Dragon Fli Empire (DFE) are a Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based rapper-producer duo consisting of emcee Teekay AKA Tarik and producer DJ Cosm AKA Cosmix. "Keepin' the Funk alive since 2002..." DFE have released four albums on Calgary's own Makebelieve Records since 2004—Conquest, The Invasion LP, Redefine, and Mission Statement—as well as a slew of singles, EP's and compilations on Bigfoot, P-Vine, and Traveller Records. Dragon Fli Empire's last proper full-length, Mission Statement (Deluxe Edition) featured a coveted guest verse from Brand Nubian's Sadat X and an incorporated sample from Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," as well as a collection of bonus remixes and edits; Teekay & DJ Cosm have previously collaborated with the likes of Cadence Weapon, Djar One, Moka Only, and Masta Ace. Throughout the course of their storied 16-year career, Dragon Fli Empire have shared the stage with De La Soul, Jay Electronica, Joey Bada$$, Mos Def, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Public Enemy, The Roots, and even, Joni Mitchell.
Dragon Fli Empire have returned this week with their first release since 2013's Mission Statement, "Hold Down The Fort" B/W "Right On Time" released digitally and on limited edition 7-inch available through Beats House/Radio Krimi/Makebelieve Records. DFE deliver a nostalgia-inducing one-two punch of Boom-Bap-inflected Hip-Hop on their freshly-pressed 7-inch/digital single: Side A - "Hold Down The Fort" was produced by Beats House Records founder and frequent collaborator Djar One with cuts throughout from DJ Cosm and sounds like a Jazz-inflected "lost" Native Tongues or Soulquarians posse cut from the early 90's. Side B - "Right On Time" was produced by DJ Cosm & Metawon and alternately, features cuts from Djar One with vocal assist from Tanya Morgan/The Lessondary emcee Von Pea, which is a bit more of a laid-back, smooth crooner of a Hip-Hop track with squalling horn sample accents. Dragon Fli Empire's "Hold Down The Fort" B/W "Right On Time" is now available digitally and on limited edition 7-inch via Beats House/Radio Krimi/Makebelieve Records.
"We had already been working on a new full-length album, so we decided to approach a few labels about releasing a vinyl 45. We weren't that confident that we would get replies, but we ended up getting interest from Beats House Records and Radio Krimi in Europe, plus, another label in The States. So, we decided to do a unique vinyl 45 with each of them. For the Beats House/[Radio] Krimi release, we custom-made a couple of brand new songs with them in mind; this is why you can hear the shout-outs in the hook for "Hold Down The Fort." When I heard that beat, it immediately made me think of "Don't Sweat The Technique" by Eric B. & Rakim, so that song is essentially, an homage to them, but also, kind of acts as a mission statement for our "comeback." We're here to keep that Boom-Bap spirit alive that made us fall in love with Hip-Hop, in the first place. It's becoming viewed as a relic in the mainstream, so I think another active example of that style serves our purpose to "hold down the fort" for this artform.
As for "Right On Time," we wanted to have a guest on each project that we respected and also, could help more people, who would probably enjoy our music, discover us. There's a bit of strategy involved there, too. So, DJ Cosm and I were bouncing around potential guest ideas and one of us brought up Von Pea, as a possibility and we both agreed that he would be a great fit for this song. "Right On Time" is a kind of a playful braggadocio joint, which I felt Von Pea could vibe with, given the humor and style of Tanya Morgan and also, his solo projects. So, through a mutual music industry connection, we hit him up and he was down with it. He hit us back with the verse right away and we both were extremely stoked with the flow, the vibe, and the wordplay. We knew he was the cherry on top to really make this joint special. "Right On Time" is kind of a cheeky preemptive answer to the question, "where have you guys been?," as if we were "late" with new music and the answer is: "No, we're right on time and we're just picking it up where we left off." When I say in the song, "I went to India, I went to South America", I actually did; it was for my day job in I.T. working as a trainer for off-shored call centers. General life stuff that kind of gets in the way of being as productive as you'd like."
- Teekay (Dragon Fli Empire)