The Diggin` in the Crates Crew, also known as D.I.T.C., is a New York based Hip Hop group which consists of rappers, DJs and producers. Its members have achieved substantial and consistent recognition in underground rap circles, having often collaborated with new undiscovered talents and underground artists alongside the most commercial of rappers. Most of its members are from the Bronx (Showbiz & A.G., Diamond D, Lord Finesse, Fat Joe and Buckwild), with the exception of Big L (Harlem) and O.C. (Brooklyn). D.I.T.C. played a vital part in New York’s underground circuit in the early 90s (even to this day). The eight original members have individually and collectively released many albums, compilations, EP`s and 12-inch singles, while the crew’s four producers have laid down thousands of beats for a combined roster ranging from House of Pain to P. Diddy. Although my favourite members are O.C., Diamond D and Lord Finesse, I can assure you that the other members bring balance to the crew. Having said all this, here are 13 reasons Why I Dig…D.I.T.C.:
Reason #1 : A.G. aka Andre the Giant (In the words of Lord Finesse: Passionate Philosopher)
Born Andre Barnes, Andre the Giant is the rapper/front man of the duo of Showbiz and A.G. A Bronx native, he is known for his brilliant lyrics and continues to shine decades after his 1st verse on “Soul Clap” in `92. As a duo with Show, he released 3 albums and 3 EPs over the years. As a solo artist, he put out 3 albums and 2 collaborative efforts; Live in Amsterdam with Big L in 1999 (a collection of live and rare performances by both MC`s) and Oasis in 2009 with O.C..
Reason #2 : Big L. (In the words of Lord Finesse: Eternal Lyricist)
Lamont Coleman was also known as Corleone, Mr MVP or simply Big L. He was reputed as a great lyricist from Harlem. Music journalist Henry Adaso claimed he was “one of the most auspicious storytellers in Hip Hop history”. HipHopDX called Coleman “the most underrated lyricist ever”. The records Lifestylez ov da Poor and Dangerous (1995) and The Big Picture (2000) were his only 2 releases prior to his untimely and premature death. He had 3 posthumous albums and 6 compilations. Did you know that he was the founder of the group Children of the Corn along with Harlem natives Cam’ron, Ma$e, Herb McGruff and Bloodshed while they were all trying to get a record deal.
Reason #3 : Buckwild (In the words of Lord Finesse: Sporadic Inventor)
Anthony Best is an amazing record producer under the moniker Buckwild. His main instruments are a keyboard, a drum machine and a sampler. He has produced a number of hit tracks such as The Notorious B.I.G. ‘s “I got a Story to Tell”, Black Rob’s “Whoa!” and Mic Geronimo`s “Masta I.C.”. He took care of most of D.I.T.C`s discography along with Show, Finesse and Diamond D. He has 3 collaborative albums, 2 compilations and 3 EP`s under his belt.
Reason #4 : Diamond D. (In the words of Lord Finesse: Abstract Journalist)
The amazing Joseph Kirkland aka Diamond D is my main man from the crew. One of the founding members is half astonishing MC and half extraordinary producer. He tells stories like a journalist. He managed to lace 6 albums and 1 collabo over the years including his classic 1st opus Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop (1992). That amazing 23 track record had many classics: “Best Kept Secret”, “Sally Got a One Track Mind”, “Fuck What U Heard”, “I`m Outta Here”, “Check One, Two”, “Freestyle (Yo, That’s That Shit) just to name a few. I still rock that funky joint in my ride. As a producer, he laced many classics and remixes since 1989. D remains active, performing at sold out shows overseas all the way to Japan. He’s still The Best Kept Secret.
Reason #5 : Fat Joe (In the words of Lord Finesse: Extreme Opportunist)
With an impressive 10 albums under his belt along with 4 collaborative albums, Joseph Antonio Cartagena aka Fat Joe is the most internationally successful member of this crew. He is the CEO of Terror Squad Entertainment, and a member of the musical groups D.I.T.C. and Terror Squad. He was nominated for and won many prestigious awards. The most commercial member of the crew, he introduced us to another famous Bronx native, the legendary Big Pun (short for Big Punisher). Joe is still flowing today. “You gotta flow Joe”
Reason #6 : Lord Finesse (In the words of D.I.T.C.: Funky Technician)
Robert Hall Jr. is a producer and Hip Hop artist. He’s best known as Lord Finesse, the leader of the D.I.T.C. crew. As a duo (with former partner DJ Mike Smooth), he released in 1989 his 1st joint Funky Technician; and then history was made. This album featured production from future star beat makers such as DJ Premier, Showbiz and Diamond D. Soon after, Finesse formed the incredible New York underground crew as we know. Over the years, he released 2 more albums and produced for many artists. His most famous production works are Notorious B.I.G.`s “Suicidal Thoughts”, Big L’s “MVP”, Dr. Dre’s “The Message” and his provided vocal sample on Fatboy Slim’s “Rockafeller Skank” international smash hit. The said song features Finesse’s repeated line “Right about now, the funk soul brother. Check it out now, the funk soul brother”
Reason #7 : O.C. (In the words of Lord Finesse: Underrated Vocalist)
Omar Credle or simply O.C., is from Brooklyn, New York. An extraordinary rapper and lyricist who has been involved with several renowned underground Hip Hop groups: Crooklyn Dodgers `95, Luv NY and Perestroika. 7 solo albums, 7 collaborative albums and 5 compilations later, he is still a relevant and astonishing MC, who somehow has remained underrated over the years. He marked history with 2 definitive classic records; Word…Life (1994) and Jewelz (1997). As O.C. would say: “My album will manifest many things that I saw, did or heard about…Time’s Up”
Reason #8 : Show (Showbiz) (In the words of Lord Finesse: True Warrior)
Rodney Lemay was known as Showbiz prior to `95, then he shortened his name to Show. He was the man behind the sound of the Showbiz and A.G. duo. As a producer, he released 2 albums. His 1st opus Street Talk (2005) featured the entire D.I.T.C. crew. His 2nd LP was a 2011 collaboration with KRS-1 entitled Godsville. As a prolific producer, he laced a quarter of the crew’s beats. It is said that he was the one that taught DJ Premier how to chop sounds.
Reason #9 : Crazy like a Foxxx (D.I.T.C. 1993 Unreleased Demo Version)
In 2008, Freddie Foxxx (using his Bumpy Knuckles pseudonym) released the long-shelved 1994 Jailhouse Version album Crazy Like A Foxxx. The record was reissued as a double CD. The second of two discs featured D.I.T.C. produced demo versions of 11 tracks dating back to 1993. The D.I.T.C. 1993 production contrasted with the Jailhouse version of production from 1994. It was a rare gem hidden for 14 years.
Reason #10: Live at the Tramps New York 1999: In Memory of Big L. (Vol.1 + Vol.2):
It was a live album (2 volumes) recorded on March 6, 1999 at the legendary Tramps Nightclub in NYC. Vol. 1 mainly featured O.C. and D.I.T.C., while Vol. 2 featured Diamond D, Lord Finesse and Show & A.G. The recording had some very nice and poetic tributes to their fallen comrade, Big L.
Reason #11 : D.I.T.C (2000):
The debut from the Hip Hop collective we all know and love. The album’s last track “Tribute” was a song dedicated to Big L, who was murdered a few days prior to its release. The European version contained an exclusive bonus track “Time to Get This Money” which was produced by Ahmed and featured DJ Premier on the 1 and 2`s (turntables). However, the European version did not include the song “Where Ya At” as in the original U.S. version on Tommy Boy Records.
Reason #12 : The Official Version (2000):
The Official Version is an alternate version of D.I.T.C.`s self-titled album D.I.T.C. which was never officially released on vinyl, hence the name of this release. The Official Version has a different track listing with many of the songs being totally different versions than the ones appearing on the 1st opus and also 2 tracks that weren’t on D.I.T.C. at all – “All Love” and “We Known For That” (which is actually a remix of the 12” single “Internationally Known”). The album was executively produced by Showbiz and released on their label D.I.T.C. Records, then distributed by Fat Beats.
Reason #13 : Diggin`In The Crates: D.I.T.C. is a term used to describe when DJs and producers skim through record shops to find rare vinyls to sample or create a break to incorporate into their music. It is also considered an art form. The records are usually kept in milk crates (that is where the crates aspect comes from). Hence an expression; “Hey yo, check this out, it’s that dude from the D.I.T.C. group and he’s Diggin`in the crates at the Fat Beats record shop.”
Legacy : After ten years of laying down the foundation with individual releases and live shows, D.I.T.C. released in February 2000 their first collective albums D.I.T.C. on Tommy Boy Records, followed by a sophomore titled The Movement, on D.I.T.C. Records in November 2008. The crew also dropped several compilations of rare and previously unreleased material circa 2000-2019. The D.I.T.C. really represented the Boogie Down Bronx after the likes of BDP (Boogie Down Productions). This crew definitely set the standard for real underground music as one of Hip Hop’s most beloved and respected crews…. NYC everything…
Excerpts taken from Wikipedia, Underground Hip Hop and Wax Poetics (D.I.T.C. Crew article by Damian Ghigliotty)