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written by Philip Oliver    
The only collective to ever rival the Wu-Tang Clan in consistency of its members and as a unit has finally dropped their debut album in 2000, its been a few years coming. Over those years we’ve seen what DITC can do, whether it’s the solo albums from Show & AG, Fat Joe, Diamond D, Lord Finesse, OC, Buckwild, DJ Premier and the late great Big L or the tracks they have done as DITC. The majority of those tracks appear here but other 12" like ‘Dignified Soldiers’, ‘Internationally Known’ and ‘All Luv’ didn’t make it to the final cut, but that doesn’t really let it down.

This group has a great collective of producers and emcees that collaborate to bring some of hip-hop's best gatherings. This is proved on the first ever 12" that had us expecting this album way back in 1997 and it appears in all its glory here, I’m talking about ‘Day One’. In case you didn’t know this all star track from DITC is one hell of a cypher as they pass the mic for 5 minutes, the loop you may recognize because it appeared as an interlude on Pete & CL’s ‘main Ingredient’ and it still remains as hypnotic today. That’s not the only familiarity you’ll find as on ‘way of life’ we get the B-Boy Document remix loop, that original beat returns once again with Fat Joe & Big L. The amazing creation that is ‘The Enemy’ with Fat Joe and Big L appears, again Premier laces a great beat for Joe and L to drop their anger at New York’s finest. ‘Thick’, the current single and opener of the album also brings together a Premier track and Big L with AG and OC, its Rockwilder remix that’s included does little to live up to the original though, as its bland production does little more than make me listen to the original even more.

Sadly 2 of the emcees that appear on here have since passed on, of course I am talking about Big L and Big Punisher. Big L shines all over the album, most notably on the DJ Premier remix of ‘Ebonics’ pay attention as for the next 3 minutes he breaks down all the street slang you could ever imagine, and listen how he does it. The recently departed Big Punisher makes an appearance on the previously released ‘Where you at’ and a very poor remix of ‘Drop it heavy’ (Previously appearing on Show and AG’s ‘Full Scale’ EP).

Along with the poor remix that Rockwilder did of ‘Thick’ and the ‘Drop it heavy’ remix you’ll be glad to know the new version of ‘Get Yours’ is just as great as the original and grows on me with every listen, still cop the original if you can though. The album closes with ‘Tribute’ a fitting dedication to Big L from OC, AG and Lord Finesse, over a melancholy beat they pay tribute to the fallen member of DITC. The words OC delivers are an apology as he tells us how he didn’t pick up a call that L made to him on Valentines day of last year, the day before he was fatally shot, there’s so much feeling in his words.

After such a long time coming I did really expect more, I know label situations and deaths in the group could not be helped its just some tracks like ‘Foundation’ and ‘Champagne Thoughts’ let it down just a little as these are average compared to the great quality displayed, add to this the bad remixes I mentioned and it just falls short of a classic album. Overall a great album to start the year off and maybe their solo projects and Big L’s posthumous release will live up to expectations in 2000.

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