Duke Da God Presnts...Dipset: More Than Music, Vol. 2

If there was one thing The Diplomats ever did right, it was image branding. Dip-heads around the globe love their rock star aesthetic just as much as the music itself. And as such, Hip-Hop’s foremost swagger peddlers deliver their latest compilation as, More Than Music, Vol. 2 (Diplomat/KOCH). But in the midst the crew’s biggest star beefing with Hip-Hop music’s biggest star, and worse yet, rumblings of a long suspected internal leadership struggle, can the Dips deliver a unified front in the face of what could very well be a Rocafella-like collapse?MTM2 is Hell Rell-heavy from the start and rightfully so. Easily the most consistent of the post Come Home With Me acquisitions, the Bronx bomber has had the most street buzz since Cam’ron’s calculated rise of Juelz. Mr. “What-the-games-been-missing” however, appears all too comfortable on his throne with lines like, “All about my paper like a fax machine,” and “Stink it up like a athlete’s foot,” demonstrating just why he has unconsciously become Bleek to Cam’s Jay. Then there is Cam, who in an attempt to make up for last year’s “Weekend Girl,” or the summer banger that never was, pops up with the syrupy sweet, “Suga Duga.” Over Lil Fame’s nostalgic soul loop, Cam solidifies arguments for both his genius and his indolence simultaneously, spouting couplets like “Know the tool-ery/The jewelry/Front, it be a eulogy/Don’t know about the kid? Well, Google-me (Dot com)!” After carrying an entire mixtape (Jim Jones Presents M.O.B.), half of two albums (Harlem: Diary of a Summer, Hustler’s P.O.M.E.), and in need of some much needed legal defense money, Max B is confusingly conserved, appearing only on the forgettable “Anniversary.”When it came time to cop beats, the pennies were surely pinched, a bevy of unheard-ofs appearing in the credits. Duke Da God would have been better served by phoning Diplomat fail-safes The Heatmakers instead of settling for their bargain bin replacements.Brandishing an arsenal of artists who’d shown the utmost promise at their signings, it would seem that the Dips had set themselves up nicely for a reign just as much musical as motivational. But with stale backdrops and even the crew’s veteran’s floundering lyrically, More Than Music, Vol. 2 solidifies that the Dipset appeal must really be, more than music.