If you are sleeping on Diverse, then wake up. The Chicago emcee's debut album "One A.M." may not have the biggest buzz, but it is certainly one of the best underground releases of the year. With half of the album produced by RJD2 its mind boggling how people have slept on this release so far. Nevertheless, "One A.M." is a vintage b-boy album that every fan should hear. With a combination of "black physc rock" and pure boom bap Hip Hop, the album is a Hip Hop enthusiasts dream come true.
RJD2's five efforts on the album make "One A.M." worth the price of admission alone. RJ's playful keys and guitar riffs on "Certified" opens up the album perfectly, as Diverse shreds the mic to pieces with his wordy lyricism that will unfortunately go over many fans heads. Lyrically Diverse strives for perfection on every track, relentlessly attacking and pulverizing each RJD2 beat. "Uprock" is a prime example, as Diverse displays his sick wordplay and flow, which is second to none. However, Diverse is not alone on his debut album, as fellow emcees Vast Aire, Lyrics Born and Jean Grae all drop by to help the cause. "Big Game" featuring Vast and "Under The Hammer" featuring Jean are both harder efforts from RJ behind the boards that will not only rattle your stereo but also dazzle you with bright lyrics.
Besides RJD2, "One A.M." features production from other underground heavy weights such as Madlib, Prefuse-73, Overflo and Jeff Parker. Madlib's happy go lucky piano keys on "Ain't Right" provides a hot summer day feeling, as Diverse spits tales of beef and dangerous circumstances. "747", which is produced by Overflo, may very well be the best beat on the album, as the track's vocal sample and sporadic horns make for a unique effort. "Leaving" is the album's most moving piece, as Prefuse-73's melodic keys and vocal sample provides a perfect atmosphere for Diverse to deliver a sentimental and heartfelt song.
It is hard to imagine underground heads sleeping on Diverse's "One A.M.", especially with RJD2 producing half of the album, but unfortunately Diverse's wordy style maybe too complex for the average fan. Nevertheless, the album is one of the years finest. Do yourself a favor and don't sleep on Diverse.