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Diamond D & the Psychotic Neurotics’ Debut

  • October 9, 2023

The Bronx’s first wave of hip-hop heroes were the visionary architects and progenitors of a largely live practice. But by the early 90s their heirs were distinguishing themselves with their command of the recording studio. Along with his fellow flagship colleagues in the Diggin’ In the Crates crew – Showbiz & AG and Lord Finesse – producer/emcee Diamond D was amongst the brightest young talents to come out of the BX in this period. Raised in Forest Houses and mentored by the legendary Zulu Nation DJ/producer/studio and label owner Jazzy Jay (who signed Diamond’s first group, Ultimate Force) he was already something of a rap industry veteran when he dropped a sage and savvy guest verse on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Show Business” from the group’s classic 1991 LP, Low End Theory.

diamond-and-the-psychotic-neurotics”Listen to Diamond D & the Psychotic Neurotics’ Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop now.

But it was Diamond’s fittingly titled debut single with back-up crew the Psychotic Neurotics, “Best Kept Secret,” that revealed his skills in microcosm: expertly hooked-up drums and stinging guitar stabs supporting witty verses dispensed in a conversational cadence not unlike an East 163rd Street answer to ATCQ’s Q-Tip. Along with an infectious jazz-inflected B-side, “Freestyle (Yo, That’s That Sh…),” co-produced by Main Source auteur Large Professor, Diamond quickly established himself as a hefty force within NYC’s vanguard of MC/beat maestros, several of which he counted as collaborators. Rendered with the assuredness of someone who’d spent years honing his craft in the shadows, Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop realizes that promise and then some, and is of a piece with the era’s finest purist endeavors.

Of his approach to production, Diamond is characteristically plain-spoken, noting, “The sound is raw, don’t need a million samples” (from the 45 King co-produced gem “Check One, Two”). What

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