[11 March 2009]
While they aren’t exactly redefining the rap genre as they imply in their album-sake, Dragon Fli Empire’s Redefine is still a damn fine collection of underground hip-hop. The Calgary-based duo of rapper Teekay and DJ/producer Cosm, who implores a live band sound in his beats, is now on their third full-length with this LP. A cohesive and balanced listen, Redefine has nary a weak spot as it’s filled with positive, though not entirely notable, rhymes from Teekay, who is joined by the likes of Moka Only and Masta Ace, amongst others. Both emcees actually have a profound impact on Teekay, who appears to spit with more tenacity and skill when guests invade his tracks. Of the two, Moka outshines his contemporaries, whether he is crooning and rapping on “Paradise” or providing the smooth and mellow beat on “Keep the Funk Alive”. Although there are plenty of highlights on here—including the aforementioned cuts and “Outside Inn” and “Spanish Story”—Teekay rarely has you seeking the ‘rewind’ button. But even so, his upbeat vibe is infectious and you cannot deny his ability to rhyme. Redefine is essentially an exercise in creating a solid but not groundbreaking hip-hop album that certainly has shades of excellence.