PREMIERE: Def3 ft. Masta Ace, Probcause & Skratch Bastid “Sing”
Three the hard way
“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.
01. Fill Your Soul
02. Small World (feat. Del the Funky Homosapien, Moka Only & The Gaff)
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)