Diamond D & Grand Daddy I.U. Premiere “The Game,” Talk First Collaboration (Video)
Late last year, Bronx, New York MC/producer/DJ Diamond D released his fourth album, The Diam Piece (which remains available for full, authorized stream on YouTube), in addition to Google Play and iTunes). The Diggin’ In The Crates (D.I.T.C.) co-founder produced the album, released on his own Dymond Mine Records and distributed through Empire. Guests on Diamond’s first album in six years included The Stepbrothers (Alchemist & Evidence), The Pharcyde, Talib Kweli, Rapsody, and Freddie Foxxx, among others.
After several singles coming to video thus far, today (January 26), Diamond premiered the Grand Daddy I.U.-assisted “The Game” with Ambrosia For Heads:
“I really wanted that grimy 1980s New York City feel,” explained Diamond to AFH late last week. He lived through that era in one of the toughest areas—the “boogie down” Bronx. The gritty bar exterior and concrete exteriors complemented the complex arrangement of the track. “I still got more [videos] comin’,” added D, with “The Game” joining “Its Magic,” “Rap Life,” and “Only Way 2 Go.” When you’re independent, there’s only so much you can do. But you should at least have your videos in order.”
Both Diamond and I.U. carry careers back to the late ’80s and early ’90s. In those days, Diamond D was part of Ultimate Force on Strong City Records, while I.U. was a lethal lyricist on Cold Chillin’ Records, working closely with Biz Markie. “The Game” marked an important collaboration for each, after years of friendship. “Like yourself, I was a fan of [Grand Daddy I.U.] back in the days, when he was doin’ his thing,” explained Diamond. “[With The Diam Piece], I didn’t reach for artists who were per se ‘hot at the moment,’ I worked with artists who I truly fuck with, or wanted to fuck with. I.U. was always on that list. So when he said he’d be down, I just tried to craft some dark, eerie shit for him to spit, just to paint the canvas for him to do his thing. When he heard the beat, he was like, ‘Boom! Okay, let’s go.'”
I.U. reflected, “This single means a lot, ’cause a lot of dudes be sleepin’ on me.” In 2007, I.U. released his third LP, Stick To The Script, in addition to recent work with Sadat X, Large Professor, and Marco Polo, among others. “So for Diamond [D] to recognize and put me on [The Diam Piece] was a big thing. ‘Cause outside of Large [Professor], I never got tracks—or even the call to drop a 16 [bar verse] on a joint from none of the big producers—and I know all them niggas, so this was big for me.”
The video finds the pair enjoying some Bronx nightlife, with cameos by Breakbeat Lou (responsible for The Ultimate Breaks & Beats Rare Groove compilations) and platinum MC Black Rob. Diamond D tried to capture the essence of I.U. in the visual, as he did with the production. “He’s laid back on the track, so in the video, he shouldn’t be all ‘rah-rah.'” The vibe of the video is true to life, according to the Hempstead, Long Island MC/producer who raps on the track. “We was at my man’s spot, Legacy Bar, in the Bronx, playin’ pool and just choppin’ it up n’ shit. It’s important to show real shit like that like that ’cause all that glitz and glamour shit ain’t what’s real to me—poppin’ $400 bottles of champagne every night. Nah, I drink Remy [Martin], n’ the most I pay for that shit is $50—n’ I ain’t got no Maybach outside or none of that Puff Daddy shit. Man, I’m just me, so I wanted to show it how it really is, for real.”
The Diam Piece came in a busy year for Diamond D. After making high-profile remixes for then-new artists Ras Kass and Outkast in the mid-1990s, the Psychotic Neurotics front man got back in action. “I did the [‘Boyz II Men’] remix for my man Blu, earlier last year,” said the producer of the track originally produced by fellow Busta Rhymes producer Nottz, and featuring Nitty Scott, MC. The track recently released on Coalmine Records’ Remineded remix compilation, also featuring Large Pro. Additionally, Diamond remixed “Erything” for Oddisee, yU, and X.O.’s March On Washington LP remix companion. “Diamond District’s people, Mello [Music Group], they hit me up and asked me if I’d be interested. I told them that I was into Diamond District already, as a fan,” explained Diamond, whose D.I.T.C. band mate O.C. did a Mello Music Group album, in 2012’s Trophies, alongside Apollo Brown. “I told ’em what it’d take to make it happen, and they made it happen. I’m real proud of that remix too. I’m still playin’ that shit.” This followed producing “Let Your Thoughts Fly Away” on Dilated Peoples’ comeback album, Directors Of Photography, as well as work with Slimkid3 & Nu-Mark, and DJ K.O.
Currently, Diamond D is preparing for a European tour later this year. In addition to his MC shows, the avid record collector also does spot dates of all-45 sets.
Grand Daddy I.U. confirmed that February 17 will see the release of his fourth album, P.I.M.P. (Paper Is My Priority). Additionally, the vet is pursuing his Steady Flow apparel, and producing an emerging MC named Don Back from Southside Jamaica Queens, New York.