New York rap duo Fresh Vetz

Fresh Vetz, the underground New York rap duo that prides itself on making rap music that harkens back to the Golden Era, consider Gang Starr one of the best rap groups of all time. So they were stunned when DJ Premier, one half of Gang Starr, named Fresh Vetz’s latest album, “Fresh 2 Def,” as an honorable mention for his Top 25 Albums of 2011.

The call-out came on DJ Premier’s radio show, “Live From HeadQCourterz,” on SiriusXM satellite radio.

“I knew that he knew about us and that he liked what we were doing, but I didn’t expect that,” says Dashah of Fresh Vetz. “That came from left field.”

For DJ Pause, the other member of the group, the recognition carried special significance. “Being a DJ and a producer, Premier is like my idol,” he says. “For him to say that unexpectedly was just an amazing feeling, having it come from his voice that we made one of his favorite albums, one that we did all on our own and as independent as can be, I still have a high from that.”



One listen to “Fresh 2 Def” and it’s clear why Premier is a fan. Such selections as “Dope Addictz” and “Move The Crowd” contain the type of boom-bap production and lyrical gymnastics that fit in well with gritty underground New York rap.

It’s a musical recipe that has earned Fresh Vetz extensive love on the Internet and in New York’s independent rap scene. But DJ Premier’s validation came with the added weight of his place in rap history.

“With Premier, he never changed his style,” DJ Pause explains. “He always kept it true to hip-hop, and he’s a successful artist so it gave motivation to me to just be me and for Fresh Vetz to just be us and not be worried about what everybody else is doing. That’s kind of what Gang Starr represented.”

For Fresh Vetz, its boast-heavy and drum-driven material is a natural outgrowth of its love for rap music and hip-hop culture. “We’re so into music,” Dashah says. “Our formula is going to keep getting better every time we come out. Groups like Gang Starr, Wu-Tang Clan -- they’ve been in the game so long and that longevity is what we’re after. We look up to them and we’re basically trying to carry the torch for the road that they paved for us.”

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