Happy 20th Anniversary to Diamond D’s second studio album Hatred, Passions and Infidelity, originally released August 26, 1997.
“C'mon son my steelo's tight / Cause by far I'm the best producer on the mic.”
It’s not exactly bragging when there’s hard evidence to support your claims of greatness. So Diamond D wasn’t at all speaking out of turn when he boasted of his prowess on both sides of the boards for the introduction to the long-awaited follow-up to his groundbreaking 1992 debut LP Stunts, Blunts, and Hip Hop. Scratching his own vocals from the title song of the Fugees’ The Score album alongside two of hip-hop’s most recognizable voices, Kid Capri and Busta Rhymes, Diamond immediately set the tone for his sophomore album, Hatred, Passions and Infidelity and held steady throughout the LP with a second solid offering.
Self-described as a DJ first and foremost, Diamond cut his teeth on the same streets that gave birth to hip-hop culture in the South Bronx. Establishing himself as an exceptional turntablist, he quickly earned the respect of pioneers like DJ Jazzy Jay of the Universal Zulu Nation. Diamond’s production skills would soon surface when he collaborated with childhood friend Showbiz, along with Gang Starr’s DJ Premier, for the production duties for fellow South Bronx native Lord Finesse’s 1990 album Funky Technician. Lord Finesse, Showbiz and Diamond would become frequent collaborators as the three established the legendary super-collective Diggin’ in the Crates.
Diamond’s significant lyrical contributions date as far back as A Tribe Called Quest’s 1991 LP The Low End Theory, when he added his perspective to the song “Show Business” with his memorable bars “Well, excuse me, I gotta add my two cents in / don't be alarmed, the rhyme was condensed in / a matter of minutes so it must be told / all that glitters not gold.” Managing to stand out in the great company of Tribe and Brand Nubian, Diamond was able to plant a flag in uncharted territory as one of the genre’s first artists with triple threat capabilities to be taken seriously.
Recognizing the possibilities, Mercury Records signed Diamond to a contract and he soon began construction of his 1992 debut Stunts, Blunts and Hip-Hop. Proving that his war-chest may have been the deepest of the time, Diamond’s inaugural LP was sample-heavy with everything from Kool & the Gang to Shaft in Africa. Critically acclaimed and beloved by fans, Stunts is held with the same affection as the likes of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s Mecca And The Soul Brother and Main Source’s Breaking Atoms, all cherished for the high quality production that shaped the entire decade.
In between his first and second LPs, Diamond built his brand by offering prolific production as a revered remix specialist, raising the bar with credits that include remixes for Ras Kass’ “Soul on Ice,” OutKast’s "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik,” and Brand Nubian’s “Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down.”
Returning with his crisp production that helped define what we now refer to as the Boom Bap era, you didn’t have to listen past track number 2 (“Flowin’”) to convince anyone why Hatred, Passions and Infidelity was at the top of your wish list in August 1997.
Full of vintage production by Diamond who carried nearly the entire workload, producing 13 of the album’s 16 songs, including standouts like the Reggae-themed “MC Iz My Ambition” and “No Wondah” which was built around Posdnuos’ lyrics from De La Soul’s “Stakes is High” released only a year earlier.
“Gather Round” is one of the best examples of Diamond holding strong to his South Bronx roots, as he rocks a party beat with lyrics, “To all my foes you can just keep hushin’ / the stage ain't the place you wanna be rushin’ / cause there'll take place a spontaneous combustion / life's a game of chess and I play like a Russian.”
Exceptional with its lyrics and production, Hatred quietly eased into the ten best hip-hop albums of the highly competitive year of 1997. The hip-hop superhero Diamond D’s mission was accomplished as he reaffirmed his multiple talents and full mastery of the genre’s cultural expression. With a formidable catalog of beats and rhymes, Diamond D not only solidified his own spot amongst hip-hop’s elite, but also cleared a path for the seminal soundsmiths of the future including J Dilla and Kanye West.