Diamond District - March on Washington (Review)

Diamond District - March on Washington (Review)

"March on Washington" is the latest album from D.C. based hip-hop trio Diamond District (consisting of Oddisee, yU and X.O.). The album features no guest appearances (outside of Asheru on the intro track) and is fully produced by Oddisee himself. It was released on November 11, 2014 via Mello Music Group.

1) March On - Spoken word intro by Asheru.

2) First Step - The first real song on the album is also the first single that was released in promotion of the project and it's real dope. The beat is nuts, with a distorted, synthy electric guitar, chopped up string and vocal sample and some backing pianos layered over hard ass drums. Lyrically the song is just as dope as the beat, with X.O., yU and Oddisee all kicking some boastful bars about how ill they are on the mic and about how Diamond District is back after all these years. Very nice. - 4.5/5

3) These Bammas - The beat on this cut is just as dope as the first, with some bells, light synths and other ambiance over neck breaking drums. As far as the rhymes go, Diamond District spit some more boastful bars on here while calling out wack emcees for the direction they are trying to take hip-hop. Dope shit. - 4/5

4) The Back Up - This song finds Diamond District coming correct over another crazy instrumental full of more light bells and shaker percussion over deep bass drums. The beat and rhymes are ill and the A Tribe Called Quest sample and horns that come in during the chorus make the song even better. - 4/5

5) Working Weekends - Oddisee comes through with a kinda quirky instrumental on this cut, with a sort of unorthodox sample and pianos over boom-bap drums. I even hear what sounds like a video game sample in there, especially during the hook. Don't get me wrong though, the shit is dope. Lyrically the song is just as good, with all three emcees coming with different flows and just ripping the beat. Very nice. - 4.25/5

6) Purveyors of Truth - The production on this track might be my favorite so far, with some ill pianos, organs and a spacious backing sample that gives the instrumental some depth. As usual, the rhymes on here are just as dope as the beat, with Oddisee and yU dropping some knowledge while X.O. provides the chorus. - 4.25/5

7) Apart of It All - This joint finds Oddisee delivering yet another head nodding instrumental, this time with some beautiful falling piano keys and hard ass drums. I'm really feelin' the soulful vocals on the chorus, which give the song a sort of R&B vibe while still keeping it boom-bap at the same time. Lyrically the song is real nice as well, with all three emcees spitting some political and even introspective bars. Dope shit. - 4.5/5

8) Say What You Mean - Diamond District kick some more boastful rhymes over another head nodding Oddisee instrumental. Each time I think I've figured out my favorite beat on the album, Oddisee switches it up and delivers an instrumental I'm feelin' more than the previous track. Such is the case with this track. The beat on here is flames and everyone rips it (as expected). - 4.5/5

9) Ain’t Over - The beat on this cut is just as dope as the others, with a dreamy Marvin Gaye sample layered over crazy energetic drums. Lyrically the song is really nice as well, with all three emcees kicking some story raps about love and relationships and such. The only bad thing about this song is that it ends with over three minutes of instrumental, with the vocals from the chorus on loop. I mean, it's a dope beat, don't get me wrong, but the vocals on loop get way too repetitive. Still, I'm really feelin' this one.- 4.5/5

10) Erything - Oddisee comes through with yet another banging instrumental on this joint, this time with soaring horns over head nodding boom-bap drums. As far as the rhymes go, all three emcees come correct as well and touch on a variety of topics (including some bars about their hometown as well as about how ill their team is). - 4.25/5

11) You Had to Be There - This song finds Diamond District kicking some reflective rhymes about their past over yet another crazy instrumental. As on all of the other songs so far, the beat is banging and the rhymes are on point. - 4.5/5

12) Lost Cause - This was another of the singles released in promotion of the album and it's absolute fire. The beat is smooth as hell, with a chopped up vocal/string loop, hard pianos and triumphant horns over energetic drums, and all three emcees just rip it while flowing their asses off. This is easily one of my favorite songs on here. - 5/5

13) March Off - Diamond District spit some political/socially conscious raps over a darker instrumental full of mesmerizing organs, soft pianos, staccato horns and stomping drums. This shit is dope, but I think it gets overshadowed a little by the quality of the previous track. Still, very dope song. - 4/5

14) Bonus Flow - The final song on the album finds Diamond District spitting their rhymes in rapid-fire flows over hi-pitched synths, the occasional vocal sample and some pianos. This track was actually first released on Oddisee's 2013 album "Tangible Dream", but it's just as dope now as it was then. Nice. - 4/5

I'm going to rate the album

4.5 / 5

because it's really good. The production throughout the entire album is absolute fire, with Oddisee delivering a ton of soulful and jazzy sounds over neck-breaking drums. While I think the production on "In The Ruff" is maybe a tad better, the sounds he comes with on this project are definitely top notch. As far as the rhymes go, Oddisee, yU and XO all sound about the same as they always have (which is definitely a very good thing). The topics range from the usual braggadocios bars to rhymes about everything from love and relationships to more socially conscious/political rhymes about life in D.C. All in all, the project is definitely one of the better releases of 2014 and should not be slept on.


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