The Diggin in the Crates crew has a legacy paved in Gold. Though some of the records reached Gold status, its the bronzed respect of Hip-Hop thats endured the groups name. While Lord Finesse has taken a hiatus from releasing albums and producing, Buckwild has placed tracks on Game's, 50 Cents, and Black Robs albums. As Fat Joes All or Nothing makes its rounds on MTV, Shows recent compilation, Street Talk conquers the indie market.
This dichotomy has always been woven into D.I.T.C.s mystique. Going into 2006, the group approximates 15 years in working form. Like the timeless plot-line of the Western film, The Wild Bunch this gang of prolific veterans decides if they can make one more classic. AllHipHop.com saddled up with Lord Finesse and A.G. to discuss Shows album, Joes beef, and the texture of a group eyeing up its final frontier.
AllHipHop.com: I would love, one day, to see Lord Finesse get a Hip-Hop Honor Award. You got my vote. Do you think thatll ever happen?
Lord Finesse: Shoot, thatd be thatd be something special. I wouldnt hold my breath though. My thing is as long as you dont give all to commercial artists. I wanna see more pioneers up there thats my thing. It was ill to see Kane up there, LL up there, but they got a lot more pioneers to really honor. I aint see [Afrika Bambaataa] up there yet. He shoulda had it first. It has its pros and it has its cons.
AllHipHop.com: Shows got a new album, Street Talk, is the first time hes done an album since the 90s. Whats been the hold-up?
A.G.: Timing for the most part affected us getting together. We all have individual stuff going on as well. We dont believe in putting out crap. Really from the heart, we continue to make our music. Whether or not people hear it, were always working on new material, either together or individually. Show is a perfectionist and wanted to make sure that everything was right before its release. Its about quality not quantity. Hes my favorite producer in the game. This is the first of the Showbiz [projects].
AllHipHop.com: Individually, the D.I.T.C. artists recent projects havent all included one another. Youre about to go on tour, and theres been talk of a final group album for five years. Where are things now?
Lord Finesse: Were all grown men now. Feelings dont get hurt [with that]. The thing about Diggin is we were all artists before we were a crew. So its truly like seven chefs in one kitchen [recording together]. People can disagree or whatever. I think this is a special time to see whether or not we can do this last hurrah. At the end of the day, its about this movement, its about making this money. Its power in masses. Im lookin at these next two years like its all or nothin. I got these last two years to be an artist. Being parents, the image, everything, it plays a part in your career. The older you get, you dont become appealing to certain groups of people and people in general.
AllHipHop.com: Are you getting cold shoulders from the industry?
Lord Finesse: Look, if you gotta wait for a label to sign you, you gonna be waitin forever. You gotta walk in the office, play your stuff for some dude who dont know nothin about Hip-Hop. Youre trying to explain your vision to this dude, and hes sayin, Well, let me hear something else. I dont depend on nobody to make nothin happen. We just gotta put 20 or 30 grand together, make it happen ourselves.
AllHipHop.com: Youre working on remixing Funky Technician. Whats the status on that?
Lord Finesse: Its almost done. Im waiting on Buckwild, Im waiting on Mel-Man. I just wanna make sure when you pick up this album, you gonna love it its gonna be dope. I already performed the DJ Premier [remix in Europe], and they lost it. I got the Large Professor cut ready too. When you listen to the lyrics on that album, damn theyre so relevant today. You talkin bout 88 and 89 too.
AllHipHop.com: Touching on your lyrics for a second, I look at F**k Em. This cut basically aired out your family, among others, for lack of support in your early pursuit of rap. Today, at your functions, youre always surrounded by family. Tell me how they reacted when they heard that?
Lord Finesse: It wasnt till after my grandmother passed that me and the family really got together. Im very much close to my family now. Theyre real small, as it is. I lost my mother and father before I was three years old, people dont know that. My grandmother raised me since I was six months old. She always supported me in everything I wanted to do, musically. We just a made a pact that as long as I got my education, she would never knock anything I wanted to do.
At the time, I used to get criticized around Thanksgiving dinner, cause I wanted to pursue music. I got a cousin, Cam, he did four years at college so they looked at him [not me]. The chances are one in a million. I got criticized so bad that I never wanted to go to Thanksgiving dinner. I abandoned my family after a certain period. Even when I became successful, I abandoned my family. This is something I wanted to do, but I aint have they support. My grandmother supported me. She paid for my studio sessions. I chose to do what I wanted to do. Now, they appreciate me. But it took the death of my grandmother to understand that this is the only family I got, and I cant abandon em.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think one day, youll have a big family of your own?
Lord Finesse: I dont know, man. Its just finding the right woman in life. I want a mother, not a baby-mother. I dont want to have a child by somebody I cant get along with. Its having those two figures [mother and father] around thats the essence. People really dont understand how much that means in general.
AllHipHop.com: Going back to the music. Shows album has a song, On My Way. On it, Party Arty and Fat Joe appear to be going at G-Unit. The Ruff Ryders said theyre riding for Jadakiss in this. Are yall riding for Joe?
A.G.: No comment. Joe is my n***a.
Lord Finesse: I mean its like, I dont really know the happs on both sides, so its hard to just jump into something. When everything popped off, it just popped off so quick. Me, Im a laid-back mediator, Im a cool dude. My thing would be to diffuse it. People like to keep throwing the gas on the fire. Then, when something real crazy or real violent pop off, then they like, Yo, its bad for Hip-Hop. Thats how I look at the situation. I know Ive tap-danced around [your question]. That said, I dont why 50 feel the way he feel. I personally know 50. Ive built with him, and dude is real intelligent. So for him to lash out, I cant see it. Theres so many records with subliminal things, ya know?
AllHipHop.com: Like the controversy with Big Daddy Kane dissing Rakim
Lord Finesse: Only them two know. Nowadays, people get in each others ear. Everybody wanna be the King of New York. Aint nothing wrong with that, but s**ts gettin out of hand now. That issue right there just made me say, Damn. Of course, Fat Joe is my Puerto Rican brother, you know? We lived like a building apart from each other. Im gonna ride with Joe, know what Im sayin? But at the same time, I still gotta know what Im getting into - any intelligent dude [should]. I just look at life as theres more to life than beefin.
AllHipHop.com: In terms of your production career, youve laid low for a few years. Any reason? I know this is the era of the beat-maker, not the producer.
Lord Finesse: I lay in the cut. Im a homebody. I cant deal with this industry bulls**t. Half of these A&Rs are wanna-be producers themselves. This rap s**t is all microwave now, it dont stick to your ribs. You buy it, you s**t it out, you keep movin. I sit and build with artists, not no, Listen to my beat CD, dude.
AllHipHop.com: What about you A.G.? What do you like to do with your free-time?
A.G.: I like to play Madden and NBA Live for money.
AllHipHop.com: Thats a hustle. Do you consider expanding Get Dirty Records?
A.G.: I first have to get the right team together. You need extensions of yourself from the ground up. I want to open a shop where cats can get their graphics and media created. I would also sell CDs. The shop would have multiple levels. Right now Im looking at a building in 3rd and 149th area. But nothing is for sure right now.
AllHipHop.com: My favorite record of yours is the Yes You May remix, which put Big L out. Tell me about T-Ray, who remixed that, and how you came to be
Lord Finesse: Percee P introduced me to T-Ray. Hes a serious collector. Hes a serious White guy who understands rap not to be too racial. But that beat was originally for Biz [Markie], and I had to pry it away from him. So I put L on it, who was a nobody at the time, but sorta my LeBron James. It was done in 92, today, the lyrics speak for themselves.