The legendary D.I.T.C. crew is back and making moves like never before with their new release, The Movement. Lord Finesse, Party Arty, A.G., O.C. and Showbiz himself, are back in the basement and still diggin’ in the crates. With guest appearances by Brooklyn phenom, Joel Ortiz, Boss Money, and D-Flow, new flavor is added to an old favorite.
Lyrically, the album is a reflection on past experiences and hard living. The ending track, “Experience,” is about going all out and living life to its fullest – kind of like James Cagney yelling, “Top of the world ma’” at the end of the movie, White Heat.
We all make decisions and mistakes, but it’s all in the experience and what we take from them.
“Time Travel,” is a time-line [no pun intended] of D.IT.C. coming up from holding down corners and dodging incarcerations, to lining up some of the best emcees to be birthed by hip-hop and gaining hip-hop stardom. On, “Boys Doing it,” Boss Money carries his rhymes with a rough and experienced swagger. With an M.O.B., hard grinding, paper chase mentality, nothing else matters. Whether he’s hustling on the street, or rocking a show, the kid’s on point.
On, “Air Yall,” Joel Ortiz raises interest, snapping in rhyme and spitting a frenzy of boastful, money-hungry battle raps. His style is refreshing and energetic, compared to the others lethargically-hazed execution and punch lines on previous tracks.
Lord Finesse laid back to focus on overseeing the production of the album, with beat making all-stars, E. Blaze and Drawzilla. The trio orchestrated a collage of smooth, rolling baselines, with choice samples like Boot Camp Clicks, “Headz Ain’t Ready,” and Nas’, “I Can,” cutting in the back ground. Feeling adventurous, they incorporated the use of manually played synthesizer lines to complement the 1-2-3, boom bap thunder claps of the MPC.
Critiques fall on the production however, due to its simplicity and sole focus on traditional production development. It’s a given that Lord Finesse’s production and turntable skills are top notch, but after being in the game as long as he has, it’s expected for him to bring the fire. The stripped-down sounds come off as a disappointment in their lack of climax, variation, and overall predictability.
Beats like these worked in the early and mid 90’s, but with all of the current production technology and experimentation currently wayfaring throughout music –not just in hip-hop –it’s a wonder why keyboard work on tracks like, “Shine My Way,” are comparable to a three year old banging on a toy piano. With in all intents and purposes, it’s contradictory to the flamboyant, NYC’s finest presence that the crew once oozed.
Perhaps the D.I.T.C. members have reached a point in their respective careers where lyrics that bounce off of sound booth walls seem juvenile, but that’s the very element that made the crew so sensational. Bottom line, it feels like something is missing. Maybe it’s the fact that Big L., Party Arty, and Big Pun are no longer with us. Maybe it’s the fact that Fat Joe hardly appears on albums, but after being in the game as long as D.I.T.C., high standards need to be met. After all, they’re the ones that set them.
D.I.T.C. should be showing the new generation of emcees and producers what real hip-hop sounds like, by fusing the early 90’s style of emceeing, production, and turntablism with a new school twist, not pigeonholing themselves in the past. Call it hip-hop for the eclectic, The Movement, should be coped for the, “93’ til…” fans, and studied for the essence of lyricism, but unique it is not. Where’s Flow Joe when you need him? - Jarrod Miller-Dean
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