Diamond D Speaks About His New Album & Spending A Day With Dr. Dre

This year marks 30 years since Diamond D’s debut album, and he is celebrating in style. The Bronx, New York native MC/producer/DJ is releasing THE REAR VIEW on Friday, August 19. Arriving on D’s Dymond Mine Records imprint, the 13-song collection demonstrates Diamond D as a true multi-talented artist. The co-founder of D.I.T.C. flaunts his production prowess while reminding he is a nimble, witty MC who has never relied on outside writing. Westside Gunn, De La Soul’s Plug 1 aka Posdnuos, and new protege Ashtin Martin share the mic with Diamond, while Chris Rock and Fat Joe make appearances to toast a true Hip-Hop original.

In speaking with Ambrosia For Heads‘ What’s The Headline podcast for episode #87 (embedded in video and audio below), Diamond D unpacks his latest album (while also revealing that he has another Diam Piece volume in the tuck). The producer explains why he is rapping more on this album than on any project he has released in the last 15 years. After creating a genre classic 30 years ago in Stunts, Blunts, & Hip-Hop, Diamond also asserts that he lives in the present—not the past. This artist remains creative and prolific, pushing the culture forward, evident in the Westside Gunn-assisted “Faithful” (embedded below). Heads with a fondness for Stunts… will be pleased to find Diamond surgically re-imagining a centerpiece of his catalog with “The Man’s Swift.” The Rear View shows an artist comfortable in his legacy and motivated to make great music worthy of vinyl and CD as well as the DSPs. Diamond said that interview concluded, he would be working on a track in his studio.

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Speaking of the studio, Diamond speaks about linking with Dr. Dre. Growing up thousands of miles apart, D and Dre had overlapping record crates—prompting the late David Axelrod to christen a song “The Doctor and The Diamond” after two artists who delivered his music to new audiences. Each creator helped make 1992 a pivotal year for Hip-Hop due to Stunts & Blunts… and The Chronic, respectively. Last year, the two men got to kick it, courtesy of an artist both have produced—Xzibit.

At the 21:00-mark, Diamond recalls a Los Angeles day with Mr. X-to-the-Z. “Xzibit said, ‘Come on, we’re going to Dr. Dre’s house. I’m like, ‘Aight, cool; that’s what’s up.’ So we go over there. I meet Dre, and Dre says, ‘Yo, let’s go down to the basement; I want to play you a couple of joints. Yo, the studio in the basement looked like Hit Factory that used to be on mothaf*ckin’ 57th Street [in Manhattan], where Michael Jackson used to record,” Diamond details with a chuckle. “For two hours, he played a bunch of music—new Marsha Ambrosious album, he played a couple of solo joints—all heat. I kid you not, all heat. Before I left I played the single for him that Focus… did ‘Live My Life.'” The song, featuring Ashtin Martin, is on THE REAR VIEW and will be the next single, following “Inertia,” the title track, and “Faithful.” Focus…, who has been part of Dre’s team at Aftermath Entertainment produced that song. “It got a good reception from Dre. It was my first time meeting him.” The crew went to grab sushi in Santa Monica, and the two producers who have each worked with Busta Rhymes, Raekwon, and Ras Kass, went back about their business. Notably, Diamond includes Dre and another guest producer from The Rear View, in an on-the-spot, deeply original top 5 list.

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Elsewhere in the interview, Diamond discusses his amazing remix contributions, what he looks for in up-and-coming talent, and making trips to Dave Chappelle’s Yellow Springs, Ohio compound.

The time codes for episode #87 of the What’s The Headline podcast (with hyperlinks to skip around):

0:00 Intro
1:15 Diamond D discusses his time with Dave Chappelle during lockdown
7:00 How Diamond D and Westside Gunn connected
8:00 How living in Atlanta has impacted Diamond D’s music
9:20 Diamond D on working with OutKast
10:20 Why Diamond D respects Griselda and what he looks for in new MCs
14:00 Why it was important for him to rap on his new album The Rear View
16:00 What “The Rear View” means to Diamond D
18:00 Diamond D on keeping your finances right
20:00 How Diamond decides when he wants to work with other producers
21:00 On spending the day with Dr. Dre
22:50 Diamond D names his top 5 Hip-Hop producers
24:30 The role he had in shaping Fat Joe’s career
27:10 On working with De La Soul’s Plug 1 Posdnuos on The Rear View
30:00 How Diamond D approaches making remixes
33:34 On being one of the best producer/rappers in Hip-Hop history
38:29 Diamond D’s impact on Rawkus Records
41:10 His experience working with The Fugees and Open Mike Eagle
44:20 What motivates Diamond D today
45:10 The moment Diamond D fell in love with Hip-Hop
47:00 Business tips for being an independent artist

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AFH readers can catch regular discussions about the culture on our What’s The Headline. The podcast also has interviews with Joell Ortiz, AZ, Blu & Mickey Factz, Kurupt, Evidence, Skyzoo, Pharoahe Monch, Prince Paul & Don Newkirk, Statik Selektah, Lyric Jones, The LOX, MC Eiht, Havoc, Duckwrth, photographer T. Eric Monroe, and Lord Finesse.

#BonusBeat: Diamond D’s official audio for “Faithful,” featuring Westside Gunn. This song appears on THE REAR VIEW: