Diamond D’s production discography spans over two decades, and as such, he has quite a number of stories to tell.
The producer and emcee sat down with Complex to tell some of those stores, ranging from producing “Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik” for Outkast to crafting “Word Is Bond (Remix)” for House of Pain.
One beat the producer was particularly proud of was Mos Def’s quintessential cut, “Hip Hop.” “The beat was on a CD I submitted to him,” he said of the track, which ended up on Mos’ inaugural album, Black on Both Sides. “I think it had like five beats on it, and that was the one he chose. We went in, and he laid it down. I had a nice time with Mos. We recorded that at Sony Studios in midtown Manhattan. I remember when I came back two or three weeks later, he had added a bass line on top of it, sprinkled some keyboards on it, and fattened it up more. I want to give him his credit on that aspect. He made it sound much bigger.”
The most recent track that ended up on D’s list was Pharoahe Monch’s “Shine,” featuring Mela Machinko on 2011’s W.A.R. (We Are Renegades). “Pharoahe had that beat for like two months,” he explained. “Then he called me out the blue like, ‘Yo, this is the one right here! We’re gonna do this one.’ I’m like, ‘Alright, cool.’ He needed it immediately, and I was out of state, so I sent him the session.”
“Next time I heard it, it was the way the world heard it. I heard it before it was mixed, but everything was laid by then. I wasn’t there for any of the vocals or singing. Everybody gets slept on, that ain’t nothing new. But he definitely gets slept on. He’s an [emcee’s emcee].”
Undoubtedly one of Diamond D’s best-known works on the list is “The Score,” the title track from the multi-platinum Fugees album.
“They were humble, and just came off of their first album which was considered a flop. But they had that big single ‘Mona Lisa,’ so that kind of saved them, and they were able to finagle that into a second situation,” explained the beatsmith.
“I love that Cymande album. I made those dudes half-a-millionaires from sampling that record. It was [one of my biggest songs financially] up until the paperwork got sorted out, and Cymande got their cut, rightfully so. When it was recorded, Wyclef didn’t clear the sample. So they came after us, and it was a big mess, but everything is sorted out now.”