REVIEW | Def Dee- Deja Vu (album)

Def Dee follows his acclaimed 2013 debut album 33 and a Third with another producer-centered album entitled Deja Vu. For his sophomore effort, the Seattle-based trackmaster creates a tight batch of neck snappin' beats that's deeply entrenched in the straight-from-the-crates, throwback sound of hip hop's not too distant past. Though the familiar opening horns of "Place Your Bet" may spark a sense of nostalgia in some listeners, Def Dee quickly kills any fears that the album's title is simply code for "rehashing the past" when the rest of the track's elements come crashing to the forefront. In an instant, a carefully orchestrated firestorm of sounds explodes out of the listener's speakers, held together with thumpin kick drums and tight snares. For fans expecting heavily filtered, extended jazz loops and crunchy lo-fi drum breaks, "Place Your Bet" acts as a sort of warning shot, heralding the energy level of tracks to come. The overall sound and feel of Deja Vu has less in common with the dense, lo-fi funk of label mates Damu the Fudgemunk and Klaus Layer and more in common with the finely chopped, dusty-meets-digital hip hop sound made famous by producers like Hi-Tek, Chief Xcel and fellow Seattleite (?) Jake One. Which isn't to say that those fans won't enjoy this album. On "C'Mon NowDef Dee creates a monsterous neck-snappin', head noddin' beat that is the perfect blend of an old-school hip hop jam and a spacey nu-school funk joint. Another standout cut is the powerful yet understated "I'm Ghetto" instrumental.. With only a couple of chopped up samples, a few electronic effects, and a master's understanding of restraint, the rising young producer creates a really soulful track that's just begging to remixed with vocals (cough..cough..Vursatyl... cough). Other highlights include the Roc Marciano assisted track "Marciano", the jazzy guitar laced cut "Pay More Attention", and the low-end heavy march of "Toss N Turn" featuring One Be Lo. Honestly, the whole album is bumpin' and I'm hard pressed to point out any missteps. On the whole, Deja Vu is a solid follow up to  Def Dee's debut full length album and clearly shows what Def Dee brings to the talented line up that makes up Redefinition Records' roster of artists.


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