The Diplomats Diplomatic Immunity 2

[Koch; 2004]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: mainstream rap (New York)
Others: Jay-Z, Cam’Ron

Here's my problem: how do I write a review of real hip-hop (emphasis on real, as in, on BET) as a comfortable, white dork from farm country and not come off as a total asshole? I spend my days listening to noise and classical, but in my car I like to blare that which can be blared, e.g. rap (noise sometimes to scare adjacent drivers). I like the music in general, but I find myself fixated on the geeky elements of songs, such as chipmunk vocals on one of the tracks here. Am I a real fan? That's probably the essential quality to shirk responsibility for possibly coming across as an asshole. And, damn, I'd have to say I am. I could list the unpersuasive rubric of qualifications, but I'll hope that you'll take my word for it.

For someone who recently wrote a diatribe about the stagnancy of hip-hop (see B-sides), such a high score seems incongruous. And, sadly, this review isn't to report any groundbreaking innovation. In fact, concisely formulating what I love about this album is difficult. How's this for glowing: it doesn't bore me. I think that's a saying a lot. Almost all rap albums fail to escape the aspersion of "boring," to my way of thinking. Is this at all crucial? I think so, if we want the album to continue to mean anything in this genre. With the extreme ease of acquiring just the hotter tracks, full-lengths would seem to be endangered. But, front to back, the Dip Set provides me with compelling songs. No savvy interested consumer would feel bad having bought this.

Like I say, what you get here is nothing that will expand your mind. But the sound is so dynamic that it brings to mind Jay-Z's The Blueprint, the benchmark of variety in mainstream rap. As mentioned before, one song revolves around chipmunked vocals, which warn against playing around with the rapper, rare self-parodying absurdism. In any genre. In this same song, "S.A.N.T.A.N.A.," we hear raps comparing the emcee to Stone Cold Steve Austin, Tony Montana, and what we'd imagine the Matrix would be in its 12th iteration. In one of my other favorites, the Dip Set "covers" Salt-N-Pepa's "Push It." This delighted me, but what makes this a real gem is the stilted rapping which never lingers on any phrasing. Closing the album is the lead single (has this ever been done before??), which is possibly the best song on the album. With a chorus that stretches to an improbable length, this song plods along martially, and the rappers match and embody the aesthetic impeccably. This is as far as radio rap has gotten from that of the golden years of the late '80s. How's this: These Diplomats deliver rap's State of the Union.

1. Stop-N-Go
2. S.A.N.T.A.N.A.
3. Take 'Em To Church
4. Get Use To This
5. Family Ties
6. Wouldn't You Like To Be A Gangsta Too?
7. Get From Round Me
8. Dutty Clap
9. I Wanna Be Your Lad
10. 40 Cal

11. Melalin
12. So Free
13. Dead Muthafuckas
14. Push It
15. Aayoo-Iight
16. Bigger Picture
17. Crunk Muzik