Butter, who's been spinning records and selling mixtapes since the '90s, felt it was time to bring the project to fruition.
"We actually started this about three years ago," he says. "[We] took a little pause and then got the ball back rolling."
The two DJs decided to make an album that was more than just Detroitish sound and purged Dez's basement for tracks he had been sitting on for years.
"Dez had like a zillion beats," Butter says. "I was like, 'Come on, man, let's work!"
A Piece of the Action wins because it's ambitious, diverse, and well-composed. It's produced in continuous mixtape format, with sick-ass original beats. There aren't any Funkmaster Flex-ish annoying voiceovers, overdone skits, or music we've already heard. It features the likes of Supa Emcee, Elzhi, BO$$, Phat Kat, Street Lord Juan, and Guilty Simpson. Action also includes appearances from national hip-hop veterans Kool G. Rap, Kokane, and Kurupt.
"We pulled cats from different regions and paired them up," Butter says.
"We consider this an album more than a mixtape because we want people to take it more serious," says Dez.
The album, which has a total of 40 guests, came about in large part because Butter and Dez used social media to reach out to everyone.
"At the end of the day we're all the same kind of people," says Dez. "All it takes is to make a connection and that person seeing your vision."
Dez is no stranger to collaborations, having played prominent roles in several Detroit music genres. He's worked with Amp Fiddler, toured with Esham and Davina, was the official DJ for Slum Village, and created the DJ crew 12 Tech Mob. He's also teamed up with Moodymann on several house and tech projects.
His collab with Butter was released under their label Crazy Noise Productions.
"We have more releases coming out," Butter says. "Wesley Valentine's album will be out soon. ... We also plan on putting out some remixes, vinyl, and collector's cassettes."
As the sun dips behind Eastern Market, the duo reverts to their original conversation. Historic names Kaos & Mystro, Gary Chandler, Shotgun, and DJ Lenn Swann are bandied about. They talk unity, the new cats, resentment, and good music.
"We all just gotta come together," Butter says. "They love us outside the city, but sometimes we're too hard on each other."