By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
The plan was always for the Boiz to release three separate full-lengths simultaneously. When they couldn't finish on schedule, they put out a joint mixtape, Calm Before the Storm, instead, in June 2009. Dyalekt released his first solo mixtape, Dreams Caffeine & Nicotine, this past May. All of that — Zome's first album, "The Vista," the joint mixtape and Dyalekt's solo — took Diamond Boiz five years to create. And now, in one month, they're doubling their total output.
Zome's Diamond in the Flesh was released in early November. These guys try to stay away from an organizational hierarchy, but inasmuch as there is one, Zome is on top of it. He's the oldest; he's the one who got both of the others into rapping. And his album is the most group-minded of the three new releases. There's a shout-out to Diamond Boiz on almost every track.
Zome's taste for old-school hip-hop comes through. He lands hard on downbeats and enunciates in staccato rhythms. He thinks the best track on the album is "Diamond in the Flesh." Other standouts are "Street Life" and "Pen & Pad." Diamond in the Flesh is not a mixtape — meaning that every production (mostly done by Dyalekt, old Diamond Boiz friend Tech Groove and Zome himself) has been cleared for commercial use expressly on this album.
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The week after Diamond in the Flesh hit the Internet, Zé made his solo debut. Advanced Placement is a mixtape, but Zé is preparing a proper album for release sometime next year. The tape, with track titles like "Never Too Late" and "It Ain't Ova," is overwhelmingly about a crappy past and a better future. Zé sounds a bit like his idol, Eminem — in spirit, at least — though he's capable of moods other than paranoia. "Afterschool Medley," in particular, reveals a rapper with the potential to reach a very large audience.
The final release of the month is Dyalekt's November Hates Me. For someone who started out wanting nothing to do with rapping, Dyalekt is a ridiculously good rapper. Confident, more than capable of delivering a punchline and crafting a hook, he draws inspiration from a wide array of sources and cites My Chemical Romance as his favorite band. The album he listened to during the two weeks he spent recording November Hates Me? MCR's The Black Parade. This isn't emo rap at all, but you can tell it was created by a mind that was thinking about more than just hip-hop. "How You Like Me Now" features a guitar solo by Zac Lathrop of metal band Sins of Babylon.
Right now there are no definite plans for a Diamond Boiz collaborative album. There aren't many plans of any kind, actually. This month has been nearly six years in the making, and the priority right now is celebration.