Diverse One A.M.

This Chicago MC has been teasing everyone in hip-hop by dropping little tastes of what his first full-length recording had in store. After numerous twelve-inch singles and a tiny EP under his belt, the moment that Diverse truly gets to shine has finally arrived in the form of the near-perfect One A.M. The truly gifted lyricist flows over some gorgeous production with such ease that it’s like listening to liquid audio. Diverse can spit over massive drum explosions and chunky vibes, such as the RJD2-produced "Explosive” with Lyrics Born, and then deliver the same tone and warmth in his verses over a fly love song such as the beautiful "Leaving,” produced by Prefuse 73. He doesn’t need to scream to get his message across; Diverse is poetically smooth on the mic, but still gets his point across with very little effort other than sheer skills. This debut has some serious support, roping in an all-star cast of beat-makers and fellow wordsmiths. Along with RJD2 creating half the beats and Prefuse 73 taking a stab at a pair, there’s also the ultra-sexy soul craftsmanship of Madlib on "Ain’t Right.” Along with Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox and the mighty Jean Grae, there is simply far too much talent on this effort to go unnoticed. Though Diverse hits it clear out of the ballpark with some of hip-hop’s premier production to back him up, the true success of One A.M. is made possible to his vision of recreating the golden age in this rap game. Easily one of the best records of the year, it would be a crime if Diverse doesn’t reach success and recognition of intergalactic proportions. Did you set out to make a multi-dimensional record? Diverse isn’t just a name. If I have one knock on hip-hop as a whole right now, it's that people get complacent in terms of the sound. I want to be able to travel different soundscapes, because not only do I listen to hip-hop, I listen to jazz and rock. I listen to the whole spectrum. Shit, I love banging-ass hip-hop tracks, but then I also love smoothed-out jazz tracks. It seems like we’re in a genre that's so intimidated by showing just a bit of its softer side and exposing itself. I just wanted to make a record that reflected who I am thoroughly. Not just the b-boy in me or the uprocker in me, but also some of the more intimate side.” You could have easily filled out this record with your past singles, but instead you opted to deliver only new joints. I come from a school of hip-hop where the shit I used to listen to and things that I grew up on were artists that were really attentive to keeping the fans happy. I remember A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul used to give you exclusive b-sides and mixes of songs that you would only hear if you bought the record. I'm from that same school of thought and I like to give people as much material as I possibly can while I'm here. (Chocolate Industries)