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Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | INDIE | AFM

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2003
Solo Hip Hop Singer/Songwriter




"Def3 helped found Canada's west coast backpacker scene and Late Night Radio remixed his work"

We talked about West Coast history, graffiti and Def3’s connection to Stompdown Killaz.
Canada's current hip-hop landscaped is dominated by a Toronto-centric, Drake-propelled sound. Before that era came the backpack rappers. On the West coast, groups like Swollen Members and even earlier predecessors like Rascalz are familiar names. Those boom bap vibes still live on through affiliations like Stompdown Killaz, Battleaxe Warriors, and guys like Def3, real name Danny Fernandez. He spends his time between Vancouver and Regina, where he originally made his name as a rapper. These days, he's probably best known for his graffiti work, which has gained him national press coverage.

I caught up with Def3, who has a new project with Denver-based producer Late Night Radio (Alex Medellin). The collaboration is a remix of five songs off Def3's WILDLIF3 album from 2014, originally produced by Factor Chandelier. Listen to an exclusive stream of WILDLIF3 (Late Night Radio Remixes) here.

In Saskatchewan, Def3's name is synonymous with the local rap scene. Many consider him one of the founders of a modern regional sound. He called me from Vancouver with LNR on the line from Denver to talk about the new project, how they connected, and Def3's history within west coast hip-hop. Read the interview below.

Noisey: Tell me about the WILDLIF3 remix album.
Late Night Radio (Alex Medellin): I've produced everything from hip-hop mixtapes and stuff, and I've always been looking for an emcee to work with. I got introduced to Def3. We met out at Shambhala and did a little tour. The easiest next step before doing an original project was to remix some songs, and next thing you know we had five songs. Next step will be a full-length album [called Small World].

What was it like to revisit your work, Def3?
Def3 (Danny Fernandez): It was really cool. You get so used to hearing and performing something. When I met Alex, I thought his music was really dope. Hearing each song come back so different but also so good—I love the originals. Sometimes [remixes] don't match up, but these ones do. Performing them is fun too. It's a good introduction to our sound for the new album.

You both seem to have a similar taste in your work. You're both traditionalists that focus on djing and lyrics—writing bars. Would you say that's true?
Def3: By traditional, you mean a nostalgic sound, kinda?

Yeah, you guys seem to play to the core hip-hop elements.
Def3: For me, the traditional hip-hop [culture] has been such an important part of my life. My music definitely reflects everything I do. It's cool how Alex produces because he still does sample a lot of vinyl and creates in that classical format.
LNR: Yeah, I'm more of a traditionalist or purist or whatever you'd call it. Hip-hop is an outlet for me. I tour and play big electronic festivals and stuff and it's a poppin' scene, but I tend to stay pure in my work. I make what I listen to: late-90s boom bap. That's what hits me in the heart.

I'm way more familiar with Def3's work being on the West coast in Canada. How did you get into hip-hop, Late Night?
LNR: I'm kind of a late bloomer. I didn't even play my first show until I was 25. Better late than never I guess.

Def3, you've been around forever.
Def3: [laughs] Yeah, Alex's success came quicker.

When you started working in hip-hop out here there wasn't much. How has the scene changed?
Def3: I've definitely seen it change in the past ten years as an artist making music and as a listener hearing it in the last 15 or 20. When I started, it was pretty much just Swollen Members and Rascalz that I liked. I was introduced to prairie hip-hop through the Winnipeg scene, which was the most poppin'. That might be a weird thing for people to think of in Canada.

Is this before the Winnipeg's Most era?
Def3: Way before them. This is the Peanuts & Corn Records guys like mcenroe, Pip Skid and a group called Frek Sho I was a really big fan of. They ended up putting out my first record from 2003 on their label. I started working with those guys and it was my introduction to the traditional, backpack hip-hop. It was more about bars and raw beats than what it became today. That sound has evolved a lot in Canada. I could go on for a long time about that.

In Saskatchewan alone, there's a younger generation making all kinds of different kinds of hip-hop. There are still guys making a traditional sound. In Canada, before Drake, the backpack sound is really what excelled and what people cared about. I think Drake made newer styles look more authentic. Alex, I'm curious as to what drew you to Def3's style.
LNR: Today in the land of bullshit and mumble rap and all that, there's nothing I can relate to. Whenever I heard Def3—a 30-year-old snowboarder who loves hip-hop—I related to what he says. One of the first things he said to me—his mom is a writer—and he said if it doesn't look good on paper, then it doesn't matter. It's easy to say stupid words in a catchy cadence but it doesn't matter.

Def3, you've always been an active graffiti artist. That's really taken off in the last little while. How did that happen?
Def3: I've been interested in graffiti culture ever since I moved to North America basically. I put it aside for music until I was 21. I was living in Alberta for a few years doing it for a bit and moved back to Regina and started meeting a lot of friends who were into it. We started painting more and snowballed from there, spreading by word of mouth. In the past three years, it got crazy. People find me and hire me to do stuff. A couple things I've done have got media attention. It's perfect for me being a rapper and having downtime to still create art. I mix the two together and do portraits of hip-hop artists and stuff.

You fit in with the west coast rappers who also do graffiti. That's a thing out here.
Def3: Sure. You have guys like Snak the Ripper and his crew—guys I go paint with. It's a part of the culture, maybe not as big as before. But maybe up until 20 years ago, every rapper was a graffiti artist.

Whoa, you paint with the Stompdown Killa guys?
Def3: That's pretty much the only guys I paint with when I'm out here [in BC]. I paint with Naks, Snak, and Keep6. Naks is kinda like my partner. We paint a lot of murals and stuff.

Must be something in the water on the west coast. Are you going to take Alex on any bombing missions?
Def3: [laughs] If he wants to come.
LNR: I don't think I was blessed with that water growing up. - Noisey

"A trip to Chile recharges Regina hip-hop artist Def3"

A trip to Chile recharges Regina hip-hop artist Def3
Video documentary in link - CBC Television

"Rifflandia Festival 2015"

"As for Canadian rap, Pigeon Hole and Def3 held it down hard with blistering sets. Pigeon Hole, as usual, brought the party vibes with the most innovative trap-rap you’re going to hear. While Def3, straight outta Regina, laid the high-energy hip-hop in a more classicist vein. Juxtaposed against the embarrassing barking and “nigga” spotting of Torontonian Jazz Cartier, Def3 looked like the a warrior of hip-hop light. Please, don’t let me see another Jazz Cartier show but, please, give me more Def3" - Rice & Bread Magazine - Blake Morneau

"Widlif3 Video on"

Everyone calm down—​the search for Sasquatch is over. He's been hiding in a rap video all along.

Fresh off of a European tour and a performance at SXSW, Def3 comes locked and loaded with a brand new music video for the title track from his 2014 album. In the Stuey Kubrick-directed visual for “Wildlif3,” the Saskatchewan-bred rapper conquers the great outdoors, turning fire bars into a literal campfire. Def even dares a certain folkloric creature to keep up with his reckless lifestyle. Spoiler alert: it turns out Bigfoot can’t hang.

Watch the video for “Wildlif3” above, complete with a crucial cameo from the ‘Quatch Daddy himself. Catch Def3 on the road in Canada, the U.S., and Europe this summer, including appearances at major Canadian Festivals such as Shambhala and Victoria Ska & Reggae Festival. Click here for tour dates. - Complex Magazine

"Def3 - Catalina Wine Mixer Video Review"

You've heard of the legend of the Catalina Wine Mixer. This time Def3 is showing you a great time at the helicopter sales event of the year, bringing along Kay the Aquanaut on the Factor produced track. This track is living proof that Def3 is one of the dopest, and possesses a keen sense of humour to balance his impeccable skill on the mic... -

"Def3 Wildlif3 Review"

By Thomas Quinlan

8 out of 10

On "So Far," off new album WILDLIF3, Regina-via-Vancouver rapper Def3 raps "My lyrics carry truth/ Meaning you've probably never heard of me." While that criticism of modern commercial rap is also something of a reality for the MC, Def3 has recorded collaboration records with Canadian underground legends Moka Only and Factor that have definitely spread his name further than he suggests. Subjects such as life in the Canadian music industry, personal strife and confidence and perseverance are included along with the usual hip-hop braggadocio, all written with witty wordplay. Def3's flow is tight, impressive even alongside vets like Moka Only, Shad and Ceschi, as well as up-and-coming star Merkules.

DJ Skratch Bastid lays down some slick cuts on "The Truth" while singers Claire Mortifee and Krystle Dos Santos provide a couple of cool hooks that add variety and work well with the smooth, laidback vibe of the production on most of the album. And it's this production that really stands out on WILDLIF3. Factor supplies a steady stream of smooth soul with only a few attempts to up the tempo. Highlights include "The Truth," which appears custom-made for guest rapper Shad, the groovier "Catalina Wine Mixer" with Kay the Aquanaut, the production a nice mix of wood blocks, guitars and a western gunfight whistle, and "Where Did We Go Wrong," with Merkules and Evil Ebenezer, whose uptempo beat is a likely contender for commercial radio play. While Def3 isn't breaking any new ground with WILDLIF3, it does demonstrate his quality and consistency.
(Urbnet) - Exclaim!

"Prairie Roots - How Regina’s Def3 helped establish hip hop in Saskatchewan"

How Regina’s Def3 helped establish hip hop in Saskatchewan BY ALEX J MACPHERSON

Danny Fernandez grew up in a musical family. For six years, he and his parents traveled the world aboard a hospital ship, visiting dozens of countries. When he wasn’t entertaining people as part of a shipboard song-and-dance group, Fernandez was quietly absorbing music from all over the world. When the family moved to Regina, Fernandez discovered hop hop, the early expression of what would become a global phenomenon. Before long, he was experimenting with its rhythmic cadences and limitless possibilities for self-expression. Like all promising young rappers, he soon began thinking about an audience. The trouble was, there wasn’t one; a local scene simply didn’t exist. But instead of giving up and joining a rock band, Fernandez and a few close friends decided to build their own community. He didn’t know it at the time, but it was a project that would shape his life.

“There was nothing that was taken seriously,” says Fernandez, who is also an accomplished DJ and street artist. “We were throwing shows, but they were amateur. We didn’t even have songs. We were just freestyling in front of high school parties.” Expanding beyond the occasional house party meant convincing club owners that hip hop was a worthwhile investment. But according to Fernandez, none of the city’s venues wanted anything to do with “urban music.” Promoters told him to get lost, managers refused to return his calls, and instead hired DJs to play popular hits — and nothing else. Undaunted, Fernandez and his friends decided to put on their own shows. Before long, their ad hoc hip hop shows were selling out. “After that started happening, all those same clubs started calling me back,” he says with a laugh. “They’re like, ‘Hey, do you want to come play?’ I was like, ‘What? Six months ago you guys told me no.’”

Today, almost a decade later, hip hop is flourishing in Saskatchewan. And Fernandez, who performs as Def3, remains one of the scene’s brightest stars. Since the heady nineties, he has quietly established himself as one of Canada’s most versatile hip hop artists. He has released a steady stream of solo material; collaborated with dozens of prominent artists; toured extensively, both alone and with a revolving cast of friends and collaborators; fronted the Chilean musical collective Oye! which includes his father, Ramon; and watched as the scene he imagined all those years ago transformed into what he considers one of the finest in the country. Fernandez’s latest project is a collaboration with Graham Murawsky, an internationally recognized producer from Saskatoon who works under the name Factor. The two men met more than a decade ago, and have remained close. Their June release Wildlif3 pairs Fernandez’s smooth delivery and insightful musings about life, love, and death with Murawsky’s undeniable beats — curtains of shimmering synthesizers and brooding jazz chords draped over sparse drum tracks.

Fernandez is unequivocal in his assessment of Murawsky, both as a friend and as a record producer: “If somebody doesn’t like Factor, they’re probably an a**hole. He’s such a rad dude. I mean, who doesn’t like that guy?” Much of Fernandez’s admiration for the veteran producer stems from their parallel career tracks. “Basically, the changing point for me was when I met Factor and saw that there was this whole crew of people doing this in Saskatoon,” he recalls. “The only thing I can think of to say was, ‘Man, let’s work together. We can try and create something for the province.’” The two men share an affinity for easygoing, straightforward hip hop, and Fernandez’ respect for Murawsky grows each time they team up to make music. “In many musical partnerships or relationships, sometimes a lot of it is one-sided,” he says. “I’ve been on both sides of that, and with Factor, I think we pretty much meet fifty-fifty on everything.” The two men laid the groundwork for Wildlif3 in 2010, shortly after releasing their last collaboration, 2009’s Drumbo. Fernandez and Murawsky were eager to make another record, but they avoided setting a deadline: hectic touring schedules made finding time to work face-to-face difficult (both men prefer this, rather than sacrifice human connection at the altar of convenience). In the end, the album took three years to finish. “A lot of our process is pretty much on the spot. It’s never really too planned out,” Fernandez says of the duo’s loose approach to recording. The first song to emerge was “The Truth,” which features an incisive guest appearance by the Vancouver rapper Shad. After that, the rest of the tracks fell into place. “Once you have songs that are a few years old, you start to wonder because you’ve heard them so many times,” Fernandez says. “But with those songs, I felt like they all stood the test of time.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, Wildlif3 is a diverse album. As it unfolds, upbeat party anthems like “Catalina Wine Mixer” (which features Saskatoon’s Kay The Aquanaut) collide with more introspective tracks. One of the most affecting moments comes toward the end, as the poppy synths and funky chorus of “Where Did We Go Wrong” slide into the crepuscular groove of “Under The Influence.” “That was one of the hardest songs I’ve written,” Fernandez says, adding that the song’s relentless shift from careless fun to death and destruction was inspired by a true story. “It’s about two of my best friends that died — and me writing the first-person perspective of their night.” Other tracks on Wildlif3 are more lighthearted. “Babyface” finds the rapper taking stock of his life and career, as sheets of summery synthesizers stretch to the west coast and beyond. At the end of the first verse he lays out a possible theme for the album: “This is who I am, so just know that I love you.”

This is the essential truth of Wildlif3: from the soulful groove of “Recipe Destiny” to the electronic pulse of “As I Go,” the album is a reflection of its creator. Wildlif3‘s raw musicality and laid-back vibe capture Fernandez’ way of thinking about the world. “When people hear my music, I just want them to feel that it’s genuine,” he says. “And I feel like my music is pretty much a perfect representation of who I am and what I’m about, as far as morals and things like that go.” The record’s diversity also echoes Fernandez’ unwillingness to work within a single genre or style. “I guess a lot of my stuff is really boom bap-y hip hop, but I’ve always tried to explore other genres of music. I think not being stuck in one type of sound is far more of a blessing than having to do one of the same things all the time.” This is part of the reason Wildlif3 is so appealing. By juxtaposing moments of darkness and light, aggression and relaxation Fernandez is able to capture the depth and chart the complexities of his own life — and by extension, everyone else’s.

Wildlif3 also points to Fernandez’s growth as an artist. “As you get older, you start to realize your mistakes and your successes,” he says. “I think every musician is, at one point, like, ‘maybe I should quit, maybe I should do something else.’ But in the past few years, and especially recently, I just decided that this is what I do, and this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.” This is a thorny problem for rappers like Fernandez, who rose up through the ranks of underground hip hop, and whose success to no small degree hinges on the respect of a tight-knit community. Eventually, he says, every ambitious artist is confronted by the possibility of mainstream commercial success. Some call it “selling out,” but Fernandez isn’t convinced. Citing Outkast, the iconic Atlanta, Georgia hip hop duo, he says it’s possible to make music that is both accessible and meaningful. “[Outkast] basically created this mainstream music and sound, but when you really listen to their lyrics, they’re talking about some real sh*t,” he says. “That’s always kind of been a goal for me. I love the underground and I love the message and I love the idea. But deep down, a vision of mine is finding a way to incorporate all of that but still be able to appeal universally, to a mainstream crowd.” After a pause he adds, “In the end, if you really want to make this a career, you kind of have to.”

Over the last decade, Fernandez has watched the Saskatchewan hip hop scene he helped build flourish. Even though he has toured with some of the biggest names in the industry and frequently performs across the continent, coming home is always a pleasant surprise. In the beginning, there was nothing; today, there is a vibrant scene populated by rappers, DJs, and producers, many of whom grew up admiring Fernandez, Factor, and their contemporaries. “Back then, I had no idea what we were doing,” he says with a laugh. “I didn’t even know if it was going to be a career. I was just so obsessed with the music itself. It was really all I ever did.” Today, Fernandez is poised on the edge of major commercial success — one of a handful of Canadian rappers able to make a living onstage and in the studio. And while he knows that the future is always uncertain, especially in the notoriously volatile record industry, he can’t help but be optimistic. “I know that what we were doing definitely influenced a lot of the younger guys, he says. “We showed what was possible.” And on “Babyface,” one of Wildlif3’s brightest and most sincere moments, he lays out the mentality that has allowed him to carve out a career: “Life’s a beach, so I try to keep the sand out my suit.” V


August 22 @ Summer Invasion (Regina)

$69+ (Weekend Pass) @ - Verb Magazine

"Def3 - So Far Video ( Produced by Factor )"

Vancouver, BC – Two of the dopest in Canadian hip-hop have come together on the latest track from Def3‘s upcoming WildLif3 album. “So Far” was handled by super-producer Factor and the track is as crisp and on-point as you would expect from these two.

The visuals show off more than one of Def3′s talents as he is seen working his magic with a few spray paint cans. Check the video below and be on the lookout for WildLif3 dropping June 24 on URBNET. - Hip Hop Canada (Website)

"Featured Artist SASK MUSIC The Session Magazine"

They say that ‘pimpin’ ain’t easy.’ Being a hip hop artist on the prairie music scene used to be more of an uphill battle, before MCs like Regina’s Def3 came along to pave the way. Let’s face it --- Saskatchewan is a far cry from places like Compton or Brooklyn. However, artists like Def3 and his peers have taken the genre and expanded it to fit within our model. And instead of trying to build a career on posing with a hard face, the new breed of hip hop artist is digging in to work harder than T-Pain without his auto tune. And as Def3 will tell you --- hard work pays off. Who’d have thought you could rhyme and be a role model at the same time?

Def3 was a world traveler by the age of six, and made a leap of faith in taking the path he did -->
CRAIG SILLIPHANT: First, a little about the man himself. Where did you grow up?

DEF3: I spent most of my life moving around traveling and absorbing the environment around me. I was born in Toronto and then at the age of five, I moved onto a missionary ship called the Anastasis with my family and about 60 others from all over the world. [I] lived on it until I was 11. The company they worked for, Mercy Ships, provided free healthcare, food, and medical supplies to second and third world countries in Central America, Africa, and Europe. Then after that I moved to Texas for a year, and then to Regina.

CRAIG: When did hip hop enter the picture?

DEF3: I started listening to rap and hip hop when I lived in [Texas]. In my junior high school, that was what everyone seemed to be listening to. Shortly after, when I moved to Canada in 93’, that interest led to graffiti culture, which led to [hip hop]. I began with free-styling when I was 14 or 15 and starting messing around recording stuff into a portable cassette player I borrowed from my dad. Then [I borrowed] his turntable, which I later broke, along with most of his audio and stereo equipment over the years.

CRAIG: That led you to making mix tapes, DJing parties, battle rapping, and opening for hip hop acts that came through town. But how did you decide to focus on music full time?

DEF3: I started to teach workshops with inner city youth. That led to several other opportunities within the community and it all snowballed from there. During this time I started recording my first solo album, called Hug Life, which was basically a reflection of where I was at in my life at the time. I began getting so many opportunities within music and teaching hip hop that one day it just hit me and I took the plunge. I decided to tell my boss off and quit the job I was working, because I hated it. The first few years weren’t easy, but I just kept working at it, constantly grinding and networking.

CRAIG: And then starting Ship Records really solidified things?

DEF3: Once I started Ship Records Inc. it was on. My business became my life. I started it as a vessel to release my friends as well as my own music independently. I am involved in every step of the release beginning to end with writing, recording, mixing, production design, manufacturing, marketing, and booking. I have also acquired a distribution and licensing deal with Universal Music’s Fontana North for my past two records. Running a business has taught me the importance of outsourcing and maximizing your efforts. Risk is everything. Like anything, the more you know about it and the more organized your approach, the better you will do.

CRAIG: Where do you get your ideas? What sorts of things do you write about?

DEF3: I get my ideas from everyday life and everything that happens around me, big and small. There are so many things to write about that it is impossible to run out of subject matter. I just be honest and accept who I am. I write about things that inspire me, make me laugh, make me think, or make me happy, sad, or angry. Whatever comes up comes out. I just make sure that I am always capturing the moment, via recording or through a paint can. The world is my canvas.

CRAIG: How would you describe a Def3 live show?

DEF3: I would say, high energy and usually full of surprise guests. I maintain a positive message in my music and performance and I try to keep people involved, entertained, and dancing if possible.

CRAIG: What major successes have you had over the years?

DEF3: I’ve gotten to do a lot of awesome things through music, rocked some incredible crowds and met a lot of interesting people and celebs over the years. I got the chance to perform a few tracks with Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Regina Folk Festival in 2008. That was awesome. I also got the chance to meet and open for Nas --- one of my favourite rappers. I was given the opportunity to headline the Saskatchewan Pavilion at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics for the first three nights for the opening ceremonies. Those were epic shows. Then immediately following that, I went on a one month European tour. I was also chosen to represent Saskatchewan and perform for Mich - SASK MUSIC - The Session Magazine

"Wildlif3 Review"

Canadian emcee looking for a shortcut to get your album covered on RapReviews, having Factor produce it is probably a good start. Unfortunately that's also probably a dead end since like any good producer there are undoubtedly far more rappers who want to work with HIM than the other way around. It's the very fact that Factor is selective about who he'll make music with that makes projects he's a part of something I'm partial toward. I know in advance that a Factor produced album is not going to be a run of the mill rap record - the emcees have to be something special (or odd) to meet with his hip-hop beats.

Def3 has therefore earned a hell of an endorsement right out of the box on "Wildlif3" just by the printing of "produced by Factor" on the cover. He didn't earn this honor lightly - he toured for the last three years with Sweatshop Union sharpening up his skills in preparation for this moment. Curiously the insert for "Wildlif3" is the one thing that didn't seem sharp - it reads more like reasons for retailers to stock his album on store shelves. I don't care that the entities behind the release of "Wildlif3" bought four weeks of advertising online, and if they did I certainly didn't see a dime of it. They mention a Twitter campaign that had "500K impressions" but I doubt that counts random URBNET press releases I chose to share on RR. I'm even willing to bet there's a good chance the opening track of this week's podcast may be your first time hearing Def3. Let it not be your last.

"You can point the finger, move it longitude and latitude
But anyone who's anyone can probably point it back at you
Confidence is attitude, and consciousness is gratitude
I'm rapping with inepitude but doing what I have to do
Haters wanna laugh at you, they jealous of your after school
activities, cause their abilities are often lacking tools
Factor, G's a natural, and Def got the vernacular..."
I had to rewind that a couple of times to make sure I heard Def's self-deprecating rhyme correctly - I was tempted to think he said "I'm rapping with an attitude" but that would have been absurd given he already used the word "attitude" in the previous line. No - Def said "rapping with INEPTITUDE" implying "lacking skill" despite the fact the song "So Far" shows a free flowing eloquence that most other rhymers lack. He throws away punchlines like they're an afterthought. Witty lines like "my shit is heard/herd like elephants" and "rock like it's an amethyst" similies spill out almost effortlessly - which of course means they're anything but. Therefore Def3 humbles himself by claiming "ineptitude" when even the most cursory glance at songs like "Under the Influence" shows he's far from unskilled.

What starts out like it might be another careless ode to drunk driving a la ScHoolboy Q's "Hands on the Wheel" turns out to be a modern day EPMD parable like "You Had Too Much to Drink" with even deadlier consequences. "I didn't even drink that much" complains Def3 to anybody listening, but nobody wants to hear it. "Another mother crying, yeah another brother's hearse/shoulda, woulda, coulda but I didn't - famous last words." It's a first person perspective of a tragedy that could have been prevented, which makes it a far more effective PSA than anything MADD ever came up with - it's effective because it's NOT a lecture.
An obviously excellent rapper like Def3 has no problem coming up with collaborators other than the producer Factor - and you'll find them time and again throughout "Wildlif3." Ceschi Ramos drops in on the twisting grooves of "Satellite," Moka Only and Panther join the fray on "Live It Up" and the boom bap thump of "Where Did We Go Wrong" is well met by Evil Ebenezer and Merkules. There are more partners in rhyming or singing that join in on the (unfortunately) short 37 minutes of "Wildlif3," but not enough to disguise the fact that this is Def's project or that he is a clear star of hip-hop whose unique upbringing (six years of his childhood aboard a traveling hospital ship) gave him a unique worldview that's worth sharing AND hearing.

Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10 -

"2DopeBoyz premiere Small World"

While many of today’s more well-established artists from Canada are aligned of the Drake, Roy Woods and the Tory Lanez variety, every once in awhile we come across an artist who occupies the lanes more akin to your Kardinal Offishalls, Madchilds and Saukrates.

Def3—a native of Regina, Saskatchewan—has recently received a co-sign from the legendary Masta Ace, who revealed to Mass Appeal: “Def3 is a great combination of charisma and talent. I brought him out to Europe earlier this year to open up for one of my tours and he held his own in front of crowds who were unaware of his music. He made a lotta fans over there and I know many of those who discovered him from that tour are gonna run out and support this new album. The future is bright for this guy!”

After releasing the single “Sing” featuring Masta Ace, ProbCause with cuts from Skratch Bastid, the Western Canadian rapper releases Small World, a follow up to 2014’s Wildlif3.

The 11-track project, produced entirely by Late Night Radio also features appearances from Moka Only, Del the Funky Homosapien, Clark Smith and more.

Stream it below or purchase digitally on iTunes or grab a physical copy on your choice of CD, cassette or vinyl. - 2DOPEBOYZ

"Mass Appeal Interview / Premiering of "Sing" Single."

“Def3 is a great combination of charisma and talent,” says rap legend Masta Ace, who makes a guest appearance on the Canadian MC’s new single “Sing,” which MASS APPEAL proudly premieres today. “I brought him out to Europe earlier this year to open up for one of my tours and he held his own in front of crowds who were unaware of his music. He made a lotta fans over there and I know many of those who discovered him from that tour are gonna run out and support this new album. The future is bright for this guy!”

Def3’s new album, Small World drops today, and this right here is one of the strongest tracks, featuring hard-hitting verses from Masta Ace alongside Chitown spitter Probcause, as well as slick cuts from Skratch Bastid all set to a soulful bounce courtesy of Denver’s Late Night Radio, who produced the entirety of the LP.

While you give the single a spin, check out our interview with Def3 below.

What prompted you do feature Masta Ace and Probcause on this particular track?

This record was a long time in the making… Here’s how it went down. I first met Ace 4 or 5 years ago at a show in Regina that I played with him when he was touring Canada with Marco Polo and Stricklin, and we ended up getting along really well. At the end of his tour, I was in Vancouver and ended up taking him and Stricklin snowboarding for their first time. After that, we kept in touch and when it came time to work on my new record, I hit him up for a feature. I sent him a track with a verse, and he sent me back his verse and it stayed as that for a while. Due to our crazy tour schedules, especially Late Night Radio, the album took a bit longer than initially planned. We were basically recording a song or two here and there in between tours over the span of 2.5 years. Some of the tracks changed four or five times both musically and lyrically. I eventually asked Bastid who is an old friend who I worked with on my previous record to lace some cuts. The track was placed back on the back burner, and I started working on a few more tracks. Eventually we realized the process was taking forever so I ended up going to Denver twice over a two month period, and banged it out. After we finished the bulk of the record on the last visit, the track still needed a third verse. Alex (LNR) mentioned Probcause was his homie and might be down to drop a verse so he sent it to him. He got it back to us in few days and that was that.
Was working with Masta Ace on your personal bucket list?

Definitely! I wouldn’t call myself an emcee if it wasn’t. I’ve been a fan of Ace’s work since I first heard “The Symphony” but it was a bit later in the ’90s due to my age. “The I.N.C. Ride” and “Sittin’ on Chrome” got me hooked, but A Long Hot Summer definitely got the most airplay in the whip. When I got the verse back I was pretty stoked about it…and still am.
Growing up, What was your favorite Masta Ace track?

He has so many tracks I bumped heavily but I’d say “Beautiful” was the one that hit me the most. It’s one of those songs that gives me the same great feeling every time I hear it, even to this day. It’s song’s like that that are the reason I fell in love with Hip-Hop in the first place, and greatly influence the conscious aspect of my writing. 10/10 in my books from the raps to the production. Such a great tune.

Any memorable stories that you can share from the process of putting this track together?

In April of this year I was actually supposed to already be finished with the album, but it got pushed back again. I was initially booked for a festival in Estonia that lead to me being added on as main support on a European tour with Ace, with the idea of my album being finished. Having him as a featured artist, definitely helped connect the dots. Although the album wasn’t finished in time for the tour, It was hands down the most fun, inspirational and healthiest tour I’ve ever been on, and is one I’ll never forget. Ace was super hospitable and treated me like one of the crew in every way from the get go. I rolled with him in the tour van along with Stricklin, Power Malu from Lyricist Lounge and our Driver Affro who were also all really rad people. You really get to know someone when you spend two-three weeks in such close proximity together, and we never had any issues, which happens often on tours where you don’t really know the people. Almost all the shows were sold out, several being in European markets I had yet to play, and the crowds were a perfect fit for my style of music. It was also really refreshing to so many people still supporting Golden Era Hip-Hop, from young cats to OGs… not a scene that’s very common in North America nowadays. I always knew Ace was a legend but getting to know him and witnessing him kill it every night at the age of 50, and still putting out amazing albums, was super inspiring, and restored a lot of faith in the hip hop world for me. That tour definitely gave me all the fuel I needed to get home and finish the record. It’s tours and moments like that when I have to remind myself that this is what I dreamed of doing as a kid bumping his music relentlessly while driving around in my Jetta in the ‘90s and early ‘00s. Good times for sure.
Please Explain the artistic difference/growth between this album and, your previous project, WILDLIF3.

WILDLIF3 was a big stepping stone for me, and was the first album I’ve ever made that achieved any sort of commercial recognition, at least within Canada. It surpassed my expectations in every way from radio play to sales, and industry recognition. At the time I was mostly making underground Boom bap but decided to consciously try to appeal to bit more of a radio friendly crowd, so I guess that’s what I was aiming for. I’m really proud of that album, and working with Factor Chandelier always turns out well. As far as my song writing and attention to detail in my lyrics and beat selection though, I didn’t put nearly as much time or thought into it as I did for this album, mostly because of where my head was at the time in my life. On WILDLIF3 we also didn’t really cut anything and just put out what we had, and went with it which is fine, but isn’t the way it worked for Small World. The writing and recording process was a lot different with Late Night Radio overall. On Wildlif3, and whenever I work with Factor in general, we pretty much create and finish the songs together on the spot, and how it ends is usually quite close to what the final track sounds like, minus mixing and mastering and a few sequence changes. This was LNR’s first real Hip-Hop record as he is more known for his work as an established Electronic Music producer which has more of an instrumental focus with no lead singer, or rapper, so his process is a lot different than what I’m used to. I did learn a lot from working with him though, and he killed it in every way and proved to be even more versatile than I already knew. With Small World as I mentioned before we reworked almost all of the songs on the record four to six times and LNR would send me countless new versions of the songs each doper than the next. He basically would send me a shell and I’d record something and send it back. Then he’d remix it, I would rerecord it again to bring the appropriate energy and delivery. I also called in all the homie favors I could regarding features, so there’s a lot more recognized names on the album. We also scrapped a bunch of songs with a lot of artists I really like, not because they were bad songs but because they didn’t really fit with the vibe of the project. I’m sure a few tracks will pop up in the near future. Overall I’d say there was definitely a lot more attention to detail on Small World. After two and a half years in the making, three potential release dates being postponed, and a shit load of fine tuning, I’m really happy things turned out the way they did, because I can confidently say that the album is my best work. This entire process has really helped me grow as both an artist and person. I’ve stepped up my work ethic drastically. I’m really looking forward to people hearing this album and I’m excited to see where it takes me. You can definitely expect more music to be released from NLR and me in the near future. Cheers.
Small World Tracklist:

01. Fill Your Soul

02. Small World (feat. Del the Funky Homosapien, Moka Only & The Gaff)

03. Serenity

04. Something Missing

05. Carry On (feat. Mystic & JFB)

06. Sing (feat. Masta Ace, Probcause & Scratch Bastid)

07. Life’s a Trip (feat. Clark Smith)

08. Big Picture (feat. Metty the Dert Merchant)

09. S.O.S. (feat. Dr. Oop & Nucleus)

10. Prowl (feat. JFB)

11. El Fin Del Mundo (feat. Ramon Fernandez)
Stream/Download Small World or cop the Vinyl / CD / Cassette - Mass Appeal


Professionally released Discography:

Personal Releases

Dead Can't Bounce - " i aint afraid of no ghost" full length LP 2003 FrekSho Records

Def 3 - "Huglife" full length LP
2005 Ship Records Inc.

Metropolis Now - "Self Titled" full length LP 

2006 Sideroad Records

Def3 & Moka Only present Dog River
2007 Ship Records Inc. / Fontana North

Def 3 and Factor Drumbo
2009 Ship Records Inc. / Fontana North

Def3 x Mosaic "Amnesia" EP
2011 Ship Records Inc.

Def3 - Wildlif3 LP

2014 Urbnet Records

Def3 - Wildlif3 (Late Night Radio Remixes) 2016 Urbnet

Def3 x SkiiTour - The Original Feat. TARA - Westwood Recordings 2016

Def3 - Fill Your Soul - Single 2017 - Urbnet Records

Def3 - Small World - Release Date Aug 4, 2017

Featured on:

Factor - "3" "Whatup Sun"
2003 Sideroad Records

Cam the Wizard - "For The Rest of My Life" "Sideroad Trip "
2004 Sideroad Records

Factor Heights- " ourglass"
2005 Sideroad Records

Ismaila- Mark of The Zebra - 12" and LP ForceFeed"
2005 Freksho Records

Nolto- Red All Over Forum
2006 Sideroad Records

Laugh And Cry - Sounds of Humming Hip Hop - Metropolis Now "Another Tomorrow"
2006 Hue Records (Japan Only Press)

After The Fact Boundaries, What Couldve been
Hue Records 2006

Factor - Famous Nights empty days 12" and LP " I Can't Put My finger On It"
2006 Sideroad Records

Pimpton The Newer Testament Do the Right thing, Exs and Ohs
Propagate 2009

No BS No Phukkin Clu
Medici State 2006

Factor presents old souls vol 1 Old Soles Exclusive track,

Kay the Aquanaut Spinning Blue Planet To The Last Drop Sideroad records 2009

Selfhelp Old Friends The mantra
2009 Secret Cloud

Factor - 13 Stories Luck Ducks
Sideroad Records 2009

Kay The Aquanaut - Nickelodeon Ethics Roll Call , First and Fifteen
2010 Sideroad Records

Factor - Lawson Graham Battle Scars
Fake Four Inc. 2010

Ron Contour and Factor Saffron Shoebox
Fake four inc. 2010

Aries Now and later 2010

Evil Ebeneezer and Factor - Widows Creek "Leave the Dead"
2011Camobear Records

Sweatshop Union - Infinite -
"Feed feat. Snak the Ripper and Def3"
" & "We Ready feat. Def3"
2013 Urbnet Records

K+lab - Neck Breaker feat. Def3 -  2016 Lowtemp Records

Late Night Radio - No Grave feat. Def3 - 2016 



 Danny Fernandez better known by his stage name ​Def3 ​is an award winning Canadian hip-hop artist from Regina, Saskatchewan.

 A world traveler by the age of 4, Def 3 lived for six years on board a hospital ship with his family. His preteen years were spent traveling to 27 countries with his parents and brother from the Caribbean throughout Europe and West Africa giving Def3 a unique perspective on life. From musical parents with Latin rhythm from his Chilean father, Ramon, and a flair for words from his mother it was only natural that he would produce his own brand of music.

 He began performing at the age of six in a song and dance group called Ships Kids, entertaining hundreds of people in some of the world’s poorest nations where Mercy Ships offered free surgeries and medical help. Spending most of the year docked in a developing nation and the rest in Europe moving from country to country Def 3 developed an appreciation for diverse cultures.

 After a year in East Texas his family moved to Regina where Danny became Def 3 and began making waves of a different sort. He has been a major contributor to the Saskatchewan arts scene not only through his work as an established MC, but also as a professional Spray Paint Artist and DJ. Boasting well over 500 career shows it makes sense that he is often recognized for the strength and consistency of his live performance. He has gained international notoriety through his highly active touring schedule performing official showcases at major festivals such as Midem, Project Pabst, SXSW, Shambhala, Dawson City Festival, Rifflandia, Juno Fest, Pop Montreal, NXNE, CMW, Breakout west, Prairie Scene, even headlining the Saskatchewan pavilion for the opening ceremonies at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. By special invitation he even performed at private galas for the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency, Michaelle Jean, and the Lieutenant Governor of Canada during their Saskatchewan visits.

 In June 2014 he released his album ​WILDLIF3 ​with Saskatoon super-producer Factor to critical acclaim, receiving the award for ‘Rap Recording of The Year’ at the 2015 Western Canadian Music Awards. In its first week of sales, ​WILDLIF3, ​climbed to number 6 overall for best selling albums on the iTunes Canada hip-hop charts and reached #1 overall in Canada on Earshot Magazines’ college radio hip-hop charts and was in the top 10 charts for 23 weeks straight. ​WILDLIF3 ​then peaked at #8 overall on the CMJ US College hip hop charts. Def3 has also landed 6 videos on rotation on Much Music’s Much Vibe and Rapcity including two of his 4 videos from the Wildlif3 release for “So Far” and “Wildlif3”. His highly anticipated new album "Small World" produced by Denver's Late Night Radio will be released Aug 4th on Urbnet records and features the likes of Del The Funky Homosapien, Masta Ace, Skratch Bastid, JFB, Probcause, Sweatshop Union & more. 

In his career thus far, he has shared the same stage and toured with countless major hip hop acts including Nas, House Of Pain,  Flatbush Zombies, Masta Ace, Blackalicious, Ghostface Killah, Post Malone, Inspectah Deck, The Pharcyde, Salt N Pepa, Bliss N Eso, Michael Franti and Spearhead, BADBADNOTGOOD, Del The Funky Homosapien, Souls of Mischief, Grieves, K-OS, The Beatnuts, Onyx, Maestro Fresh Wes, Classified, Shad, Swollen Members, Ill Bill & Vinnie Paz, Choclair, Zion I, Mystic, Cage, Fashawn and Exile and many more.

Music aside Def3 is also a well-established visual artist who has produced numerous murals around the globe and contributed to several respected art shows across the country. On top of that he is also known for his work within the community. He has organized, and led instructional workshops to all ages of youth and a wide variety of students working with inner city youth programs, partnerships with the Regina Board of education, and even Graduate classes at the IMP labs through the University of Regina in Saskatchewan.

Band Members