Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Diamond District's "In The Ruff" selected as 12th best Hip Hop album of 2009

A bunch of albums could have received an “Honorable Mention” this year, for various reasons. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Eminem’sRelapse and Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3reminded us of what it feels like when an album’s release date is treated like anevent. Royce Da 5’9's Street Hop, jumpstarted by Royce’s spotlight-stealing moments on the Slaughterhouse (Royce, Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden, and Crooked I) album, could have made the cut. So could Fashawn’s Boy Meets World, Skyzoo’s The Salvation, or UGK’s UGK 4 Life. Diamond District (emcee and producer Oddisee joined by artists XO and YU) gets the nod because, with In the Ruff, this group made the rather bold decision to create an album that recalls the boom-bap sound of the 1990s, yet remains relevant to the contemporary landscape and also stays true to the group’s origins. By “origins”, I’m referring to the fact that Diamond District’s members were raised in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Washington, D.C., in particular, lends a peculiar atmosphere in that it sits at the center of United States politics while also sporting crime rates and income disparities that are out of this world. Listening to In the Ruff, I can’t help but wonder if maybe the politics and the not-so-great stuff are related. Diamond District offers intricate rhymes delivered with the ease that characterized the Native Tongue posse of the ‘90s, coupled with smart loops and bass-heavy beats in the mode of DJ Premier and Pete Rock. These guys make the ‘90s sound a heck of a lot better than I remember it. Quentin B. Huff

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1 comment:

Creative Silence said...

Congrats on the rave reviews for "In The Ruff". As a 30-something head, I've had that album (purchased via iTunes of course) on rotation for a minute. Truly a masterpiece. Keep putting out that banging hip-hop and please come back to NC when you can. You have a lot of fans waiting for your return. Be Blessed!

Creative Silence