Though clearly well-versed in the art of hardcore boom-bap-style hip-hop, Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Don Def is not from the school of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” No, Don Def studied at the Nicky Santoro school of “If it ain’t broke, I’ll beat you over the head with it until it breaks along with your skull.”’

Hence, The Break of Don, a fully self-produced debut that speaks to the fact I’ve personally seen Ghostface Killah get a livelier response at the Paradise Rock Club on Commonwealth Avenue than at the Best Buy Theater on Broadway. Speaking of Wu, Don Def actually produced a near-drumless song for Hell Razah years before that production style became all the rage, but that’s neither here nor there, as The Break of Don is heavy on hard knocks and altogether devoid of guest MCs. If it’s a wake-up call, it’s one equal to being woken up by getting drenched in a 12-gallon stew of blood, grime and “Dirty Water”-flavored hometown pride. The pride is Don’s, the grime his city’s, and the blood yours.

I’m not saying The Break of Don is for everyone. What I’m saying is if Don Def were to submit a thesis to the aforementioned school, it’d be titled, “Listen, Dogs. I’ve got your head in a vise. I’ll squash your fucking head like a grapefruit, if you don’t give me a name. Come on, Anthony. We go way back. Don’t make me do this, please. Don’t make me have to be the bad guy here.”

• DON DEF: http://dondef.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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