Word On The Street: Defron
Written by admin on October 11, 2018
Hot off the drop of his latest track, the Entelechy produced Haiku (Poor Little Humpty), we got in touch with Mister Defron, the 20 something veteran emcee who spits out rhymes with an intensity and passion that’s hard to find.
But first, the quick facts.
Born & Raised? In Melbourne, aka Hell’s Freezer.
I first fell in love with Hip-Hop from a very early age. My pops would blast ‘Rapper’s Delight’ and ‘The Message’ on vinyl and that was that.
Top 5 MCs of all time? Black Thought, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Redman and Andre 3000
Currently spinning… my home girls Thando and Sadiva. Thando just dropped a single Happy and anybody who suffers from anxiety needs to listen to it NOW. Sadiva’s the queen of Melbourne lo-fi hip-hop…she released her debut album Minutes this year and it’s serious flames.
Representing? South east Melbourne
Planning to return to the stage… in 2019.
I’m literally the person and artist I am due to the good and bad people in my life.
Mister Defron, you can call him Defron for short, is about overcoming obstacles and accepting who you are – baggage and all. He believes it’s not healthy to get dragged down by all the negatives, crying out to whoever will listen ‘woe is me’, when he could just remember that when
I was 10 years old I said, ‘I want to be a rapper and a writer when I grow up’ and I am living that dream.
But this outlook didn’t happen overnight. He’s had plenty of obstacles to overcome from an early age – including being diagnosed with cholesteatoma, an incurable disease in his left ear at the age of five resulting in hear loss. He’s also survived five mastoid operations by the time he was 10 and a bout of cancer in his later years.
Plus, kids can be cruel.
During his school years he was teased a lot, listening to taunts of “Deaf” or “Deafie”. He was also beaten up for wanting to make it as a rapper.
But this isn’t a sad story.
Where most of us would take the easy way out to be accepted by our peers, Defron took his experiences and grew from it, explaining “when I first started rapping, to rub it in their faces, I called myself ‘Def’, but it was a little too general [or] common sounding. So, I combined it with… ‘Ron’, based on the spelling of my first name Kieron.”
Having been on the Melbourne circuit for years, he got his name out by getting his start as a freestyle emcee hitting open mics and cyphers in Dandenong, moving onto rap battles, acapella rap circuits and then facilitating hip-hop and rap workshops around the state.
He’s since retired from battling to focus on song-writing. Identifying as a writer and lyricist first and foremost, his words are the top priority, and you’ll be able to hear his honest lyricism in full force on his upcoming mixtape, Maybe You’ll Be Famous When You’re Dead.
His current music direction is inspired by all the different styles he’s been vibing with lately – soul, jazz, lo-fi you name it. But how did he find himself creating music in this unique pocket of sound? Well, he says,
with the act of rebelling against being pigeon holed as an underground rapper or another boom-bap lyricist. So, I’ve been experimenting with adding more melody to my tunes, aiming to capture a vibe as well as deliver a message.
Another game changer? When he stopped
thinking myself as an emcee and [started] thinking of myself as a songwriter. When I turned to the page looking to write songs, rather than just raps, it became a more focused pursuit as an artist. I still love and appreciate lyrics, but I no longer try to make every line a ‘lyrical miracle’ extravaganza.
Maybe You’ll Be Famous When You’re Dead covers the minutiae of his struggle with anxiety and depression, as well as touching on the various medical issues he’s been dealt with over the years. And if Haiku and his last single Sacré Cœur is anything to go by, we’re in for a mixtape loaded with conceptual styles, multi-layered instrumentalism and intense beats.
His honesty about his mental health has not only inspired him in his music, but also in other ways. You might expect his favourite career moment to have happened on one of the city’s biggest stages, but it was in a different setting.
“Earlier this year I delivered a TedX Talk, ‘You are the Hero & Villain of Your Story’ where I shared my struggles with illness and mental health…. Being able to share that story and hear about how it’s connected with other people has truly been a lifetime achievement, and I’m really grateful and appreciative of TedX Monash University for inviting me to talk.”
Defron’s not just about changing the discussion surrounding mental health, but he also has his sights set to helping change the views that many Aussie audiences have about the genre.
For one, he prefers to think of himself as a hip-hop artist before he thinks of himself as Australian.
“I’m actually not comfortable with being “Australian” for we live on stolen Indigenous land and the multicultural and diverse development of our hip-hop scene is doing just fine without me,” he explains.
For a long-time our mainstream hip-hop in terms of what made its way to radio waves was quite white-washed and male-centric, which is also a problem Australia and the music industry has had in general. But recently as our country has increasingly become more representative of multiple nationalities and cultures, so has our hip-hop and we have an incredible range of talented artists including Sampa the Great, Nooky, Tkay Maidza, Birdz, Jesswar, B-Wise and many more. It’s an honour and a blessing to be able to make a living as a hip-hop artist and all I’m trying to do is be to true to the roots, paying homage to my inspirations like Skyzoo, Jay-Z and Biggie, while sharing my story and connecting with individuals and the community.
Defron’s achieved a lot in his life already, but he’s not even close to being done – he’s still got a trail to blaze. As far as what he wants to be remembered for when all is said and done?
As an example that you are the hero and villain of your own story. Life is full of obstacles. If you focus on them as problems and antagonise yourself, you become the villain. But if you see them as invitations to be glorious, you can become the hero. What’s important is to give yourself a break. Sometimes you are going to antagonise yourself. But you just need to keep flicking the page. Keep the story going from day to day… I just want to be a reminder for other people that success starts and ends within. You can compare yourself to what everybody else is doing or retreat back to what’s simple and realise you’ve been living your dream from the second you didn’t give up on it.
And who can argue with that.
Defron is a Melbourne based songwriter/hip-hop artist that’s definitely one to keep on your radar. Get around his mixtape Maybe You’ll Be Famous When You’re Dead, set to drop soon.
Written By Alyna Malyniak