||“We attract people who need that boom and that bap.” That’s more
than a line, it’s a legacy. When Diamond District dropped In the Ruff on
Mello Music Group in 2009, the gritty drums and grimy raps combined as
elementally as hydrogen and oxygen. The D.C. Voltron of Oddisee, yU, and
X.O. dusted off and revitalized a sound once consigned to the catacombs.
Hailed as an instant classic, its impact reverberated throughout the
underground and mainstream. The Washington D.C. City Paper called it the
city’s best album in many years. During an era when lyricism was deemed
too intellectual and samples too dated, Diamond District overturned
conventional logic. They preserved the raw and made it righteous.
A half-decade later, the holy trinity has returned with March on
Washington. The truths remain timeless. Wisdom over rhythm. Slang
turned into testament. The march turned into indelible memory. This is rap
for every man (and woman) done by extraordinary men. They’re doing it
for the pioneers of the culture and for Trayvon Martin, for those workers
toiling on the weekends to get their moms out of the hood.
It’s music to entertain, but also to restore a feeling. It places an
increasingly rare value on wordplay, flows, concepts, breath control, and
passion. It’s replete with the intangibles that make hip-hop special. Oddisee
crafts beats that bang like galvanized soul, hard enough to deflect bullets but
infused with a veiled sensitivity. And as the group says on finale, “Bonus
Flow,” they made it cool for “K. Dot to do what he do….and “Oddisee’s
better than Kanye too.”
The songs reflect the creative push and pull of the group itself, three
solo artists who manifest something greater than the sum of their parts.
This is the antidote for those who feel like they didn’t leave hip-hop, hip-
hop left them. It refuses to spin its wheels or let its focus stray. It is filthy
enough to come from the gutter, but it doesn’t cater to low sensibilities.
There is the spirit of the old transplanted into the legs of the new. Round
up the troops, lace those boots. This is triumph that you can march to, until
you can’t walk anymore.