Defacto Thezpian
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Defacto Thezpian

Durham, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Durham, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Solo Hip Hop Jazz

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Apr
11
Defacto Thezpian @ Kings

Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

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In sports, high-quality teams often play down to lesser competition, performing poorly in the absence of a worthy opponent as though they require a foil in order to focus. Likewise, good rappers sometimes trip through bad production, stumbling over beats that don't challenge their own skills.

That is the case for Durham rapper Defacto Thezpian on his Raheem Royal: An Induction to Greatness EP. Defacto Thezpian is one of the Triangle's most exuberant emcees, and these tracks brim with lyrical firepower, or at least the suggestion of it. But they're often mired in dreary beats and unimaginative concepts.

The signs of trouble arrive early with "Put It in Rotation," a four-minute song with a loop that barely evolves. "The Misled" and "Bodily Circumstances" fall victim to similar pitfalls, burdened by fake strings and percussion kits that are the wrong kinds of throwbacks. And too often, Thezpian rushes through his lyrics. Though he's one of the quickest rappers in the Triangle, he still manages to get himself tongue-tied frequently, starting with the aptly titled opener, "Rambling."

When producer Ron Jovi finally musters a strong beat, as on the second portion of "The Misled," Defacto finds fertile ground, laying down one of his best verses here: "My rapping is prevalent, I think it's rather evident, you couldn't copy me even if you was Kinko's/She messing with them freaks, I be with them kink hoes."

Likewise, collaborations with fellow Bull City artists provide better moments. Featuring Lil Bob Doe, the fraught, overcast "Game Don't Change" is the album's peak, while bonus track "Top of the Chandelier," helmed by Alex Aff, shows what Defacto can accomplish with a different producer.

Defacto's quality rises and falls with the music behind him. The good news for him? Based on his backing here, he's not even close to his ceiling. - Ryan Coccoa


Diversions: You have an interesting stage name. How did you choose it? Defacto Thezpian: Well it’s funny you ask. I was in Nepal — no, not really. I would say back in my junior year of high school, Hillside High School, Durham, N.C. A lot of people around me were saying the word ‘real’ a lot. And me and my cousin DeKyan Dennis were trying to find a parody — well not a parody of it, but more so just trying to find another way of saying real without actually saying the word ‘real.’ So, one night we were up talking, laughing and all that and stuff, and she looked up synonyms for the word ‘real.’ One of them was ‘tangible,’ and the other was ‘de facto.’ Of course, if you use it in the right context, it would mean real. I was like, “I’ve never heard of that word before,” and by then I had switched my rap name in high school to ‘Thespian’ but on my Facebook it said, ‘Defacto Thezpian,’ because I just liked the way it sounded. By the beginning of my senior year I’d decided, you know what? ‘Defacto Thezpian’ sounds real catchy, we might need to keep that. Thespian of course meaning actor, the last name of the first recorded actor … I can’t remember, maybe Roman or Greek or — somewhere. Anyway, I put a “z” in it to make it look sexy and “de facto” of course meaning “real.” Therefore, my name literally means “real actor.” Dive: You’re releasing your first album, Adolescent Thoughts soon. Why did you choose to release an album and not a mixtape? DT: Well, I’ve been doing mixtapes since I was a freshman. Of course I didn’t really take it seriously until I got out of high school. I just feel like the mixtape game is really played out. And through experience of being in a band, and being a musician, you see that people have more respect for the title of an album than for a mixtape. Dive: Schnozy. You say that a lot. What does that mean exactly? DT: I guess the most accurate definition of schnozy, would be, “cool.” But it’s one of those words kind of like ‘de facto.’ Depending on the context you use it in, it determines what it could mean. Dive: So, you essentially made up a word? DT: That is a made up word. Yes. S-C-H-N-O-Z-Y. And actually I have a song for it on my album. A song to get people into the ways of schnoz - Mballa Mendouga


It was a clear, calm Durham night. The word about Pac Div hitting the city had spread like a virus. It was everywhere.

I arrived at The Pinhook downtown, inside the loop and paid $14 to get in. The venue was dark, dank, and industrial. A perfect vibe for a Hip-Hop show.

The crowd was anxious for the show to start, because by the time I arrived, it should have started 15 minutes earlier. Unfortunately, Well$ opened the night up with mess up after mess up. I’m not sure if it was because of nerves or the lack of ample sound on stage. However, forgetting the lyrics to his own song was more than a tad bit disappointing.

By this time a decent sized crowd had developed, but the humidity in the building was suddenly unbearable. Well$ tried to win the crowd back with a dancing bear head schtick. Major fail. From the looks of it, he was having more fun than anyone else. He ended his set promoting his social media sites and telling the crowd that he was “Just trying to get on.”

The Defacto Thezpian followed him to the stage with some pretty nice tunes. This is where the momentum of the night shifted. Thezpian had complete control of the crowd and he took full advantage of this with his flows. Pulling a bar stool on stage with him as he ripped Kendrick Lamars “Rigamortis” instrumental. If you missed out, you can check it out here.

About mid-set Durham fav, The Real Laww, took the stage to perform a collab with Thezpian. But before they could start, they wanted everyone to know that Professor Toon was a no show and unprofessional. It was hard to tell from Laww’s demeanor if he was kidding, especially after the duo’s April Fools break-up prank.

Either way, Laww and the Thezpian turned up the heat. The music was thumping and the crowd was feeling it. The two meshed like butter. Then, the blasphemous Johnny Polygon followed with his Roland beat machine and Chello playing bandmate. Delivering that West Coast flavor to the new school. He went on to perform singles like “Invincible” and “My Sh*t.” Good stuff.

Pac Div followed, ending the night with a very confusing vibe. They performed tracks from their new album F.A.T. as well as a few older releases. The records sounded great, but their performance left me feeling like “They’re the headliners?” They definitely got the biggest response from the crowd. However, I’m not so sure it was because of the music. Probably, it was their name recognition more than anything else. - Tim Mapp


DJ Iron Mic talked with Defacto Thezpian during Wednesday’s local rap lunch to preview his performance this Friday, April 8 for WKNC’s Fridays on the Lawn. Listen it to their interview to learn about some of Defacto’s other upcoming gigs, including Durham’s Art of Cool Fest, and his top four celebrity crushes. - DJ Iron Mic


Discography

Adolescent Thoughts
Delusions Of Grandeur
Chicks&Rhymes Vol. 3
Raheem Royal: An Induction To Greatness EP

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Bio

There’s a new reality in the North Carolina hip hop scene in 2017. The talent present in the region that’s gone undiscovered is no longer a secret. With the continued success of artists such as J.Cole, Rapsody, Phonte’, names such as King Mez and Drugs Beats working with Dr. Dre, and many other up and coming artists , the entire state has become a hotbed for emerging NC emcees. Now, here comes a new challenger. Defacto Thezpian, one of the next rising stars from Durham, NC.

Voted Best Hip Hop Artist at the 2015 Carolina Music Awards, and long-time stage actor (hence the name), Defacto Thezpian’s lyrical prowess continues to have him mentioned as an elite in the Triangle area. Last year he released the ambitiously triumphant Raheem Royal: An Induction to Greatness. More recently he’s been featured on K97.5FM’s 919 Radio, and notable blogs such as 2DopeBoyz & HipHopDX, as well as festival stages like the 2016 A3C/Swisher Sweets Artist Project Showcase & YouBloomLA. He has also performed for the North Carolina State Fair. Defacto’s momentum carried over on to the Aff and Friends Tour, making stops in Brooklyn, St. John’s University, Charlotte, Wilmington, and Roanoke VA. One of the best live performers in the area, Defacto has already shared the stage with notable artists Raekwon, Nappy Roots, Well$,  Joshua Gunn, Audio Push, Snow Tha Product, Pac Div, Young Dirt, as well as Professor Toon and The Real Laww.

When not focusing on his own Hip-Hop endeavours, Defacto uses his time to teach and positively influence children with his Creative Rap program at Walltown Children’s Theatre. Listen to his music and you’ll hear the true tales of a young male with tales that are similar to his peers, but shared in a manner that forces listeners to hit the playback button again and again.

Band Members