Diverse/Press

  BASES LOADED: HE DIGS BASEBALL AND POETRY. HIP HOPPIN' DIVERSE IS APTLY NAMED...
Jockey Slut Dec. 2003


 
And he would be?

A 27-year-old from the hip hop coldspot of Chicago, Illinois. He once planned to gain fame by catching balls thrown very fast at his head. But that didn't work out so he put down the glove and picked up the mic. "It's pretty dangerous, though," he says, "you get beat up pretty bad."

What, rapping?

No, playing baseball, stupid. He was a catcher - the guy who stands behind the bloke with the bat. "I definitely had aspirations to be an athlete," he recalls, "but sometimes your plans change without you controlling them." So now he raps.

Ah, rounders' loss is hip hop's
gain then?

Yes indeedy. His debut album,
'One A.M.', is a home run with bases loaded. That means 'very good', in baseball terms.

And what's so special about it?

Well, apart from Diverse's flow -- like Talib Kweli on speed - there's his background in poetry, ensuring a lyrical scope beyond the brags and bitches. Then there's the production line-up: Madlib, Prefuse 73 and Rjd2.

Wow. That's my shit right there.

And there's more. Jean Grae, Lyrics Born and Vast Aire (of Cannibal Ox) all pop by to drop lyrics. Not that he needs their help- on tracks like 'Ain't Right' and the Hammond-anthem 'Uprock' he holds the fort just dandy.

Homeboy's got connects then.

Yup. And they don't stop with hip hop. He's working with Tortoise, building tracks in the studio around pre-written lyrics, allowing him to flex his poetic first love.

Oh, the baggy-pants brigade won't like that.

"The more I do this the more I realize I don't have to compromise my roots in poetry to get noticed and do what I want to do." So there.
  Chicago hasn't given much to the world of hip hop, instead building its musical legacy on the soul of Curtis and the house that jack built. With just Common, the wretched Do Or Die and a few indie also-rans to compete with, Diverse shouldn't need to do much to elevate himself to near the top of the local field. And with a Slut dream team of producers - Madlib, RJD2, Prefuse 73 - it's no wonder 'One AM.' is such an impressive debut. The MC has a background in poetry, which makes the odd track 'difficult', as he crams in too many syllables in his rush to impress. But, the sin of overeagerness aside, he's made one of hip hop's best indie albums of the year, utilizing a Kweli-like flow and a broad lyrical range. Madlib's wobble-bass 'Ain't Right' is an obvious highlight, as is the dark, Zep-ish 'Under The Hammer', and finding a bad track on 'One AM.' will keep you up a lot later than the wee small hours.

Steve Yates



Diverse
Big Game
CD/12” | CHLT 051

Diverse
Jus Biz
12” | CHLT 047


Diverse
One A.M.
CD/2xLP | CHLT 039

Mos Def & Diverse
Wylin’ Out
(Kut Masta Kurt Remixes)

12” | CHLT 034
  Diverse
Certified/Build
12” | CHLT 031

Diverse, Mos Def & Prefuse 73
Wylin’ Out
CD/12” | CHLT 030

Diverse
Move
CD/12” | CHLT 018

 
 
Jockey Slut
Mugshot #6
Mugshot #7
MurderDog #3
Urb
XLR8R Nov. 03
XLR8R Dec. 03
Stranger
Zinc
Urb
Daily Northwestern
ATL Magazine
Rockpile
Exclaim
Remix
Q
Illinois Entertainer
Chicago Tribune
Alarm
The Absolute Sound
MurderDog #4
  Diverse on Myspace