Diamond D x Showbiz & AG’s debut albums
September 22nd, 1992. What a great time in history. Diggin In The Crates co founders, Showbiz (along with A.G.) and Diamond D released their debut albums. Hip Hop history has had a plethora of crews come in and out the game- from Wu, Roc a Fella, No Limit, Death Row, and Juice Crew, but the oft’ forgotten DITC crew should be just as heralded. They (Diamond D, Showbiz and AG, Lord Finesse, Fat Joe, Big L , Buckwild and O.C.) are a collection of MC’s and producers who combined forces “Voltron-style” in the early 90’s. Diamond D’s debut was “Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop” where he not only handled a majority of the production, but also blazed the microphone the entire album. Showbiz & AG’s debut “Runaway Slave” was the same story. Show handled a bulk of the production while sharing the mic with his rhyme partner, Andre the Giant aka A.G. The early 90’s witnessed a renaissance of hip hop and both debuts perfectly captured the NY vibe during that time period.
Diamond D “Stunts, Blunts and Hip-Hop”
Diamond D starts his show off with a smooth ass 40 second introduction. It features a slowed down voice over an obscure sample from the Schoolhouse Rock educational series. Remember those? A song about the number 8. I couldn’t make this up. But after that interesting experience, he jumped right into his first single, “Best Kept Secret”.
You may get scared the first time you hear this. The beat seems to have Tourette’s syndrome and seems to just spazz. The more you listen, the more you learn to love it. The random flute throughout the song and the Big Daddy Kane vocal sample added perfection to the craziness. The video was even better. 90’s nostalgia at it’s best, including the Brand Nubian cameo, cross colors, and the black Bart Simpson tee one of the dancers was rocking were all visible. I’m proud to have owned one of those. The Anthony Mason (RIP—I miss that 90’s Knicks squad) dunks throughout the video was a nice touch.
Diamond D “Best Kept Secret”
Diamond D’s next single was a tale about a tender roni he knew that was a hooker from the wee age of 16. He didn’t offer any real advice to her, only to “wake up and smell the blunts.” I’d take that advice. This one reminded me of Pac’s “Brenda’s Got A Baby”.
Diamond D “Sally Got a One Track Mind”
Diamond D was definitely a fan of Brand Nubian. They appeared in his first video, and “Fuck What You Heard” featured a vocal sample from Sadat X. He took one step further on the fabulous “A Day In The Life” by getting Sadat X and his brethren Lord Jamar to drop verses. All 3 had verses giving us an insight into their daily life. The laid back instrumental is quite lovely and one of my favorites on the album.
“I Went For Mine” may sound familiar and it uses the same S.S.O. Orchestra backdrop that Busta used on “NY Shit”. Extremely funky stuff here folks. “Confused” is built around a Kleeer’s “Intimate Connection” and is the only R&B ish groove on the album. Diamond again flexed his story telling chops about a chick who dissed him when he was nothing. Now she wants to reconnect because he blew up. Don’t you hate when that happens. Diamond D even featured an angel crooning on the hook. Loved every part of this one. “Feel the Vibe” was definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album.
I have a sore spot for 90’s tunes with horns on the hook. Think “T.R.O.Y.”, Master Ace’s “As I Reminisce”, Ed OG, “I Got To Have It”. Diamond D’s “Feel the Vibe” definitely falls into that category. The hook featured an alluring, memorizing horn. Showbiz joins the show on this one and is an ode to rappers selling out. Very similar to EPMD’s “Crossover” that came just a few months after.
Diamond D “Feel The Vibe”
The album was also filled with various skit and interludes. His crew, The Psychotic Neurotics, were basically his homeboys. They reminded me of the cats I grew up with….always clowning and roasting in 3 of the skits. Big L (RIP) and Fat Joe both show up on the albums 2 interludes.
Showbiz & A.G. “Runaway Slave”
The same day, Showbiz and AG released their debut as well. “Bounce to This” was a head bobbing ride that featured Black Sheep’s “Dres”. I always enjoyed the random tenor sax note scattered though the song. “More Than One Way Out The Ghetto” was hook free and AG’s personal story. He takes us back to when he was a dealer and was able to illustrate the fact he made a lot of money. His friends said he was living crazy… “I must be, crazy money and crazy women” was his response. AG eventually got caught and had to do a bid. Instead of glorifying his wrongdoing, he offered some positivist.
Now you see how I lost it
But I bounced back, you might not be as fortunate
So take heed my friend
Before you take a shortcut that leads to a dead end
The jazzy music was the perfect soundtrack to his story. The trumpet, drums, bass made this perfect. I envisioned being in a cigar smoke filled jook joint with AG rhyming. One of the strongest cuts on the album.
Showbiz & AG “More Than One Way Out Of The Ghetto”
The jazz vibe continues on “40 Acres And My Props” where our hosts discuss record company shenanigans. The horns on the track are nothing short of mesmorizing. “Represent” is your quintessential DITC posse cut and “oh my damn” does it bang. The beat Showbiz creates is absolutely nuts. It sounds like its yelling at us. Big L (RIP) starts off the cipher and completely shreds the mic.
I flip fast on foes with fabulous fantastic flows.
L is the rebel type, I’m rough as a metal pipe,
Fuck a benz, cause I could pull skins on a pedal-bike.
Props, I got the most, no mc comes close, coast-to-coast,
Shows I host, foes I roast, adios, I’m ghost
Legendary Lord Finesse adds
It’s the f-I-n-e-double-s-e,
Don’t play or stress me
Cause that shit don’t impress me
I make papes off the shit I create, and then dictate
So get your motherfuckin’ shit straight
I got skills and I’m hard to kill,
So y’all bitch-ass rappes better chill and just guard your grill
You grab a mic and always get hype
Talkin’ bout fuckin’ niggas up
When you can bearly beat your dick right
I always laugh when Showbiz rhymes,
You come wrong if you don’t come strong,
”You better catch wreck”! mothafucker, I made the song
Showbiz & AG “Represent”
“Fat Pockets” was their first single off the album. Featured a hard beat with Show and AG rhyming about keeping their pockets full and bragging on the ease in which they can pull broads. Brand Nubian stopped by to make another cameo. Damn, I miss those black college hoodies. They need to bring those back to replace the skinny jean phenomenon.
Showbiz & A.G. “Fat Pockets”
“Soul Clap” and “Party Groove” were both on their previous EP and also made this album.
Both debuts featured each MC handing not only the rhyming, but the production duties as well…a la Havoc, Dre, RZA. Diamond D went on to do production one the best selling hip hop albums ever, “The Score.” By The Fugees. Showbiz & AG received plenty attention from their “Next Level” single from their Goodfellaz album on the final 8 Mile battle scene.
8 Mile: B Rabbit vs Lickety Split
Just another 2 classic NY albums in case they were forgotten or completely missed.
Diamond D x Showbiz & AG’s debut albums