It’s been a long time, and they shouldn’t have left you, but according to O.C. his legendary Diggin’ In The Crates crew has begun crafting new joints for their dedicated following to nod their heads to.
“It was a no-brainer,” says O.C. of Diggin’s long overdue reunification. “I was waiting for this. We all was waiting for it, but we all grown men and we had to see if we wanted to do it again.”
According to the Brooklyn-born lyricist responsible for the certified classic LP’s Word…Life and Jewelz - a couple months back Diggin’ member and producer Showbiz convened the crew to see if any of them actually did indeed still wanna do it again. “We went Uptown and sat down in the bar and had a meeting, a little roundtable,” explains O.C. “Show was basically like, Yo man, we can’t listen to what people say about who’s old school [or] who’s finished. We all still working, but we [just] not visible. And we love the music and had a little paper before the music, so why should we let that dictate if that’s the reason why we wanna do it. He asked, ‘Do everybody wanna do it?’”
Although always occupied with their own individual projects, A.G., Lord Finesse, Buckwild, Show and O.C. agreed to begin recording again together as a collective. Work has since begun on a currently untitled new album due in early 2008 via D.I.T.C. Records.
The project will mark the first full-length release from the collective since their self-titled debut in 2000. The release will also be the first sans original members Fat Joe and Diamond D. According to O.C., “Diamond ain’t part of the project [as of now]. If he comes in on it, that’d be on his own. But Diamond is doing his thing.” And as for the Puerto Rican piece in the D.I.T.C. puzzle, “He got a new camp around him, different dudes,” says O of Joe. “He’s doing what he does, and we not mad at him.”
“Honestly,” O.C. continues, “we shoulda went as hard as Joe went when [that] black cloud came over us when Pun died, when L died, when cats behind the scene that wasn’t rhyming that was around us died. We kinda took that as a bad sign and really didn’t go hard like we should’ve. Finesse’s grandmother died. So it was just a lot of death. It was just a lot of adversity. And you kind of lose your spirit when there’s a lot of bad things happening. It’s kinda hard to just keep it moving.”
In addition to the dark skies of death that had engulfed the crew, internal turmoil also kept Diggin’ from moving forward. Their past discrepancies were addressed at the crew’s recent meeting. “We just sat down and got out our problems,” says O.C. “We got out what we didn’t like about each other doing, like brothers. People always saying people have beef with each other and that fucked things up. But that’s what happens. Even if you have like a blood sibling, you might get into an argument with them but that don’t mean you have to stop talking to ‘em. That’s what siblings do, they argue, they beef, they might get a little physical, whatever the case is, but they make up later.”
Since the crew officially made up they have been pouring the foundation for their new album. According to O.C., “Alchemist just hit us with some joints. And probably [we’ll be working with] Primo, ‘cause Show got a room in Primo’s studio.”
With beats coming from the aforementioned Alchemist and DJ Premier, along with crew producers Show, Lord Finesse, and Buckwild, the rhymes will of course be constructed by O.C., A.G., and Lord Finesse, with hopefully some previously unreleased Big L [R.I.P.] verses surfacing on the album. “We don’t wanna put nothing on there that would sound outdated and disrespect his legacy,” says O.C. “But Finesse and Show got a lot of stuff in the can. If I’m not mistaken, I think Rawkus was talking about doing [another posthumous Big L] album, but I don’t know how, they ain’t have no material. Finesse, Show, and Buckwild have it.”
Until the new Diggin’ album is completed, O.C. says that his own projects – including The Calm Before The Storm EP that was originally due for release on October 30th and his forthcoming sixth studio album, My Soul 2 Keep - are on hold. That is all except for one album that is already in the works. “Me, Mr. Walt and Evil Dee [of Da Beatminerz] are working on a project,” O.C. reveals. “We started recording that. We really taking our time with that. That’s like a Brooklyn album right there. We been flirting with a few names – Brooklyn Inc, The Brand. It’s a group album. It’s not just an O.C. project [produced by Da Beatminerz].” The trio’s tentatively titled album, Hollywood, will be released sometime in 2008.
For now though O.C. is fully focused on introducing D.I.T.C. to a new generation of hip hop fans without alienating longtime listeners who supported the crew members ascension to hip hop stardom in the ‘90’s. “Basically, we wanna do what we do, but we wanna do it [up] to date,” says O.C. of Diggin’s sound and overall direction for 2008. “We don’t wanna go out the box trying to do [what everybody else does]. No disrespect to like Soulja Boy or nothin’ like that, but if we do records like that, c’mon, people gonna slap us in the face.”