Record Label: Redefinition Records
When you’ve been in an industry for over 20 years, adaptation and evolution are key functions in any field. If you’re Kevin Hansford aka K-Def, you’ve seen good, you’ve seen bad, you’ve seen change and on occasion, you’ve seen history repeat itself. For some artists, staying true and being innovative can be a fine line and a struggle. On one hand, a reputation is built from birth creating a connection that should always be maintained. On the other hand, growth or lack of growth will occur whether change is embraced. A producer like K-Def would not still exist today in 2016 without being aware of those survival tactics. In a society dictated by technology, it’s hard to imagine the world as we know it without the devices and digital platforms we entertain unconsciously.
As he continues to push himself, more recently K was inspired to track down all of his original 90’s gear and works dating prior to his software transition after a recent resurgence of old machines from the younger generation. That meant pulling out 2 full trash bags of floppy disks, revitalizing his old MPC 3000 to new condition, dusting off rack sampler modules and hunting down his MPC 60ii which was the first machine he used debuting in 1993 under Marley Marl. Going through that process brings us K-def’s new album, The Way It Was. The title sums it up. Instead talking about dues he paid and the roots of his skill set, The Way it Was is a living demonstration for younger listeners who grew up after the 90’s and his core fans who remember the days of his Lords of the Underground, Real Live, Mic Geronimo and World Renown productions like yesterday. Though mostly instrumental, frequent collaborator Blu appears on 3 tracks. Blu was inspired to record the socially aware, “The Boys” and the lively “Strawberry Lemonade” (featuring Damu the Fudgemunk and newcomer Kunal) after hearing K-Def’s original demo cassettes. At 11 tracks, “The Way It Was” is a must have for 90’s fans. It IS exactly “what it was”.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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