Whether you realize it or not, you probably have a release or two from any of the members of D.I.T.C. in your CD collection. Without riding each other’s coattails, Diamond, Fat Joe, Show & AG, Lord Finesse, O.C., Buckwild, and the late Big L, have each made names for themselves over the past ten years, as credible, street-wise underground artists, releasing classic records left and right. “Soul Clap”, “Time’s Up”, “Ebonics”, “Day One”, “Return Of The Funky Man”, “Best Kept Secret” are among the list of flawless gems released by this crew, that have stood the test of time, and still can be pulled out by DJ’s, commandeering mad respect. With such a thick resume, it would be assumed that D.I.T.C.’s first group effort would be reaching for classic status itself. Unfortunately, there are a number of flaws that keep it from doing so.
First and foremost, recognize that this is not a bad effort from the crew. It’s actually quite good, it just could have been executed a lot better. For instance, of fifteen tracks on the album, a whopping TEN of them have been previously released, leaving the longtime listener with only five new tracks. Nevertheless, those without a pair of turntables will see this as a new listening experience entirely, but even from that perspective some major mistakes were made. For instance, both “Ebonics” and “Drop It Heavy” have been lazily remixed with less than outstanding results. When next to untouched classics like “Day One” and “The Enemy”, it just reminds you how much you’d rather be listening to the original versions. Perhaps the inclusion of these classics would have been more effective if left in their original form, having the album released as a double CD set, with the first disc being all new material, and a second “D.I.T.C. Classics” disc, containing all of their sought after gems from ’90 ’till now.
Nevertheless, CD heads are still getting a good education of some quality joints that have dropped over the last three years, but for vinyl collectors, this album ends up being a disappointment, simply because of the lack of new material. Another flaw is a lack of cohesion with certain disruptions in continuity. “Foundation” is a ridiculous wanna-be club anthem released a few years too late, and along with the harder edge of the rest of the album, really has no business being included here. Other curve balls include the previously released “Hey Luv” and “Where Ya At”, which seem like they would have been better placed on the Terror Squad album, with lyrics dominated by unofficial members Big Pun, Cuban Link and Milano.
On the positive, some of the new tracks are worth checking for. Both DJ Premier and Rockwilder mixes of “Thick” are excellent in their own ways. “Weekend Nights” has ridiculous chemistry between Show & A.G., despite it’s over-used hook. Finally, “Tribute” is a thoughtful and meaningful dedication to the late Big L that closes the album out.
It’s so plainly obvious that D.I.T.C. has the potential to release a 5 @ classic, as proven by their track record. If they would just harness their talent a little better, and put the same amount of perfectionism into the whole package, as they have on countless tracks over the last ten years, D.I.T.C. could easily become a fully respected mainstream-underground hip-hop staple, just as Gang Starr did in 1998. With such a talented roster of emcees and producers, if given the chance, with a little more care, D.I.T.C. could drop a classic with their sophomore release. Hopefully their major label time’s not up.
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