This album was released on May 10th this year. It kind of caught me by surprise because I had no idea it even came out, and I really haven’t seen a single other person talking about it. That kinda worries me. It’s possible that the lack of attention is due to a lack of quality. I’m gonna keep my expectations in check. I think I’ll enjoy it to some extent though because the first Diam Piece project is my favorite Diamond D album. I think it was very smart of him to get all those features and focus more on the production rather than rapping because he’s never really been a super impressive MC to me. He’s not the worst rapper ever, but he just doesn’t really stand out much at all. He kinda went the Statik Selektah route with that album. He had a few verses here and there, but he let the features handle most of the vocal contributions. I’m glad that was the case because the solo album he dropped before that one was actually terrible in my opinion. I’ll discuss this more tomorrow when I post my rating of his discography though. Anyway, every song here is self produced. I’m not expecting greatness, but I’ll be shocked if there aren’t at least a handful of songs that I like.
1. Intro featuring Snooze & Verse
I’m not familiar with either of the features on this track, so I unfortunately don’t know exactly who each verse is performed by. I’m just gonna assume the first verse is from Snooze. Anyway, this beat is pretty great. It’s pretty dark, and the bass synth that comes in after a while sounds really good. This Snooze guy is actually pretty goddamn dope too. This first verse is great.
I’m stoic, so much honor heroic
Y’all niggas know it
Some like to call me a poet, and say I rap for the hopeless, but all I see is the culture
The industry like an ocean, they throwin’ you in to drown & not Michael Phelps with the stroking
His flow is really smooth. The second verse wasn’t quite as good in my opinion, but I still enjoyed it a lot. This is a really good track. The production gets more detailed and layered as the song progresses. It’s fantastic. Diamond D did a great job with this beat. I even liked the electric guitar on the outro. I really fuck with this track. It’s dope af.
2. Watch Yo Back featuring Buckshot, General Steele & Rock
This song has another awesome beat. Okay, I can already tell I’m gonna love this album. This first verse from Buckshot is fantastic. There’s no hook or bridge or anything like that on this track. It’s just three great verses over a super dope beat. General Steele did a great job with the second verse, but Rock really snapped on that final verse. I wasn’t expecting that. I’ve always considered him a super under-appreciated artist, and I think he’s a great rapper. I don’t know why he surprised me here though. He definitely had the best verse in my opinion. That was great. I think I like this track even more than the previous one. This shit is dope af.
3. OMG featuring Pharoahe Monch
This song has a fantastic bongo driven beat. Pharoahe Monch did what he always does on this track. There’s really not much for me to say about this song. I don’t have any issues with it at all. Pharoahe Monch rapped pretty well, but it wasn’t a super amazing performance that every Pharoahe Monch fan needs to hear. It’s far from the best rapping I’ve heard from him. It was definitely still really great though. This is probably my least favorite track so far, but I still really enjoyed it. I expected more from Pharoahe Monch to be honest, but it’s far from bad. I really fuck with it. It’s dope.
4. Turn It Up featuring Snoop Dogg & Case
The name Case looks really familiar, but I’m not actually sure if I’ve ever heard that person’s music in the past. If I have it was on a feature, and it must not have been very memorable. Anyway, the production on this track is pretty great. Honestly, I think I’ve been even more impressed by the beats from Diamond D than I have been with the rapping from the features. Snoop’s rapping on this first verse is actually pretty great though. It’s about as good as anyone could hope for a Snoop verse to be in 2019. It was dope. I’m not crazy about the female voice on the hook, but it’s not too bad. It’s certainly not bad enough to ruin the song. The rest of the hook is really great. Case sang his ass off. He sounded really good. The way he was harmonizing with Snoop sounded awesome. The second verse from Diamond D was pretty nice too. I don’t really have any major issues with this song. In fact, I actually think this is my favorite track on the whole album so far believe it or not. It’s not like the rapping is way better than the rapping on other tracks. I just like with this one a lot sonically. It’s dope af.
5. The Three Kings featuring Erick Sermon & Havoc
I guess the title of this track was chosen due to the fact that the song has three legendary old school rapper-producers. The beat on this track is amazing. Diamond D really put his ass into these beats. This is my favorite instrumental on the whole album so far. Erick Sermon did a great job on that first verse too. Damn, this album is way better than I was expecting it to be. This is fire. The hook is pretty nice too. The second verse from Havoc was solid, and Diamond D did his thing on the final verse as well. I actually think Erick Sermon had the best verse on the song though. He had the most energy, and he sounded better over this beat than the other two in my opinion. They all did a pretty good job though. Honestly, this is probably my favorite track on the album so far. I just really love that beat. This shit is dope af.
6. I Can’t Lose featuring Elzhi & Blake Moses
This was one of my most anticipated tracks on the album because of the Elzhi feature. I’m not familiar with this Blake Moses person though. I’m assuming it’s a singer. I googled his name and couldn’t find anything. This picture came up though.
I doubt it’s the same guy… Anyway, the production on this track is really great. It sounds super New York-ish. It fits Elzhi really well despite the fact that he’s from Detroit. He’s always kinda sounded like a New York MC to me anyway. He fucking killed that first verse though. That was fantastic.
Must they forget we chasin’ a dream?
They wanna turn what you picture into a meme so it seems
And receiving some glitches would leave ’em in stitches like a sewing seamstress
And that’s what they team wish in an extreme twist
I’m packin’ some steam, they would hate if I stream this
Dude always rhymes his fuckin’ ass off. I love it. That verse was awesome. I guess Blake Moses is the vocalist on the hook. He sounded pretty good. To my delight, Elzhi went back in for a second verse. This is definitely my favorite song on the whole album so far. I love it. This song is amazing. The production is fantastic, and of course Elzhi killed it. The vocals from Blake Moses sounded good too. This shit is dope af.
7. Got It Covered featuring O.C. & Adela
Man, this album is amazing so far. Hopefully he can maintain this level of quality throughout the entire project. This song might actually have my favorite beat on the whole album. It’s superb. Goddamnit. This is gonna be one of those albums where I really struggle to choose a favorite track. The first verse from O.C. on this track is fantastic. It’s crazy that the song with Pharoahe Monch, one of the greatest rappers of all time, is my least favorite track on the album. That’s just a testament to how good this project is. Well… Hmm… I guess that doesn’t really make sense. Whatever. Forget I said that. The light singing from Adela in the background during the hook sounds really nice over this beat. Man, this is awesome. This might be my favorite song on the album. It’s between this one and the previous track. They’re both amazing. I love this one. The production is stellar, and O.C. killed both of the verses. This shit is dope af.
8. Survive or Die featuring Fat Joe, Fred the Godson & Raekwon
I’m not too happy about this Fat Joe feature, but I guess it makes sense since he’s another member of the DITC crew. He was pretty good on that Bun B album that dropped in April, so I was hopeful that he would come through with a good performance on this track as well. Thankfully, he wasn’t too bad on this song. It’s not really an impressive verse, but it was sufficient. It’s about as good as I could have hoped for basically. This song probably has the most underwhelming beat on the entire project so far to be honest. It’s not bad though. The hook is fine. Fred the Godson is one of those dudes whose music I always avoided. I think I’ve only heard like one song from him, and it was pretty bad. I think he’s supposed to be one of those dope New York revivalists. He even did a collab album with Joell Ortiz earlier this year that I chose not to listen to. Maybe he’s dope and I’ve been fucking up. People don’t seem to take him very seriously though. After hearing his verse on this track, I kinda see why. He had some painfully lame bars. This line in particular made me cringe so hard that my face looked like a screw hole…
Ma, show your ass, I’ll make it rain there: Rudolph
You see, the way he pronounced “rain there” was supposed to sound like “reindeer,” hence the “Rudolph” follow up. Pretty terrible stuff. He also rhymed the word “flat” with “shine,” which was uh… interesting. I think I’m gonna continue to steer clear of that dude in the future. Raekwon easily had the best verse on the song. That really shouldn’t come as a surprise though. I don’t know… I don’t think I’m gonna be coming back to this track. Raekwon’s verse was pretty much the only thing I liked about it, and the verse wasn’t even that great. This track is just okay to me.
9. Bodied featuring David Banner, Big Rec & Edson Sean
This is another track that I was really looking forward to due to the David Banner feature. I’m not really familiar with Big Rec or Edson Sean though. They thankfully came through with pretty good performances. I think that was Edson Sean singing on the hook. He did his thing. David Banner slaughtered that first verse. I fucking love that dude, man. He has such a great voice, and, as I’ve said before, he has one of my favorite ad-libs in Hip Hop. His verse was fantastic. Goddamn. I don’t know how I’m gonna choose a favorite track from this album, man. This beat is spectacular. I was actually really impressed by that second verse from Big Rec as well. That dude really stood out. He killed that verse. I might have to look into more of his work. This is one of the best songs on the album in my opinion. I have zero issues with it. This shit is amazing.
10. Maintaining featuring Lord Tariq, Peter Gunz & A-Kash
I’m not really familiar with A-Kash, and I’ve only heard a couple features from Peter Gunz & Lord Tariq in the past. I really like Peter’s son though. I’m still mad that Cory Gunz never put out an album. Anyway, this is another really great song. The production wasn’t super impressive, but it was pretty good. The two verses from Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz are really what make the song stand out. I thought Lord Tariq’s verse was fantastic, and Peter Gunz was somehow able to surpass him. They both fucking murdered those verses. The hook from A-Kash is nothing special, but it gets the job done. Again, I wasn’t super impressed by the production and hook, but I was very impressed by the two verses. This shit is dope af.
11. Children of the Ghetto featuring Styles P, Xzibit & Ashtin Martin
The production on this track is really nice. It’s perfect for Styles P. He sounds great over it. His verse was pretty good. This Ashtin Martin guy sounds just like BJ the Chicago Kid. If the features weren’t listed I would have assumed it was BJ singing that hook. I enjoyed it though. Man, Xzibit has such a perfect voice for rap. He just sounds like a rapping bulldog. I love it. He sounded awesome on that second verse. This is another really great song. Nothing about it really blew me away. It was all just really fucking good. The production was really dope, the verses were great, and Ashtin Martin sounded good on the hook too. This shit is dope af.
12. Chivas Blanc
The beat on this one is pretty good, and Diamond D actually sounds good rapping over it too. His rapping has been inconsistent in the past, but he thankfully did his thing on this track. The production is easily the best aspect of the song, but Diamond D’s flow was cool, and he had some hard lines in there. This is one of the weakest tracks on the album in my opinion, but that’s not saying much because the whole album has been really great so far. This is still a very entertaining song to me. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s dope.
13. Next to You featuring Raheem DeVaughn & Wes Felton
This is the only song aside from the first track where I’m not really familiar with either of the featured artists. I’ve only ever heard Raheem DeVaughn on features, and I don’t think I’ve heard this Wes Felton dude at all, although his name does look kind of familiar. Anyway, this is another one of the weaker songs on the album in my opinion. It’s still pretty good though. The production just isn’t really that impressive, and the content doesn’t particularly interest me either. It’s just a traditional love song. It’s well done I guess. I’m certainly enjoying it to some extent. The first verse from Wes Felton was solid. The hook from Raheem DeVaughn is actually really good. He sounded fantastic. The hook is definitely my favorite part of the song. Not only because of Raheem’s singing, but also because of the instrumental flair added to the production. It sounds great. The second Wes Felton verse is pretty solid. I like the song. It’s not super top tier shit like most of the other songs so far, but I still enjoyed a lot. This is dope.
14. The Hit featuring Doo Wop, DJ Tony Touch & Termanology
I really like the cinematic production on this track. The beat sounds like something I’d hear during a tense scene in an old school action movie. Doo Wop sounds really nice on this first verse. His flow is pretty tight. The next verse from Tony Touch was cool. It wasn’t quite as good in my opinion, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Termanology sounded kinda different on this track for some reason. His voice sounded a lot higher than it usually does. He must’ve been using a voice synthesizer or something because he sounded like a kid. I didn’t really mind it at all. It was just weird. The verse itself was fantastic though. He killed it. That was definitely the best verse on the song. I actually really fuck with this track. All the verses—especially the last one—are good, and the production was really great too. This shit is dope af.
15. The Zone Out featuring Talib Kweli, NIKO IS & K. Terroribul
NIKO IS & K. Terroribul are two other artists who I’ve only ever heard on features. NIKO IS works a lot with Talib, and K. Terroribul mostly works with Diamond D. He’s actually listed as Terror Van Pooh in the tracklist for some reason. I guess he changed his name. I think K. Terroribul is a better name personally. Neither of those names are that great though. Anyway, the production on this track is pretty nice. The first verse from NIKO IS is nice. He had a good flow, and his voice sounded great over the lowkey beat. I think Terror’s verse was better though. His flow was actually really impressive. He killed that shit to be honest. That verse was fantastic. The scratches between the second and final verse were dope. Talib Kweli did his thing, but Terror frankly stole the show in my opinion. He snapped. This is yet another fantastic song. It’s dope af.
16. Hold Up featuring Twista & A-F-R-O
This is another one of the songs that really stood out from the tracklist. I’m always interested in seeing whatever A-F-R-O’s gonna do, even if the majority of the time it’s just him rapping super fast with little to no lyrical substance. Considering the fact that he’s appearing alongside Twista on this track, I pretty much predicted that that’s exactly what this would be. The production is incredible, and A-F-R-O slaughtered that first verse. As always, his flow is on steroids, but it was actually cool lyrically too. However, there are certain points where he’s rapping so fast that his words are virtually unintelligible. Twista had the better performance in my opinion, but it’s not like he completely blew A-F-R-O away. They both slaughtered the song. Honestly, this is one of my favorite songs on the whole album. I love the production, and both of the featured MCs did a fantastic job. This shit is dope af.