D.I.T.C. is, if not the greatest, then, definitely the most slept-on rap crew of all-time. Lord Finesse, Big L, Fat Joe, O.C. and A.G. Pair them with the unstoppable in-house production crew of Diamond D, Showbiz and Buckwild—I mean, damn. A crew this deep, that has more unreleased gold than most of your favorite artists.
Throughout the years, they’ve slowly dripped unheard material out in various compilations and limited EPs, but it’s all scattered. We whittled it down to 20 of the best selections. This is far from a comprehensive look at D.I.T.C.’s catalog, however. Seek out all of Diamond D, Buckwild and Lord Finesse’s remixes to start, as well as the demos by Big L, Showbiz and A.G., and O.C.
Time to go worldwide.
Big L, “Timez Is Hard On The Boulevard”
It’s unknown who produced this classic rarity (I’d bet either Showbiz or Buckwild), but L rips it, talking about shooting cops and beating his dick when the going gets rough.
Showbiz & A.G., “To Each His Own (More Than One Way Out The Ghetto O.G.)”
This is the original version of a song that appeared on Show and AG’s classic album, Runaway Slave, but as dope as the final song is, I’m preferential to this track. Something about the alternate drums, the quick horns, the short James Brown sample, makes this rawer than the version on the album.
Pitch Black, “Show and Prove” (Feat. Lord Finesse)
Ugh…this is disgusting. A staple on Stretch & Bobbito (you might remember Big L claiming that he was never a fan of the Knicks over this banger), “Show and Prove” is one of the grimiest beats of the golden D.I.T.C. era.
Big L, “School Days”
Originally intended to be on L’s debut album, Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous, “School Days” was pulled at the last minute after appearing on a promo copy.
Shorty Long, “Shorty’z Doin’ His Own Thang”
One of the only songs Shorty Long ever released had an insane Lord Finesse beat. Back in 2008, One Leg Up Records released Shorty’s unreleased South Boogie EP with Harry-O and Mike Smooth, but this is still his best record.
Maestro Fresh-Wes, “Fine Tune Da Mic” (Feat. Showbiz)
Showbiz gave this slept-on kid a couple beats for his ’94 LP, Naaah, Dis Kid Can’t Be From Canada?!!, and “Fine Tune Da Mic” is a highlight for it’s slamming drums (especially that snare) and the trademark Showbiz horns. Percee P also had a dope verse on that album, too.
Grand Puba, Untitled (Prod. By Lord Finesse)
Puba flips a variety of gank gank flows over the kind of drums that only Lord Finesse can hook up. He’s got the lingo to make your moms stay home from bingo.
Big L, “Clinic (I Shoulda Worn a Rubba)”
Another Big L song that was left off of his debut album. Christmas bells were really in at the time. Why don’t rappers talk about real shit like this anymore? Pussies.
Big Red, “Created A Monster”
Diamond D demonstrates how far a simple bassline can go.
Kirk, “Uptown Style (Laidback Bounce Mix)”
Perfect for the impending Spring weather, this Kirk remix incorporates the hazy “Summer Madness” sample and uses a snare with a unique finish to it, not unlike the snare on Naughty by Nature’s “Hip-Hop Hooray.”
Little Indian, “One Little Indian (Remix)”
Little Indian was a musical anomaly, but at least we got remixes of his single from Buckwild and Dilla. This is the kind of shit you can play on repeat for hours without even noticing.
Showbiz & A.G., “Diggin’ In The Crates (OG Version)”
Can’t help but smile when this comes on. Diamond D has an endless amount of quotables on his verse, and Lord Finesse finishes it off nicely, but the horns and the tinkling keys are what make this unforgettable.
Diamond D, “With the Dope Sound”
Rare as fuck, “With The Dope Sound” is Diamond as menacing. The best part is when he talks about riding around Riverdale, terrorizing crackers. That’s what hip-hop is all about. Don’t miss the B-side either, featuring Ras Kass and the cruel irony of a dope rapper named John Dough.
D.I.T.C., “I Flip Styles” (Feat. Sadat X & Grand Puba)
If you ever need to kick back and cool out, put this on. Vibraphone samples always do the trick. All three MCs murder this. Who produced it though?
Caron Wheeler, “Soul Street (Funkyman Remix)”
Lord Finesse took this Caron Wheeler song, put some smoked out drums under it, garnished it with some Christmas bells, and made it an essential D.I.T.C. song.
Sadat X, “Feel It” (Feat. Diamond, K. Terrible, Severe & C-Low)
Sadat really had the hook up on D.I.T.C. beats (“Wild Cowboys” is wild underrated), and “Feel It” is one of the hottest joints he locked down. It appeared as the A-side on a white label release that featured Biggie and Craig Mack over an Easy Mo Bee on the B-side.
Big L, “Unexpected Flava”
Return Of The Devil’s Son was a Big L compilation that dropped in 2010 and contained a treasure trove of old Big L songs. “Unexpected Flava” was produced by both Large Professor and Lord Finesse and appeared on his demo tape. As good as it gets.
Diamond D, “Sally Got A One Track Mind (Showbiz Remix)”
All you need to know is saxophone. Hearing D.I.T.C. members remix each other’s tracks is an endless source of musical joy. Peace to Jack Bruce. The beat is 10 times more impressive when you hear how Show flipped it.
O.C., “O-Zone” [Demo]
The original version of O.C.’s ’93 track, “O-Zone.” is a full-on funk extravaganza, complete with assaulting drums, Coltrane-esque horns, and a torrent of devastating bars. Everything you want from a D.I.T.C. song.
Diamond D & Sadat X, “Can’t Front”
Another classic beat that Big L ripped on Stretch & Bob’s show, “Can’t Front” is produced by both Buckwild and Diamond D. Plus, that Herbie Hancock sample is bugged.