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Sunday, April 28, 2013

[Exclusive Interview] DIAMOND D

Diamond D hardly needs no large introduction, if you're truly into hip-hop, you know Diamond, it's as simple as that. Classic albums like "Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop", "Hatred, Passions & Infidelity" and "Worldwide" with D.I.T.C, which he's a founding member of, should have a sacred place in any rap music connoisseur's record collection. For the latest interview @ The Lost Tapes, I got the chance to pick the brains of this musical genius; resulting in a conversation that sheds light on forthcoming projects, straightens out questionmarks surrounding some of his classic productions that have baffled fans for years and much more... Just read on!

claaa7: Were there more tracks recorded between you and Master Rob as Ultimate Force that are still in the vaults? Or was that all serious stuff you recorded together [that appeared on the Traffic LP] with the “Best Kept Secret” joint as your solo venture?

Diamond D: YES THERE ARE SOME OTHER SONGS WE RECORDED THAT WERENT RELEASED ON THE LP THAT STRONG CITY RECORDS PUT OUT. SOME WERE JUST IDEAS WE RECORDED.

c7:  Do you have any contact with Master Rob from Ultimate Force today?

D.D.: YES...

c7: You are really nasty on the turntables as heard on your numerous live sets and on the Ultimate Force album, yet you rarely cut shit up on your own albums or add cuts to your productions. Why is that?
D.D.: I DONT REALLY HAVE AN ANSWER…BUT GOOD QUESTION…MAYBE ON FUTURE SONGS I WILL DO THE SCRATCHING MYSELF…LOL…ITS JUST WEIRD TO WEAR ALL THOSE HATS IN A SESSION, BUT ITS GOOD TO KNOW THAT I AM SELF SUFFICIENT.  

c7: How long did it take to record “Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop”?

D.D.: 6 MONTHS

c7: Why did you decide to release the album almost as a group LP although it’s by all means a solo project with a lot of guests; who were the Pyscothic Neurotics in reality?

D.D.: THERE WERE MY DJ AND MY HYPE MEN/DANCERS….REMEMBER THAT WAS 92 SO…

c7: How come the vinyl release of “Stunts, Blunts…” were limited to promo copies only and even then, not even in its complete version?

D.D.: THE INDUSTRY WAS TRYING TO DO AWAY WITH VINYL BACK IN THE EARLY 90's AND THE FACT THAT IT WAS PROMO PROVES THIS.

c7: You and Showbiz produced or co-produced quite a few tracks on your respective debuts; I was curious about how much of the beats to “Hard to Kill” and “Soul Clap” were you as far as initiating the beats?

D.D.: I PRODUCED "SOUL CLAP" AND THE ORIGINAL "HARD TO KILL" THAT WASNT USED ON THE LP. 

c7: Starting with “A Day in the Life”, “Show Business” and “Punks Jump Up…” you have maintained an extremely close relationship with Brand Nubian and especially Sadat X. Did you get to know each other through the music industry, or how did y’all first hook up? 

D.D.: WHEN ME AND X MET WE JUST CLICKED…SAME AGE, SAME PART OF NYC, SAME SCHOOLING AND WE RESPECTED EACH OTHERS TALENTS…I GOT ALONG WITH ALL OF THE BRAND NUBIAN THO

c7: On a related note, what happened to the Omen project you had with Sadat X and Camari?

D.D.: THAT LP IS DONE AND IN THE VAULTS...

c7: You of course were HEAVILY involved with Fat Joe’s debut album too, so I have a few questions about that; for example there's a real fat beat on one of the uncredited interludes which I was wondering if you did, and were there any songs left on the cutting room floor?

D.D.: I DID PRACTICALLY ALL OF JOE'S LP EXCEPT FOR 1 OR 2 JOINTS….THERE ARE SONGS WE RECORDED THAT DIDNT MAKE HIS LP TOO….

c7: That soundtrack joint that was released the following year called “I’m Trying to Make It”; was that originally recorded for "Represent"?

D.D.: "I'M TRYING TO MAKE IT" WAS SPECIFICALLY RECORDED FOR THE SOUNDTRACK.

c7: One thing I always wondered regarding "Flow Joe" is why you decided to change the beat for the album version, using a completely different breakdown of the beat for the hook. To be honest with you I always thought the 12”/video version had a much better flow. 

D.D.: JUST A DIFFERENT SPIN ON THE SAME RECORD...

c7: Moving on, there’s quite a huge difference in sound between “Stunts, Blunts…” and “Hatred, Passions…”. From the sound of it, you used a lot less samples when creating your second album and relied more on dope grooves and loops. Was this a conscious decision on your development as an artist or were there any label pressure involved? Also how long did you work on your second LP?

D.D.: NO I HAD TOTAL ARTISTIC CONTROL RECORDING MY LPs. I RECORDED [THE] 2ND LP IN 1O MONTHS.

c7: I never understood why the press and many fans somewhat slammed “Hatred…” when it dropped; to me it’s pretty much a classic album. I know in an early interview before the album was released you said that the new album would be even better than your debut. How do you feel today, are they equal, or if not, which do you consider the finest album out of the two?  
D.D.: MY 1ST LP WAS MORE FEEL GOOD MUSIC…SKITS…DUDES CRACKIN JOKES… AND THAT SHOWS IN THE FLOW OF THE SONGS….THE SECOND ONE WAS A LIL MORE SERIOUS…LESS SKITS…LESS SONGS…NO JOKES…LOL… MAYBE THE FANS WANTED A STUNTS BLUNTS PART 2…THE MUSIC SCENE HAD SHIFTED SOME SINCE 92 AND I WAS IN A DIFFERENT PLACE BY 97. MY RHYMES WERE BETTER ON MY 2ND LP SO I DUNNO….ITS JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS.

c7: On “Hatred…” the most prominent features were K-Terror and John Dough. K-Terror still appears every now and then with you, but what happened to John Dough?

D.D.: HE MAKES BEATS NOW… GWOP SULLIVAN ON FACEBOOK.

c7: How come you didn’t release another album, or even a mixtape, until 2003’s “Grown Man Talk”? And do you consider “Grown Man Talk” an official album or would you say that “Huge Hefner Chronicles” is your third solo album?

D.D.: "GMT" TOOK ME AWHILE BECAUSE I WAS FOCUSED ON PRODUCTIONS AND LESS ON MCing AND IT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AN OFFICIAL MIXTAPE…THE "HHC" WAS AN ALBUM.

c7: A 12” EP released on DITC records featuring what many thought was the hottest 7 tracks from the "GMT" project surfaced around the time the full-length CD dropped. Was this an official release from you or a bootleg? 

D.D.: BOOTLEG!!!!

c7: How much of the “Rainy Dayz” remix (Raekwon) that was credited to Mr. Dalvin did you actually do?

D.D.: I REPROGRAMMED THE DRUMS ON THE BEAT, JUST FATTENED THEM UP WITH BETTER ONES.

c7: Another track I was curious about is the song “Foundation” from the D.I.T.C. album. At least on the European Tommy Boy version that I have the production credit goes to Showbiz, but on the actual song AG shouts you and your beat out. What’s the deal? 

D.D.. I PRODUCED FOUNDATION SO I'M UNAWARE OF THIS TYPO ON THE EURO VERSION….

c7: You once produced a song for Too $hort and Jay-Z ("Here We Go"). As far as I figure your original version was never released, but rather a remix by Jermaine Dupri. Does that differ very much from your original version, and are there any chance we’ll ever get to hear your original mix you think? 
D.D.: THE ONLY THING JD DID WAS PUT VOCALS ON THE HOOK…THE BEAT IS ALL MINE

c7: In 2006 you wrote that you were grammy nominated for Natalie Cole’s “Leaving” album, and I believe the song “Day Dreaming”: I know the album was produced by your old working companion Dallan Austin, but strangely on the album you are not credited in any capacity at all. What’s up with that?`

D.D.: THE VAMP AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SONG CAME FROM ONE OF MY BEATS THAT NATALIE LIKED…SO THE MUSICIANS REPLAYED IT OVER AND IT BECAME PART OF THE SONG…WHEN THE CREDITS WERE TURNED IN SOMEHOW I WASNT LISTED BUT I DIDNT REALLY SWEAT IT BECAUSE ITS A REMAKE IN ITSELF OF ARETHA FRANKLIN'S SONG….THEY CUT ME A CHECK AND NO ONE NEITHER DALLAS OR NATALIE HAS CALLED ME OUT ON IT IN INTERVIEWS BECAUSE ITS THE TRUTH. WAS AN HONOR MEETING MS COLE!

c7: Are there other songs that you might have produced or remixed but got screwed of the credit which you would like the people to know about? 

D.D.: THERES ONE BUT ITS SO WACK IM GLAD ITS CREDITED TO SOME NON DESCRIPT PERSON

c7: I know you said that you produced something for J Dilla’s unreleased “Pay Jay” album on MCA back in the early 2000s. Have anyone reached out to you about releasing that song(s), considering they are finally releasing that LP this year as I understand it?

D.D.: NOPE IT WASNT USED

c7: In a pretty recent interview you mentioned a project with Pete Rock. Is this still happening and if so, in what form will you collaborate and how far a long are you with the recording? 

D.D.: ME AND PETE ARE RHYMING TOGETHER ON A SONG I PRODUCED ON MY NEW LP THE DIAM PIECE DROPPING LATER THIS YEAR!

c7: You are also working on a soul album with Blake Carrington, right? Could you tell me a little about that? 
D.D.: HIPHOP/SOUL AT ITS BEST….BLAKE IS A GREAT SINGER IN THE SAME VEIN AS RAHEEM DEVAUGHN AND ERIC ROBERSON AND SONICALLY THE SOUND IS SOMETHING I CALLED BRAND NEW RETRO. HOPEFULLY THE FANS WILL FUCK WITH IT WHEN WE DROP

c7: Besides being a real ill soul producer, you also have some fantastic jazz remixes. For a jazz and hip-hop head like me a Diamond D produced or remix jazz album would be straight up incredible. Do you think this will ever happen? 

D.D.: ITS POSSIBLE….I WORKED ON THE 1ST BLUE NOTE'S RECORDS REMIX LP WITH THE ROOTS AND TRIBE BACK IN THE MID 90s…IM OPEN TO DO MORE THO

c7: Considering the questions above, it seems you have a lot of stuff going right now. We have yet not mentioned “The Diam Piece LP” which you announced not too long ago. The tracklist on that looks absolutely mind blowing man!

D.D.: THE TRACKLIST IS SOLID, IM MAKING ADDITIONS AND DELTIONS…THE WILL BE MY 1ST FULL LENGTH PRODUCER COMPILATION LP AND ITS COMING OUT CRAZY. IM IN A GOOD WORK ETHIC FLOW NOW

c7: On the recent single “Time is Now”, you got AG and Sadat rhyming over a real dark, gutter type of beat. Is this the style we can expect to hear on the forthcoming LP?
D.D.: THAT WILL APPEAR ON THE DIAM PIECE LP….WE RECORDED THAT IN EUROPE AND SHOT THE VIDEO CLIP IN PARIS JUST A TEASER…IT GETS ALOT OF LOVE ON YOUTUBE

c7: What are some of the craziest tracks that we especially need to look out for on “The Diam Piece”? 

D.D.: HARD TO SAY…I WILL SAY THIS…I JUST GOT BACK CHINO XL'S VERSES AND DUDE IS A FUCKIN BEAST….FEATURES PETE ROCK, HITEK, K-TERROR, NOTTZ, PHAROAHE MONCH, AG, OC, FATJOE, FREDDIE FOXXX, BLACK ROB, SMITH AND WESSUN, RAS KASS, SADAT X, LORD JAMAR, J-LIVE,THE PHARCYDE, THE ALKAHOLIKS, THE ARTIFACTS, CHI ALI, GUILTY SIMPSON, KEV BROWN, MASTER ACE, DADDY I.U…..STILL RECORDING SONGS AND FEATURES BUT ONLY THE CREAM OF THE CROP WILL BE USED

c7: Wow, that must be the sickest line-up in a LONG time; can't wait to hear that! Is the album being released on BabyGrande, because I seem to recall that you had a two-album deal with them? 

D.D: HELL NO…LOL

c7: Have your move to the South had a profound impact on your music? For example the song on “Huge Hefner Chronicles”, ‘Good Tyme’, seemed heavily influenced by the ATL bass sound. 

D.D.: IM NOT IN THE SOUTH MUCH JUST IN AND OUT…AND YES GOOD TYME DID HAVE A BOUNCE TO IT….LOL….BUT IM STILL A DIGGER AND WHEN CATS DISCOVER WHAT I SAMPLED THEY REALIZE THAT EVEN ON SOME BOUNCE SHIT IS STILL ME ON MY DIGGIN SHYT

c7: What are you using for producing these days as far as equipment goes? 

D.D.: YAMAHA ES8

c7: You've been doing a lot of terrific DJ sets using nothing but 45:s in recent days; are you also preferring to sample from 7” singles when producing your music? 

D.D.: NO I SAMPLE FROM LPS AND 7INCHES…WHEREVER THE HEAT IS

c7: In closing, you know I gotta ask you about what’s happening, and if it’s happening, with a new DITC album? I know that question might be somewhat of a cliché at this point, but the fans are dying to know this so it would be cool to hear your word on it, and if you possibly even have recorded anything for it? 

D.D.: THERE WERE SOME NEW SONGS RECORDED SO IT MAY SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY...

c7: Alright man, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview, it’s truly appreciated. Any last words or shout outs? 

D.D.: THESE WERE THE BEST INTERVIEW QUESTIONS IVE HAD IN A MINUTE

5 comments:

  1. nice interview man!! thx to both of yall for dropping knowledge for us!!

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  2. Nice interview!

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  3. dope interview.. some great q&a's..

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  4. "THESE WERE THE BEST INTERVIEW QUESTIONS IVE HAD IN A MINUTE"

    I knew you'd be asking good, educated questions. dope interview!

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