Diamond D: The best kept secret
With community pillars like b-boy Benzo and Jedi in the house to help lively up the place, and the hip hop room upstairs actually sustaining a sizable audience, it looks like the uncategorizable venue looked alive. And considering the talented Diamond D is known much more for his production (The Fugees, D.I.T.C., Ras Kass, etc.) than his DJ skills, it was great to witness Toronto crowds interact with his unique DJ set so enthusiastically. (Of course, the night started off Screwface.)
Interestingly, similar to his set at Revival during the first NY Giants show in late August, he started off spinning mainly instrumental versions. Only. I don't know if you've been to a dance club lately that is primarily playing hip hop, but imagine trying to get into the spirit of the party just to have your efforts haunted by an odd sensation that something is... missing. Without the vivid words to songs De La Soul's Stakes Is High, Public Enemy's Shut Em Down Pete Rock remix, and especially the rap anthem Hip Hop by Mos Def, a strange type of vertigo occurs when you are missing the words you love.
You could sense party people unwittingly wandering to their personal affairs after about 15 minutes: "should I buy her another drink?" "Is he going to leave me alone so I can enjoy this drink he bought me?" "Where did I lose my keys?" "Why won't this person stop texting me, I'm not answering!" And of course: "Why isn't the DJ playing the lyrics?"
I point this out not because it was unpleasant, but to observe what I suspect was a disc jockey from another era in music history doing what comes natural to him.
Then DJ Diamond D caught wind of the discotheque disconnect and started dropping bombs in succession. His style was unique in that he had discernible batches of content: classic party records came after the instrumental segment, then he played about eight fresh-out-the-box NYC rap records produced by D himself, and surprisingly had the audience engaged and entertained.
Happy birthday, DJ Fathom, et al.
For your viewing pleasure, here is some great footage of Redman stage diving... off a 10-foot speaker stack at the Kool Haus last weekend! Him and Method Man tag-teamed Toronto for a good hour and a half, and brought out Old Dirty Bastard's son Ason Unique to rap along to a few of his father's timeless hits, plus they treated the city to a soulful side serving of Saukrates seasoning. If only that Gilla House/Def Jam album of his dropped, Kardinal Offishall would have so much pressure on his shoulders. But I digress...