Diamond D Perfects The Producer-Rapper Combo On ‘The Diam Piece’
Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop was released over 20 years ago and it showcased Diamond D's production and MC abilities. It can be argued that the D.I.T.C. member presented his best material on his debut album. Throughout the years, the legendary Bronx native has consistently churned out production for some of your favorite MCs while seemingly rhyming less. With The Diam Piece, Diamond D's first release since 2007, he gives the audience exactly what they want, which is more of him behind the boards.
The strength of this album is the compilation-like presentation and of course Diamond D's beat-making genius. Diamond D crafted production for some of his favorite MCs and it shows. The album opens up with the first single "Rap Life," which features syllable sensei Pharoahe Monch, expressively weaving in rhymes about his sexual escapades and mic skills. The inquisitive banger "Where's The Love" has the lyrical trio of Talib Kweli, Elzhi and Skyzoo. The holy trinity of lyricism dissect certain situations that cause them to question their love for hip-hop. Every beat seems customized to highlight each artist's skill set. Freddie Foxxx shines on the braggadocio track "It's Nothing" that also features a hungry Fat Joe and focused Chi Ali. "Pump Ya Brakes" brings back the memories when female artists worked together. Rapsody, Boog Brown and Stacy Epps unify over Diamond D's signature production.
The Diam Piece evokes a feeling of appreciation for the rappers you grew up listen to. Case in point: the emergence of the Pharcyde on the nostalgic "Hard Days," Black Rob sounding off on the bouncy "Take Em Off The Map," Kurupt's oft-kilter flow on Tha Alkaholiks assisted "We Are The People Of The World," A.G. and Chino XL on the highly introspective track "Pain", The Stepbrothers over haunting production on "It's Magic," Grand Daddy I.U on the expressive "The Game," Masta Ace on the highly quotable "Ace of Diamonds," and Guilty Simpson and Ras Kass delivering verbal murder on "187."
The Hugh Hefner Chronicles, Diamond D's last release, boasted production from other producers which decreased his workload and gave him more time to focus on the rhymes. On The Hugh Hefner Chronicles, Diamond D seemed to lack motivation and it showed in his delivery. This is not the case on The Diam Piece. Diamond D connects with the legendary Pete Rock on the laid back "Only Way 2 Go." The simplistic approach works for Diamond D who states, "all these producers wanna rhyme now, I led all that."
Diamond continues to rhyme alongside other producers as evidenced by the Scram Jones-featured "I Ain't the One to Fuc Wit," the Hi-Tek featured "Handz Up," the boastful driven "Vanity" with Nottz, and Kev Brown on the ultra magnetic "Let the Music Talk." His only solo offerings come in the form of "Jose Feliciano" and the head nodding DJ Scratch produced "Superman." The latter track highlights Diamond D's microphone mastery as evidenced by simile-laden lyrics and precise delivery.
The Diam Piece is nothing new. In fact, it is a blast from the past, when compilations reigned supreme. Listening this album brought back memories of SoundBombing or Lyricist Lounge, the presentation of thought out lyrics and accompanying backdrops works. Diamond D meticulously selected guests for this collaborative masterpiece and injects rhyming when needed. Overall, it'll definitely keep your attention thanks to Diamond D's crafted beat wizardry. Real hip-hop at its best.—Praverb