Hip-Hop MC from the West Coast, United States. Also a member of The Likwit Crew.
Over the past four years, the West Coast HipHop Scene has undergone a major resurgence. A major player in this renaissance has been that LA Cat and true Likwit Emcee, Defari.
Defari's relationship with hiphop first began in 1982 as a DJ and later evolved into a new phase in 1987 when he began emceeing. 1995 marked Defari's debut on wax in the form of "Big Up", a song produced by E-Swift and featured on Immortal's Next Chapter Compilation. In 1997, Defari teamed with producer-emcee Evidence of Dilated Peoples and dropped two highly regarded singles, "Bionic b/w Change & Switch" and People's Choice b/w Bottom Line on ABB Records. Defari gained notoriety and built a reputation as an artist whose music transcended regional barriers. In May of 1998, Defari signed with Tommy Boy Records. In doing so, he became one of the first participants in the West Coast's Hiphop renaissance to in effect "graduate".
Following the release of his debut album, Defari co-headlined with Xzibit & Phife (A Tribe Called Quest) on The Underdawgs of Hip Hop National Tour in April & May of 1999. He wasn't a newcomer when it came to performing live. Prior to this, he toured the underground circuit for years and received rave review for being one of the most charismatic emcees to hit the stage. His energetic and captivating performances led him to other national & international tours. Rocking a wide range of audiences with some of the major players of the game today. The most current recent N. American tour being the Anger Management Tour where he performed with Xzibit and performed his own material to 20,000 plus crowds each night. Many agree that Defari knows how to bring it like a true seasoned veteran.
It came to the point in 2000 that the fans were not going to be satisfied with just the 12" vinyl available from Defari. With ABB Records' new initiative into the European markets, they released their first ABB Europe CD: Defari's "LA Collexion" - a collection of all Defari's vinyl only singles on ABB Records for the first time on CD. The whole pressing was sold out in France alone within 2 days!
An even more heightened profile in the US came after his featuring on Dr Dre's "Chronic 2001" album and touring the world on the "Up In Smoke Tour" with Dre & Eminem. With fans around the world screaming for Defari to face them one to one in shows - Defari turned to Nicci Cheeks Management in the UK to formalise a new base for his operations outside of the USA, but this time for Europe.
High Times Records signed Defari for his 2003 sophomore album "Odds & Evens" featuring all the usual Likwit family: Dilated Peoples, Tha Liks (Tash, J-Ro & E-Swift) and the Barbershop MCs. This was an automatic VIP round trip ticket to the Amsterdam Cannabis Cup in 2002 and 2003, where Defari performed to a very packed out Melkweg every year alongside groups including: Tha Liks and De La Soul. The release of his new album coupled with a fantastic video for the single "Spell My Name" gave fuel to fire for his European management. This has resulted in a 300% increase in Defari's press, radio and TV coverage (including a special feature documentary about Defari on VIVA TV's "Mixery Raw Deluxe" show during May 2004)... and ultimately his touring capabilities as a solo artist.
D.A. Johnson Jr., also known as Defari, is a West Coast hip hop artist. Primarily, he is a solo artist, additionally he is a member of the Likwit Junkies, a rap duo with DJ Babu of Dilated Peoples. He was born at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He attended the University of California, Berkeley. He began DJing as a young kid in 1982. He was more focused on emceeing, and by 1995, released his first single "Bionic" on Oakland based ABB Records. With the help of E-Swift of Tha Alkaholiks, by 1999, Defari recorded his first album, released on Tommy Boy Records.
Defari taught world history and geography at Inglewood High School in Inglewood, California, and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. and a master's degree from Columbia University in New York City. He stopped teaching in 1998 and he currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.