By Stephanie Amy Collazo
East Coast hip-hop duo Fresh Vetz bring witty lyrics and fresh beats to the table. The pair have released two mixtapes in as many years and are promising to reconstruct hip-hop with their upcoming debut full-length release. Going back to their roots, Dashah and DJ Pause draw inspiration from their ‘80s predecessors Eric B. and Rakim, producing hard beats and slick rhymes. The two recently secured a distribution deal with Red Line Music to release Fresh 2 Def on October 4. DJ Pause and MC Dashah’s music conveys both a feeling of nostalgia and progression, providing a new sound while bringing the DJ/MC combo back to hip-hop.
YRB: You guys have great synergy. How long did it take to realize Fresh Vetz had enough chemistry to be a group and not just another one-off collaborative effort?
Dashah: Thanks, we really appreciate that! Well, me and Pause have been friends for years and always loved the same type of music. He use to come out to the city and DJ all my shows for me, on top of that he did a lot of the production on my Rap Burglar series albums. After rocking together many times, we felt it was only right to just do it as a group – all we needed was the perfect name.
YRB: How did you guys meet?
Pause: We met each other in high school, [Dashah] rapped and I deejayed. He used to come over my crib and we would make tapes of him rapping over instrumentals. Two turntables and a mic. That was like ‘99.
YRB: How did your deal with Red Line come about?
Dashah: It’s basically a distribution deal for our company Top Shelf Enterprises to release our album Fresh 2 Def. I honestly have to give the credit to my man DJ Total Eclipse for this situation though, it was him who connected me with the dude who runs it a few years back. I put out a couple of solo projects with them, now we’re doing the same as FVZ. I really have a great business relationship with them, we’re pretty fortunate.
YRB: What can listeners expect from your new album?
Pause: Fresh 2 Def offers just some dope hip-hop. It’s fresh, fly but still raw. It’s just good music and really showcases that Fresh Vetz sound. Hip-hop heads will love this one.
Dashah: Hahaha word. Agreed! Pure freshness! Crazy beats, dope rhymes, real hip-hop. Period!
YRB: Who are some artists you guys have collaborated on tracks with?
Dashah: We’ve worked with IllMind, The X-Ecutioners, 9th Prince of Killarmy (Wu-tang). I did a joint with Sean Price and Torae that hasn’t hit the Internet yet. You’ll see that pop up soon.
YRB: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Pause: Nas, Rakim, EPMD, De La Soul, Black Thought, Elzhi, AZ, Raekwon, Wu Tang, Boot Camp, Ghost – you know, artists of that caliber.
Dashah: Camp Lo, definitely Nas, Raekwon, RZA, Pharrell, DJ Premier, Phonte, 9th Wonder, Adele, Ghostface. I’m sure there’s a few more that’s slipping my mind.
YRB: How does your “group” work differ from your solo work?
Dashah: There’s really no difference. It’s all dope, fresh and ridiculously lyrical. Maybe my solo albums have a few more stories, but that’s really it. It’s all FVZ any way you choose to spell it. Whether it’s a “Dashah” album a “DJ Pause” compilation, doesnt’t matter, it’s all the same. You’ll always hear me screaming “FVZ in the building” even if I’m guest appearing on someone else’s project. That’s the brand, that’s who I represent.
Pause: Well, the only main difference would be that Fresh Vetz always has a direction for each project. So if I do a beat for our project I know where I’m going to take it. Other artists I just give them what I think suits them best. But it’s all dope.
YRB: What’s your stance on sampling vs. original compositions?
Pause: I‘ve always been a sample-based producer. I love the art of sampling. Original beats are the trend for the mainstream now, which is cool, [but] I just love digging and chopping. If I could master making original beats but have them sound like a sample beat, then I would do them a lot more.
YRB: Who are some new artists you guys dig?
Dashah: I like a lot of the upcoming cats that [are] really doing it, like Homeboy Sandman, Dynasty, YC The Cynic, Skyzoo, Fashawn, Pac Div, Diamond District, Maffew Ragazino, my man Chilo, Luck Kennedy, Action Bronson.
Pause: Everyone Dashah said. I also like the kid STS.
YRB: How do you feel about the younger talent coming up, such as Mac Miller, Odd Future, etc?
Dashah: I think hip-hop will never grow old, it’ll always stay fresh and young. Cats like Odd Future and Mac Miller bring a lot of new energy to the game. I like what they’re doing. It’s not just them, there’s plenty more young artists out there that’s doing the same. As long as the young generation keeps on understanding the history of hip-hop and where it came from we should be alright.
Pause: Word. Artists like Mac Miller and Odd Future hold the flag for their generation of listeners. So I can’t hate on that.
YRB: What’s next for Fresh Vetz? Albums, mixtapes, tours, festivals?
Pause: We got the new album Fresh 2 Def dropping October 4th, we’re working on a few videos right now for the album, we have some shows lined up for the rest of the summer and just trying to stay busy and put the name out there.
Dashah: Definintely, more albums, more music, a possible UK tour. More videos, more shows, whatever we can do to keep the buzz for Fresh Vetz going. We’re going to just keep hitting the people with material. We’re always working! I may even put out Rap Burglar 4 in 2012 – I’ll keep you posted on that.