Defenders of Style are classified as a predominant music group in the Northern UK Hip Hop scene. Having been in the game for a solid amount of time, during the rise of UK Hip Hop, Defenders of Style have had a strong impact in their musical sphere. In their intimate studio Prys, Disgust and Jack Danz took a trip down memory lane reminiscing while retracing their steps in the game and their achievements of today. Having met during the vital years of adolescence, they soon became part of a circle of young adolescents with the same interests. During these years they soon built strong bonds with a main common enthusiasm for music. They started off initiating their music tastes to old school 90’s Hip Hop such as Biggie, Big L and Wu Tang Clan. In their own time they were discovering the major figures of the UK Hip Hop milieu of Skinnyman, Klashnekoff but soon through their friendship circle they were passed down mixtapes from older brothers introducing them to more precise style. The Leeds scene was emerging at it’s own rate with Double D Dagger and Arrow, 9 Lives, BTI, Invisible circle. With all this material the boys were bombarded with knowledge which took this musical interest and turned it into an obsession. These artists that were having such a big impact ‘solidified everything they respected and wanted to achieve‘ for their musical path. This was the beginning of a source of entertainment that became a prior part of their lifestyle.
Once they had gained the capacity to reach out, they started doing open MIC’s in Leeds. This is where their drive which they all individually possessed got turned up a notch where more time and skill got invested. With the interest of 10 Tonne and Tony Green, major figures in the growth of the Hip Hop scene, these figures picked up on them. With this, they started to what they were doing on a more serious note. While beginning to promote on new various social media platforms they were starting to notice a role reversal of what they had known before; it was their mixtape that was starting to be passed down to the younger generation. This is how their first album ‘Thoughts of the Nameless’ became. With a selection of tracks that had covered 6 years of their lives, this album was the starting point that solidified their name enabling them to gain more coverage, bookings and success in the Northern Hip Hop scene.
Since then, Defenders of Style blossomed by affirming their position within the UK Hip Hop scene while representing the city of Leeds. Just after ‘Thoughts of the Nameless,’ Tony Green, seized the boys unique opportunities that would forge their name as a whole. Defenders of Style were able to become the supporting acts of the names of Lewis Parker, Masta Ace and Kano to name a few, which would bring on more future particular events.
Dolce Stil Nuvo was the second album to create an impact on their career. From their first album different contrasts occurred. Thoughts of the Nameless was very much swing orientated with emphasis on the bars and chorus whereas Dolce Stil Nuvo was grittier and more stylistically wrought. From the first to second album a clear transition was made, the style developed as so did their attitude towards life, the influence of people they were around etc, making all musicians tighter together. During this maturing process the boys all established their roles while solidifying their style, image and also working process. The boys work with the usually dark yet classical boombap vibes that producer Danz provides, creating their cypher infused style of high volume emceeing and low volume spitting. When creating their lyrics it is only a natural occurence, sometimes all members will be in the studio where they would pinpoint and elaborate on a certain tone to a certain track, otherwise the majority of bars will be written outside of their studio with Disgust, Joe Snow and Prys sending them to and fro to all other members. This creates a jumble of themes covered through their discography, the only main concept they like to include are feelings to relate to making each track an unpredictable surprise. When spitting, the manner they have learnt to operate together musically and grown with is a gritty ambiance that sounds better live or in a cypher rather than recorded straight in the studio. This can be seen as one of the reasons why Defenders of Style strive so well during performances allowing them to have be supporting acts of Souls of Mischief, Redman & Methodman and Pete Rock. This unique style that they incorporate has been captured and emphasized with the help of Chris Bromley who has filmed and directed all of their music videos. The viewer can sense both music and cinematic styles evolving with time, showing both sets of artistic minds merging to create Defenders of Styles image. Each member brings something unique to the table such as Disgusts ability to hype live acts with his energetic performances and Prys charismatic delivery, quotable punchlines and Snows wordplay and flow. With Jack Danz one of the most renowned producers in the UK, this perfectionist works and carves out the initial work material till early mornings the will jump out at the live acts dropping synchronised excellence on quality of spitting and producing. All together they worked smoothly as a team at their own pace. Disgust described themselves as ‘good at working on the whole but can find themselves unprofessional at times’, the only factor that may have held them back as they have always held the same motives for spitting and producing: the entertainment and relaxation of working in this unique atmosphere. Even as more interest landed on Defenders of Style they carried on working in their usual fashion to not loose the intentions of what matters and their initial devotion.
Since being on the scene for a while now they have been able to see an evolution in Hip Hop as a whole while viewing new figures come and go. Through the years there have been different ways of linking up and sharing ideas explained Defenders of Style. From debuting in an era where the only way to get your music heard was from a mixtape made of an 8track, now they see a new generation fuelled by technology and sweeping social media of it’s feet with a whole new different technique and style moving it’s way into the younger Hip Hop heads earphones. While Defenders of Style who were always more used to their stricter boombap vibes, have since collaborated with these Hip Hop acts who were influencing their own music with more slowed down beats and an eerie tone such as Northaze a local act who have have blown up on the scene in the past year, the boys say that it’s fresh to work this new generational talent as it’s inspiring to have the younger generations coming through as strong as they are.
This Hip Hop act when asked what’s in store for them, it’s to continue to make their beats in arrival for a new album. A new innovative album with lot’s of stylistic twists, Defenders of Style are targeting their audience while still keeping with what it’s about for them. By taking a pleasure experimenting with new material this new album is evolving with time but as the boys expressed ‘life sometimes gets in the way’, allowing all their fans and existing listeners to become ever more impatient to hear to these new sounds they’re cooking up in their studio. 2017 looks good for these boys.
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