In Politics of the Business Ice T sums up the Hip Hop experience on wax as, “You’re either gonna see sex, you’re gonna see somebody throw some money, or somebody actin’ like they’ll shoot you. It ain’t much in between.” Listening to the twenty-seven-track, two-disc debut, Diplomatic Immunity, he could’ve been referring to the Dipset because the album barely deviates from the bottom-line formula for making hits. Although the product is weighed down by mediocre lyrics, energetic but equally formulaic production from the Heatmakerz, Kayne West, Just Blaze and DR Period manage to keep the top-heavy braggadocio afloat but even that gets monotonous long before the smoke clears.
Regardless of who originated the technique of revved-up sampling, the deeply accentuated effect the Heatmakerz achieve on black classically inspired tracks like “Who I Am” and “More Than Music” demonstrates the fine-tuned ear essential for utilizing the technique’s multidimensional virtues. But aside from a few ironic skits and alternately silky and explosive tracks from the Heatmakerz and DR Period, and some raw and rugged freeform poeticism from Hell Rell subbing for Freeky Zeeky–largely incognegro here–disc one serves as a prelude to the firestorm on side two.
Freeway, backed by a nimble and infectious backbeat courtesy of Rsonist and Thrilla of the Heatmakerz, brings a bright and electric element to the flip side with Juelz on “My Love.” The feat is followed up on the killer “I’m Ready” where the music speaks for itself with a hyper-looped hook from Barbara Mason that serves the aggressive rhyme-slaying style of the Dipset well. Their tight lyricism and the insidious droning bass line on “Bout It Bout It (Part III)” with Master P is heat. As is the follow-up, and longest track of the album, “Built This City” that features a superlative guitar-laden sample from Just Blaze that amps the (Jefferson) Starship anthem of nearly identical name from the eighties. The Heatmakerz slow up to close out the collection with a smooth easy-tempo sample of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” at 33 1/3 for Cam and Hell Rell to casually slip and slide to on “Let’s Go” to salvage an inauspicious and uninspiring debut from one of the more talked about crews to make then scene lately.