You would be hard pressed to find any hip-hop act(s) coming out of the Washington D.C. area not named Wale that have made any lasting impressions in hip-hop or our ears for that matter. That said, who would think that a region musically known for Go-go, would give birth to a project that successfully recaptures the nostalgia of NYC’s mid nineties boom bap rap. Unless you have been sleeping under a rock for close to two months, you already know that I am referring to Diamond District’s gem of a debut, In The Ruff (album was released on April 14th for free download). The brainchild of rapper/producer Oddisee, the group also includes rappers XO & YU.
From the album’s onset it obvious which direction the trio has chosen to embark on; In The Ruff’s intro finds Oddisee, who is half Sudanese and African American, professing his love and envy for the New York City hip-hop scene while growing up. Accordingly, Oddisee’s refreshing production on all but two tracks for the trio’s debut reflects that very sound while not managing to sound like a carbon copy, whilst the trio’s well developed lyrics offer a fresh perspective into the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia) mind-set.
It should be noted that this album is currently only available in a non-explicit version, still that does not take anything away from the enjoyable and accomplished debut that is, In The Ruff. It is interesting to note that while a lot of New York acts are still trying to emulate other geographic regions; other groups are trying to bring that old thing back- that very sound that made New York, well New York.
3 Possible Reasons Why This Really Good Album Was Released For Free Download Notwithstanding Curses:
1. Clever marketing
2. Plenty of heat in the stash so they can forego this release
3. A Sacrifice, for the love of the game
TURN OFF THE RADIO!