s out right now, or a particular trend?

Moka Only: Yeah. It’s so in vogue to be the most thugged-out street soldier but the truth is no matter where you go there is no wild-west-shoot-‘em-up-bang-bang street scene per se. There’s isolated incidence that happen in every ghetto – granted. But it’s turned into a WWF type of thing. And from an entertainment standpoint, I understand that. I can see how some kids would take it as fun; but a lot of people take that shit way too seriously. And once again, when that is the main stay in hip-hop, as viewed by the general mass, I think people are selling themselves short. Variety is important. Look at what the ghetto is – the ghetto is a neighborhood. It may be an impoverished neighborhood but it’s a neighborhood. Many more things happen in the average hood than just gun clapping, know what I’m saying? And I know this, I live in the hood. It’s people - families being raised; laundry being done; dinners being made; your cat’s up a tree…there’s a million different things [happening]. And all throughout the 90’s, I felt hip-hop was very good at showcasing variety and different view-points… and individualism. I’m seeing less and less of that these days. And the people that are doing it are not getting the shine – because that’s not sellable.

HHC: How was the production split? Usually you make your own beats. What do you look for when choosing beats from other producers?

Moka Only: [Laughing] I’m really picky. Reeeally picky. I look for something unique that’s not really being done. Sampling is important to me. I think it represents our culture and where we came from as hip-hop artists. Sampling is an integral part… and I listen to somebody doing something other than just doing straight loops on their beats. Secondly, I like to hear a human element in hip-hop production. I also look for people that turn off their computers’ timing correction – I like to hear when people are using their own actual, natural rhythm - and are not relying on the computer to correct their timing. I like a loose feel, an experimental feel, and I like a little bit of a classic hip-hop feel – it’s important to me.

HHC: What is more important, the product or the process?

DEF 3: I’d say 50/50. For myself as an artist, the process is the part that I’m learning. Then the product itself is what you can look back after and see where you can grow from there.

Moka Only: Man, I don’t know. I think they’re on equal plateaus to tell you the truth. I enjoy the process of recording so much. It’s my favorite addiction.

DEF3 & MOKA ONLY - DOG RIVER

HHC: What type of a contribution has Dog River brought to hip-hop, in general?

DEF 3: I think right now in hip-hop there’s a lot of focus on club-oriented music…it was more fun than anything recording that album. We weren’t in the studio trying to make a club hit or anything. I think for people who are really interested in golden-era hip-hop… that would be a good album for them.

Moka Only: I think it brought a little bit of light-heartedness back into the hip-hop game. I don’t know, that sounds a little bit audacious for me to say – it’s not like nobody else is doing that, but I’m just saying: the more and more rap I hear from newer and younger artists, it seems like they’re just trying to follow what’s on television or whatever trend is poppin’. I think we just give a little bit of a fun injection into the hip-hop game.

Editor’s note: For more information on DEF 3 & Moka Only check out http://www.myspace.com/def3mokaonly, http://www.myspace.com/def3 or http://www.myspace.com/mokaonly. - Mina Jasarevic


Discography

Def3:
*Dead Can't Bounce - " i aint afraid of no ghost" full length LP 2003 FrekSho Records
*Factor - "3" featured on track "Whatup Sun"
Compilation 2004 Sideroad Records
*Cam the Wizard - "For The Rest of My Life" Featured on Track "Sideroad Trip " 2004 Sideroad Records
*Factor - "Heights" Featured track " ourglass" Compilation 2005 Sideroad Records
*Ismaila- "Mark of The Zebra" 12" and LP Featured on Track "ForceFeed" 2005 Freksho Records
*Def 3 - "Huglife" full length LP Solo album 2005 Ship Records Inc.
*Nolto- "Red All Over" Featured on Track 2006 Sideroad Records
*Metropolis Now - "Self Titled" full length LP Group album 2006 Sideroad Records
*Laugh And Cry - "Sounds of Humming Hip Hop" Metropolis Now Featured Track " Another Tomorrow" Japanese Compilation 2006 Hue Records (Japan Only Press)
*Factor - "Famous Nights empty days" 12" and LP Compilation Featured Track " I Can't Put My finger On It" 2006 Sideroad Records
*Def 3 + Moka Only - "Dog River" LP (2007)
Ship Records Inc.
*Oye! - " self titled" EP(2008)- Ship Records Inc.
*Def 3 and Factor - "Drumbo" LP(2009) - Ship Records Inc.

Moka Only:

Solo Albums
* Moka Only is.... Ron Contour - (2001)
* Lime Green - (2001)
* Flood - (2002)
* Lowdown Suite - (2003)
* Martain Xmas (2004)
* The Desired Effect - (2005)
* The Desired Effect II - (2006)
* Dirty Jazz - (2006) (Japanese)
* Station Agent - (October 24, 2006)
* Airport - (2007)
* Vermillion - (2007)
* Airport 2 - (2008)
*Claptrap- (2008)
*Carrots And Eggs (2008)

Collaborations
* Moka Only & Ishkan "Nowfolk" - Style Gangsters (1999)
* Moka Only & Jeff Spec "The Rappers" - Rappin' Atchu (1999)
* Moka Only, Prevail, Abstract Rude "Code Name: Scorpion" - Code Name: Scorpion (2001)
* Moka Only & Kirby Dominant "Dominant Mammals" - Super Future Stars (2002)
* Moka Only & Maya Jupiter "Perhaps" - Fat Laced Funk Volume 1 (2002)
* Moka Only & Ishkan "Nowfolk" - Nowfolk II "The Moon" (2004)
* Moka Only & Def 3 - Dog River (2007)
* Moka Only & Atsushi Numata - Moka Only Vs. Numata (Japanese) (2007)
* Moka Only & Psy "The Nope" - TBA

Guest Appearances & Other Work
* Moka Only / Sixtoo - Crystal Senate Split EP (Hand'Solo Records)
* Swollen Members - Bad Dreams
* Swollen Members - Monsters in the Closet
* Swollen Members - Heavy
* Swollen Members - Black Magic
* Living Legends - Angels W.I.T. Dirty Faces
* Abyssinian Creole - Sexy Beast
* Sweatshop Union - Natural Progression
* Kyprios - Say Something
* Sunspot Jonz - Only the Strong Shall Survive (Part II)
* Sunspot Jonz - Don't Let 'Em Stop You
* Planet Asia - The Sickness
* The Factor - Time Invested
* DJ Murge - Search and Rescue
* FatJack - Cater 2 the DJ
* Chin - Day Dreaming
* Len - You Can't Stop the Bum Rush
* Westnyle and Raw Blow's Uncut Mixtape Vol.2 westnyle.net
* Fatty Down - Famous Nobody (Production Credit)
* Gabriel Teodros - Lovework
* NWNB - Cupocreeps & 60403 (Production & Vocals)
* Infinite P - Flyin So High Mixtape & Westword Mixtape

Compilations
* Defenders of the Underworld
* Battleaxe Warriors
* Battleaxe Warriors II
* Battleaxe Warriors III
* Lyrics of Fury
* Lyrics of Fury II
* Lyrics of Fury III
* A Piece of the Action
* On Top of the World
* Mad Love Compilation
* C**k Dynamics: Sensual Canadian Hip Hop

Photos

Bio

In todays watered down hip hop culture it is rare to find emcees who stay true to their roots, fans and self through their music. With nowadays low record sales, and gimmick marketing ploys many artists will do whatever it takes to succeed except be themselves. Not only have these two artists broken that mould but have done so breaking through stereotypes and setting the par in todays Canadian Hip Hop scene.
Def 3 and his self owned Ship Records brings you his latest release featuring his partner in rhyme Moka Only. The both “Danny’s unite” on this Saskatchewan meets BC project. Both are underground success stories. Moka Only is one of Canada’s top selling hip-hop artists with three Juno’s to his name having been part of the Canadian ground-breaking group Swollen Members. This recording addict with over 30 releases to his name hooks up with Regina emcee Def 3 who has sold thousands of albums with his releases independently on his own Ship Records Inc. and Saskatoon’s Side Road Records.
Proving that hip hop is not dead their album "Dog River" was released in late september 2007 and headed straight to top of college hip hop chartstop ten for over 14 weeks nation wide. The album maintained a number one spot overall for over 9 weeks on website charts such as earshot.com and chartattack.com above several major label and so called commercial artists. While both emcees maintain a steady peformance and release schedule on their own they continue to perform together across the nation and are already in the process of recording their second album together for release later this year.