Defron – solo artist from Melbourne
Picture Peter Pan sporting a shaved head in a pair of sneakers dropping bookworm bravado. You have Defron. Nostalgic of simpler days when life was just wearing-out your favourite cartoon on VHS, this 26 year-old Melbourne emcee combines confessional song-writing with abstract braggadocio to provide hip-hop that same release from the mundane.
Diagnosed with hearing loss at age five, the future rapper/poet was forced to grow up quickly. In surviving five mastoid operations by the age of ten, followed by a bout with testicular cancer at age 20, Defron escaped his routine of hospital visits by devouring comic books and music. He then turned to the page where he became his own superhero.
Flexing a penchant for syncopated vocal samples and multi-layered instrumentation, Defron’s anvil-dropping flow has been heard over melodic beat-scapes on Triple J and Triple R, and seen alongside the stage with OFWGKTA, Mantra, 360, Dylan Joel and Illy.
Evident on his debut EP, ‘Invalid’, Defron’s mature realism and conceptual style is told with youthful charm and inventive wordplay. Narrating hardboiled wisdom with a child-like charisma and fierce cadence, Defron tells our inner child to never grow up, but reminds our outer adult that we had no choice.
Byatt, who also MC’s under the name Defron, says he has noticed a “real changing of the guard” in how people listen to hip hop.
“Kids are listening to so many genres now, their music tastes aren’t as compartmentalised, and artists are embracing different sounds. There used to be this big thing where most Aussie artists would rap in fake American accents, but now it’s more neutral,” he says. “A couple of years ago, it used to just be people rapping about suburban Aussie things, tongue in cheek,” he says. “Now there are universal topics being discussed… and because we’re so young and multicultural as a nation, artists are taking influences from their backgrounds all around the world. “I think [Aussie hip hop] is still seen through an outsider prism as something adopted,” he says. “It hasn’t kicked down the door of mainstream [music] yet…but we are in the middle of that progression and the evolution of hip hop as definitely far less pigeonholed.”
“We’ve got African, Indian and UK influences showing up everywhere which evolves the dynamic.” “People are realising that it doesn’t really matter if you have an Aussie accent or your content or background is different to US hip hop. If people support that artist, they will support them all the way,” he says.
“The difficulty is getting known because Perth is not as strong in hip hop as other places, but it’s getting there. I would say that hip hop is becoming the new rock for this generation.” “There are so many new resources available now and new platforms found online, such as music blogs. Artists can collaborate and promote at a whole other level,”