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Deadbeats, Unite

Broward County hip-hop acts are often looked at as second-class citizens next to rappers from Miami-Dade. Fair or not, MCs on both sides of the county line know it's a fact. Although most hip-hoppers north of the 305 are lobbying for R-E-S-P-E-C-T, here's a local crew that's taking the opposite approach and making a name for itself in the process. The Dead Beats Writer's Lab doesn't have the braggadocio problems of a Kanye West or a 50 Cent. The guys pen lyrics that poke fun at themselves instead and highlight the shortcomings and stereotypes that are a part of their daily lives.

Dead Beats Writer's Lab is composed of Lyve Kaos, 20, Nawshus, 20 and the Space Cadet-yo, 23. They've got a debut album, Deadfinition, out this week. New Times checked in with the Space Cadet-yo to see what it's all about.

Outtakes: What can people expect on the new album?

The Space Cadet-yo: The album is all about metamorphosis. The beginning is on some ol' boom-bap type of beats; then it goes into more battle raps, then political songs, and the end is just humble-love-joints-type of stuff. It's a metaphoric journey that goes from the roots of hip-hop to battling to politics to give-back-to-the-community-type of raps, which is where we are now.

A lot of people would pigeonhole that as just backpack hip-hop.

Whatever, man. We get that a lot. To me, backpack hip-hop comes under the heading of El-P and Aesop Rock. I feel we're not really that type of music. Our music is more A Tribe Called Quest or De La [Soul]. That's not considered backpack hip-hop; that's classic hip-hop. When people say bullshit about us being backpackers, we don't pay it any attention 'cause you can't hold us in a category. We're about making music and having fun. We rag on each other on the album — pretty much we rag on each other all the time, but that's how we make hip-hop.

What connects the three of you?

We go off of each other and have different styles. I'm Jewish, Nawshus is Jamaican, and Lyve is East Indian. We all grew up different ways... yet we all have the same love and ambition for hip-hop. Each one of us brings different elements, but it works.

What's with the group name?

We were all kinda drinking a lot, doing shows, and acting like deadbeats. Whenever I would go on dates with girls, they'd always pay for everything and call me a scumbag. We've all been called deadbeats over the years. Big time.

How does it feel to finally be done with the album?

Oh my God. It's such a relief to have it completely done with. It's perfect, and everything is the way we want it. It couldn't have come out better.

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Jonathan Cunningham

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