Diamond D - The Diam Piece (Review)

Diamond D - The Diam Piece (Review)

"The Diam Piece" is the latest album from hip-hop legend and D.I.T.C. member Diamond D. The album features guest appearances from Pharoahe Monch, A.G., Pete Rock, Masta Ace, Talib Kweli and many others and is fully produced by Diamond D himself (except the bonus track, which is produced by DJ Scratch). It was released on September 30, 2014 via Dymond Mine Records.

1) Rap Life (featuring Pharoahe Monch) - The first song on the album finds one of my favorite emcees of all time, Pharoahe Monch, spitting some humorous sex rhymes (in the first verse at least) over an ill Diamond D production. The beat is real nice, with some brassy horns, a subtle vocal sample and strings over bouncy drums, and Pharoahe comes with an unorthodox flow and rides the beat as only he can. Dope way to kick off the project. - 4/5

2) Where’s The Love (featuring Talib Kweli, Elzhi and Skyzoo) - The beat on this cut makes use of a nice guitar loop and a long, drawn out vocal sample that I wasn't really diggin' on my first listen. The beat did grow on me, however, but I'm still not really feelin' the way the Jay-Z sample was incorporated. It just gets too repetitive for me, I dunno. With that being said, the rest of the song is pretty good and all three emcees bring it as they question their love for hip-hop and such. This one is just ok for me though. - 2.5/5

3) It’s Nothing (featuring Fat Joe, Chi Ali and Freddie Foxxx) - This joint finds Diamond D delivering a head nodding instrumental that is based around the same sample as Hieroglyphics' "At The Helm" (off of "3rd Eye Vision"), but with a few small tweaks. The beat is good enough and all three emcees come correct over it as they spit some of their usual boastful bars, but the track is nothing mind blowing for me either. - 2.5/5

4) Only Way 2 Go (featuring Pete Rock) - Now this is dope. Diamond D (who spits his first verse on the album on here) and the legendary Pete Rock both rip a smooth guitar-based instrumental with an Akon (yes, Akon) sample on the chorus. The shit is fire though. Yeah, I'm really diggin' this one. - 4.25/5

5) Hard Days (featuring The Pharcyde) - Diamond D links up with West Coast veterans The Pharcyde over a mellow instrumental with a dreamy sample and some saxophones on the chorus. The beat and rhymes on here are nice, but I'm not a huge fan of the chorus. It's not bad, it just sounds a little uninspired. - 3/5

6) I Ain’t The One To Fuc Wit (featuring Scram Jones) - This song finds Diamond D sharing the mic with fellow producer Scram Jones over a funky instrumental with some ill scratching on the chorus. You can tell what the song is about just from the tracks title and the beat is somewhat generic as well. Eh, this one is just ok for me. - 2.5/5

7) Pump Ya Brakes (featuring Rapsody, Boog Brown and Stacy Epps) - This song is kinda dope since it features not one, but three female emcees ripping a head nodding guitar loop over boom-bap drums. It's not often you hear three ladies just bodying a track nowadays, so I'm really diggin' this one. - 3.75/5

8) Take Em Off Da Map (featuring Black Rob) - Black Rob (who was last featured on Cormega's dope "Mega Philosophy" album) goes solo over a sort of bland instrumental with cowbells, hand claps, some strings and a subtle vocal sample. I dunno, this one is just not clicking with me. - 2/5

9) We Are The People Of The World (featuring Kurput and Tha Alkaholiks) - This song has a positive vibe to it, with Tha Liks and Tha Dogg Pound's Kurupt rapping over a mellow instrumental with some congas, hand claps, funky synths and soulful vocals on the hook. As on a few of the other tracks, everyone's verse on here is good enough but it just seems to be missing something. - 2/5

10) Jose Feliciano - Diamond D goes solo over a harder beat with a darker, chopped up sample, some overlaying synths and the occasional piano key. The beat and rhymes on here are dope and redeem the album after the sort of lackluster previous two tracks. - 3.5/5

11) Handz Up (featuring Hi-Tek) - This cut finds Diamond D and Hi-Tek doing their thing over another harder beat, this time with some distorted electric guitars, synths and clashing cymbals. I'm really feelin' the beat and rhymes on this one as well. Dope shit. - 3.75/5

12) Pain (featuring A.G. and Chino XL) - Diamond D delivers a depressing instrumental on this joint, with a melancholy piano loop, backing strings and the occasional synth. Lyrically the song is just as good as the beat, with fellow D.I.T.C. member A.G. setting it off lovely and rapping about the pain and trials of life before Chino XL comes in and closes out the track. This shit is dope. - 4.25/5

13) Vanity (featuring Nottz) - Nottz and Diamond D spit some boastful rhymes about their production skills over a bouncy piano loop and head nodding drums. The beat is real nice and the rhymes are just as good. Another dope track. - 4/5

14) It’s Magic (featuring The Stepbrothers) - The Step Brothers (aka Evidence (of Dilated Peoples) and Alchemist) come through and spit some of their usual over a spacey instrumental with boom-bap drums. The beat has got me nodding my head a bit and the rhymes are pretty good as well. - 3.5/5

15) The Game (featuring Grand Daddy I.U.) - Queens rapper Grand Daddy I.U. kicks some violent braggadocios rhymes over a sort of ominous instrumental. The beat has a darker vibe, with hi-pitched strings, subtle pianos and the rare synthesizer, and Grand Daddy I.U. rips it. I'm a fan of this one. - 3.75/5

16) Let The Music Talk (featuring Kev Brown) - This song finds Diamond D providing a sort of sparse instrumental with a string loop of some sort over soft bells, percussion shakers and ill drums. The beat is real nice and both Diamond D himself and guest producer/emcee Kev Brown sound great over it. The album has really picked up after the shaky middle half. - 3.75/5

17) Ace Of Diamonds (featuring Masta Ace) - You know Masta Ace over Diamond D production is going to be real dope and this song is, but it's not quite as dope as I was hoping. The rhymes are as good as expected, but the beat got a tad repetitive for me over the course of the song. Still, very nice. - 3.25/5

18) 187 (featuring Guilty Simpson and Ras Kass) - The song finds Guilty Simpson and West Coast vet Ras Kass kicking some aggressive rhymes over a frantic instrumental with cinematic strings, reverberating synths and hard ass drums. The beat has a real dark, uneasy vibe to it and the rhymes keep with that tone. Dope. - 3.25/5

19) Superman (Bonus Track) - The final song on the album is actually billed as being a bonus track and it's real nice. The beat, DJ Scratch, features some celebratory horns over stomping drums and Diamond D rips it solo. Very dope way to close out the project. - 4/5

I'm going to rate the album

3.25 / 5

because it's got some heat on it, but it's got some filler as well. The beats are hit-or-miss throughout, with Diamond D delivering some real head nodding bangers interspersed throughout a sea of instrumentals that didn't do much for me. It's not to say the production is bad, because it's not really, it's just that many of the instrumentals were just kinda...there....for me. I dunno, some of them were just lacking that little something that was needed to make them really standout in the overall scope of the album. Lyrically the project is better than the beats, though, with Diamond D holding it down nicely with his verses and most of the guests doing the same. There are a few uninspired verses here or there, but these were mostly negated by a better verse coming before or after it. Overall I must admit I am a little disappointed with the album, especially after waiting so long for it. There are a few tracks that will stick around in my playlist, but a few of the others I'm not sure I'll be listening to again any time soon. Maybe it will grow on me more in the future.


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