Artist: DiplomatsTitle: Diplomatic Immunity 2Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Martin A. Berrios
Within the last few years, there has been a new regime coming up in the ranks of Hip-Hop. Through their constant flooding of the mixtape circuit and the more recent launching of their record label, The Diplomats have become a staple in the New York Rap scene. Lead by Cam’ron, Jim Jones and Juelz Santana, the Dip’s impact has even crossed over to fashion, as they have made Pink fashionably trendy in the streets. But don’t let the feminine colors fool you. Their double album Diplomatic Immunity spawned several street anthems, such as “Dipset Anthem” and “I’m Ready,” leading many to consider the debut a hood classic. With solo albums from each one of the primary members already in the books, the Harlem collective once again regroup to serve up more Upptown drug drama over solid production on Diplomatic Immunity 2.
Young gun Juelz Santan gets his grown man on by holding down the album’s first single all by his lonesome. On “S.A.N.T.A.N.A.,” Juelz implements a non traditional rhyme scheme where instead of rhyming the last word in each bar, he recycles the same last word with a play on the word prior to it. This rap style popularized by Beanie Sigel, compliments the song’s speedy high hats and heavy synthesized drums adequately. Production team the Treblemakers also use a high pitch chipmunk like voice to repeatedly mention Juelz’ name over the track for a more personal touch. On “Take Em To Church,” Cam’ron makes his feelings known about his former partner in crime Ma$e. On the piano driven track, Cam questions the rapping pastor’s true intentions; “This is my call about a false prophet/all profit/Harlem hustler I can’t at all knock it/but you hard when you go into the Lord’s pocket.”
Even though all of the members lyrically hold their own weight, it is the new additions to the team that really shine on Diplomatic Immunity 2. Mixtape phenom J.R. Writer and Monday Night Fight Klub veteran 40 Cal both make their presence felt with hard-hitting flows and memorable punchlines. On arguably the album’s strongest cut “Stop-N-Go,” J.R. just does that with his rapid delivery. Produced by Develop, the track is fueled by thunderous drums that only drop in at every four bars. J.R. matches the intensity with tricky wordplay that involves rhyming every word in the accompanying four bars in an effort to not get outdone by the music. “I’m just miraculous/accurate, that’s just the half of it/mastered this, I could laugh at this/show you just how savage get” he exclaims. Other noteworthy joints include the dirty south influenced “Get From Round Me” and the gritty “Dead Muthaf*ckers.”
The Dips do drop the ball when they experiment outside of their hardcore comfort zone. Their attempt at a radio friendly hit “I Wanna Be Your Lady,” falls short with its blatant jacking of Ghost Town DJ’s “My Boo.” The song sounds incredibly forced, eventually sounding out of place. Even worse is the horrific remake of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It.” Cam’ron and company desecrate the old school classic by updating it with a new drug related theme.
Overall D.I. 2 will satisfy most heads looking for their next Dipset fix. Besides some questionable choices here and there, this album is what’s really good.