The Diggin’ in the Crates
Crew also known as D.I.T.C., hails from New York. The name of the crew is deriving from the art of digging in milk crates which have long been used by DJs to keep records in. Hip hop producers would dig in these “crates” seeking out records to sample for production. The members of D.I.T.C have achieved substantial and consistent recognition in underground rap circles. Members include Diamond D, Fat Joe, Showbiz, Lord Finesse, Buckwild, A.G, O.C and the late great Big L. All of its members are from the Bronx section of NYC, with the exception of Big L (from Harlem) and O.C. (from Brooklyn). D.I.T.C is like a supergroup of boom bap hip hop gods. All are held in very high regard in underground hip hop.
Big L, born and raised in Harlem, New York City. His first notable appearance came on Lord Finesse’s “Yes You May (Remix)”. Big L released his debut album, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, in 1995 and was as his name said “BIG” on the underground hip hop scene. In 1998, he founded Flamboyant Entertainment, his own indie label, through which he released one of his most popular singles, “Ebonics” in 1998. Unfortunately on February 15, 1999, Big L was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Harlem. His second studio album, The Big Picture, was put together by his manager, Rich King, and released posthumously in 2000. It was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). A documentary is in the works titled Street Struck: The Big L Story (2016).
Fat Joe enjoyed substantial overground success with his hits “Lean Back” and “Whats Luv” but always gets maximum respect on the underground. Fat Joe is also one of the leading Latino emcees to ever pick up a microphone. Fat Joe was instrumental in the career of Big Pun who is widely considered to be the best Latino lyricist to ever do it. As a teenager, he was influenced by Big Pun. Fat Joe explained Big Puns influence by saying “Latinos before us who had the opportunity to do it just didn’t know how to do it. They came in trying to do this black music. We’re trying to kick in the doors for other Latinos and represent our people, and it shows.” In 1993 Fat Joe released his debut album; “Represent” the album featured production from The Beatnuts, Diamond D, Lord Finesse, and others. Its lead single, “Flow Joe” went to number one on the Billboard Hot Rap chart; other singles from the album included “Watch the Sound” and “This Shit is Real”. In 1995, Fat Joe released his second studio album, Jealous One’s Envy, the album featured a guest appearance from KRS-One and production from Diamond D. The single, “Envy” peaked at #8 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. The success of this album led Fat Joe to be featured on the remix of LL Cool J’s single “I Shot Ya” along with Foxy Brown, Keith Murray and Prodigy of Mobb Deep. In 1998 Fat Joe released his third album “Don Cartagena” it was his first for Atlantic Records. It was eventually certified gold by the RIAA, the album featured two hit singles “Bet Ya Man Can’t Triz”, and “Don Cartagena”. Fat Joe also established his own crew called Terror Squad that consisted of the late great Big Pun, as well as Cuban Link, Triple Seis, Prospect, Armageddon and later Remy Ma. Fat Joe released his fourth album Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.) in 2001, featuring a star-studded lineup from the likes of Ashanti, Ja Rule, N.O.R.E., Busta Rhymes, Petey Pablo, M.O.P., Ludacris, R. Kelly, Buju Banton, and artists from his Terror Squad label. The lead single “We Thuggin'” featuring R. Kelly was a big hit in late 2001. The album was Fat Joe’s biggest hit as it was successful from its January release all the way into May, being certified platinum. However, Fat Joe’s fifth album Loyalty, released later in 2002 and featured production from Irv Gotti. Fat Joe scored a number-one hit in 2004 with his group Terror Squad, collaborating with Remy Ma on the Scott Storch production “Lean Back” from the album True Story. He continues to release great music.
Diamond D is one of the first rapper / producers in the game. He started producing songs back in 89 and released his own debut album “Stunts Blunts & Hip Hop” in 1992 that album contained the hits “Best Kept Secret”/”Freestyle (Yo, That’s That Shit),” “Sally Got a One-Track Mind”/”Check One, Two,” “Fuck What U Heard”/”I’m Outta Here”. He has gotten respect in the fields of rhyming and producing but has always been held in higher regard for his production.
Lord Finesse in 1989 Finesse and his former partner DJ Mike Smooth signed with Wild Pitch Records. In 1990, the duo released their debut album Funky Technician. The album featured production from future star beat-makers DJ Premier, Diamond D and Showbiz. Finesse returned as a solo artist in early 1992 with his second effort, Return of the Funky Man. The album featured guest appearances from Percee P and AG. The album’s title track peaked at number 13 on the Hot Rap Singles chart. Return of the Funky Man also included a couple of songs that were produced by Finesse himself, and this would be the start of a career as a much respected hip-hop producer. In 1994 Finesse made a production appearance on The Notorious B.I.G.’s classic debut Ready to Die, on the track “Suicidal Thoughts”. In 1995, he produced a big portion of Big L’s debut album Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous, including the single “M.V.P.” and made an appearance on one of the album’s highlight songs “Da Graveyard”. He returned as an artist in 1996 with the now rare 12″ single “Check The Method” and then the acclaimed album The Awakening. Finesse produced the entire album himself. He returned as an artist in 1996 with the now rare 12″ single “Check The Method” and then the acclaimed album The Awakening. Finesse produced the entire album himself. In June 2012, Finesse filed a $10 million lawsuit against Mac Miller, Rostrum Records and DatPiff for the use of a sample of Finesse’s song “Hip 2 Da Game” used in Miller’s 2010 mixtape song “Kool-Aid and Frozen Pizza”.
Showbiz and A.G. (aka Show and A.G.) are an American hip hop duo from The Bronx, New York City. Showbiz is a producer and A.G. (short for André the Giant) is a rapper. The two debuted on Lord Finesse’s Funky Technician album in 1990. Show and A.G. first release was an EP titled “Soul Clap”, released in 1992, also known as Showbiz & A.G. They released their debut album, “Runaway Slave” as well in 1992. In 1993, Showbiz became popular for producing KRS-One’s single Sound of da Police. In 1994, Showbiz shortened his name to Show, changing the group name to Show & A.G. Their 1995 album, Goodfellas, featured a darker sound than their debut. The most successful song from the album was DJ Premier’s Nyte Time Remix to the track “Next Level”. In 2000, Show & A.G. teamed up with the other members of D.I.T.C. and released their self-titled group album on Tommy Boy Records. Show was one of the executive producers of the project as well as producing many tracks on the album. A.G. appeared on the songs “Thick”, “Day One”, “Foundation”, “Drop It Heavy”, “Stand Strong”, “Weekend Nights” and “Tribute”, a track made in memory of Big L. After a hiatus between the release of the D.I.T.C. album and 2005, Show released his first solo album Street Talk (D.I.T.C.) in November 2005. The album featured 18 new tracks over Show’s productions. It also saw A.G. and Show reunite. A.G.’s second solo album for Look Records titled Get Dirty Radio, released October 31, 2006. In 2007 Show & A.G released a new EP entitled Live Hard on DITC Records, their first new material in nearly a decade. O.C. and A.G. released a collaborative album called Oasis in 2009.
Buckwild is a producer from The Bronx borough of New York. He has produced a number of tracks, including The Notorious B.I.G.’s “I Got a Story to Tell” and Black Rob’s “Whoa!”. In 2013, he was described as “one of Hip Hop’s most prolific and acclaimed producers”. He has produced some of the most memorable cuts in hip hop history since 1994.
O.C. in addition to being a member of D.I.T.C has been involved with several renowned underground hip hop groups: Crooklyn Dodgers ’95, Luv NY, Perestroika. O.C. is from Brooklyn, more specifically the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. In 1991, he made his recording debut on Organized Konfusion’s “Fudge Pudge”. O.C. signed with Wild Pitch Records in 1994 where Serch was vice president. O.C. also met Lord Finesse and Buckwild on the first Source tour. The Source tour was also his introduction to the D.I.T.C crew. After the tour he connected with Buckwild and started recording a demo that would become his debut album “Word…Life.” In 1994 he finished the album Word…Life, which included everything from his demo, along with “Time’s Up,” which is probably his most notable song. In 1996, O.C. appeared on the Red Hot Organization’s compilation CD, America is Dying Slowly. The CD, meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among African American men, the project was heralded as “a masterpiece” by The Source magazine. In 1997, O.C. signed to Pay Day Records, where he released his second album Jewelz, featuring collaborations with DJ Premier, Da Beatminerz and Freddie Foxxx. The single “Far From Yours” was the main single off the album. In 1998, O.C. was featured on Pete Rock’s “Respect Mine” from Pete Rock’s 1998 solo debut album “Soul Survivor”. In 2000 the D.I.T.C crew released their self-titled debut album through Tommy Boy Records, O.C. featured on the majority of the songs. In 2001 he released Bon Appetit, the album was met with very mixed reviews; After the disappointing reaction to the release O.C. disappeared from the scene until 2005, when he released his fourth album with Grit Records; “Starchild” which only dropped as a very limited Japanese/European import and got a far better reaction. In 2006 he signed with Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings and teamed up with Bronx-native producer Mike Loe, to drop “Smoke and Mirrors”. In May 2012 O.C. released a new collaborative album with Detroit-based producer Apollo Brown entitled Trophies on the Mello Music Group label. The first single was “Prove Me Wrong”. Trophies introduced OC to younger, blog-friendly fans as much as it brought his older supporters out to CD stores. In 2014, OC made a more laid back smooth album.