EWA100 - #60. Diamond D - Best Kept Secret

60. Diamond and the Psychotic Neurotics - Best Kept Secret (Mercury. 1992. From the LP Stunts, Blunts And Hip Hop)

Mike Dikk: I’ve been sitting on this blurb for a while now because I can’t think of anything that sensational to write about this song. Don’t get me wrong, you can count me as a fan, but this record came out during a time where the ratio of good records to terrible records was exceptionally higher than any other time in hip hop. So much so, that the album was kind of lost in the shuffle until recently when the good ol’ internet resurrected it and dubbed it a lost classic.
Rapping-wise, Diamond wasn’t going to set your ass on fire, but with Diamond, it was definitely more about the beats. The beats are total boner mania on the whole damn thing, and it’s hilarious to think one of the biggest complaints about it at the time was the length. There were just too many songs! Now I would give an appendage for a hip hop CD with this much quality music on it. Actually, that’s a lie. As much as I like music, I enjoy my limbs a lot more.
“Best Kept Secret” was the lead single (I think so; if not, perhaps a nerd can correct me) and it was definitely the standout of the record along with “Sally Got A One Track Mind”. I remember it was a staple on mixtapes back then. Not like homemade ones, but actual DJ mixtapes when those existed. Outside of that, the only thing at all interesting that I can say here is that I was in the city (for those of you not from the northeast, “The City” always means “New York City”) this weekend with my roommate, and he was wearing an Ultimate Force sweatshirt, which I guess Ultimate Force had printed up a year or so ago for a reunion that may or may not have happened. Anyway, some stylish looking grubby bum told him that it was a very eye-catching sweatshirt, mainly due to the neon orange highlights on it, not because he was an Ultimate Force/Diamond D fan. Of course I could be wrong. Maybe bums know more dumb shit about rap music than us normal people with computers.

Raven Mack: I can’t front… I know I’m an old head and you have to put forth this know-it-all level of comprehension of your chosen field of dorkery when you dabble in the internet or even zine world, but I completely slept on Diamond the first time around. I guess Mike’s right, that was a heavy time for good hip hop – so much so that I was probably immersed into some individual branch of it at the time this first Diamond LP rolled out. It’s the consumer mentality to wrap yourself up in the fabric of a specific flavor of something, so you can feel like some misunderstood genius (internet and zines are full of those types) because I know so much about something so little. It’s how a dude who collects action figures moves onto being an anime dork moves onto eventually owning the soundtrack to Hair in nineteen different languages.
My man Born King used to speak highly of Diamond, though we’d usually just listen to some shitty rock-n-roll when sitting on the couch out front of his apartment building playing huvna. But it was around that time that I found myself non-unemployed for a good steady year or so, which is pretty amazing considering how much of a drunkard and unmotivated I was back then, and since I was sharing a trailer with a dude at $200 a month, I had mad extra spending loot. So of course, I got back into hitting the record store every Friday, buying up all the shit that even looked interesting. This was probably the last flourish that hip hop had, with Rawkus first jumping off, me copping the first MF Doom single without even knowing the story at that point of who he was or what he’d become, and I got the first single off of Diamond’s second as-yet-unreleased LP. That single was bonkers. Back then, since I did a lot of driving, I’d make a 100-minute mixtape every Sunday afternoon, like clockwork, so new shit from Friday had a chance to get listened to to make the tape, and the best shit from previous weeks would be on there. The stupid kid in the first trailer in the trailer park was selling dubs of my mixes and shit too at his stupid faggot richboy college, even though I wasn’t really mixing anything, just doing dual deck cuts and moving the tape back a touch of a finger turn so there were no hard popping cuts… straight up retard science, but still, retard science is a major influence in hip hop (“power from the streetlights made the streets dark…”). Immediately, I bought up all the new Diamond that came out, including that second LP, and I know Diamond gets not much love as an MC, but he’s got that perfect laid back flow that’s definitely brought up in that “party people” era, but more grown folks sounding.
Once time passed and buying records at the record store no longer became part of my life, and I had internet so you could just ask somebody to steal something for you if you couldn’t steal it yourself, I got the back catalog of Diamond, and yeah, he’s always been awesome. This song is great, but no greater than almost every other Diamond song. I guess this was the famous one or something from back when I was looking in a different direction.
I also remember reading in The Source way back that Diamond, who was originally Diamond D, had to drop the D because some whiteboy rapper had trademarked that name. I never saw a whiteboy rapper named Diamond D, although I often get Milkbone images in my head when I try to remember if I ever heard of him. I bet that fucker runs a Foot Locker or something now, that old trademarking-assed whiteboy called Diamond D. He probably just goes by Doug nowadays, and poor Diamond has just accepted being just Diamond. It’s one of those instances where bullshit legal matters gets in the way of what’s right. The law is here to protect business interests, not the Rill Shit.

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