b. Joe Kirkland, Bronx, New York, USA. Not the white artist of the same name, who arrived on the scene much later but had copyrighted the name, Diamond D is one of rap music’s top flight production experts from the USA, who, although he really broke through in the 90s, started out as DJ back in 1979, going on to join Jazzy Jay’s team in the early 80s. He followed that with engagements for Master Rob (who also appeared in the Wild Style movie as one of the Romantic Fantastic Five) as a component of the Ultimate Force. They released one single on Strong City Records, ‘I’m Not Playing’, but it was not considered lyrically tough enough by prevailing hip-hop standards. Diamond D pressed on, teaching himself rhyming to add to his deck skills, making a debut appearance on A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Show Business’. Together with his Psychotic Neurotics posse Diamond D made his ‘solo’ debut with ‘Best Kept Secret’ on Chemistry/ Mercury Records. It was an attempt to reinstate the principals of the old school Bronx pioneers in lyrical showdowns and couplets. The album that followed saw co-production assistance from DJ Mark The 45 King and Large Professor (Main Source), and remains a classic of its kind. Several top rappers appeared on his second album, including Busta Rhymes and Pete Rock, another highly creative and enjoyable collection.
It is as a producer that Diamond D remains best known, and his client list is growing. These include Showbiz And AG (often working in tandem with the former), Lord Finesse, Apache, the Geto Girlz, Chill Rob G, Pharcyde, Run-DMC, KRS-One, the Fugees and Brand Nubian. His most acclaimed work came with A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low-End Theory (1991) and the Fugees’ massive-selling The Score (1996). He is also known for his association with D.I.T.C. , an influential amalgam of various New York-based MCs, DJs and producers aligned to the independent hip-hop scene. Although now overshadowed by its members’ individual success, D.I.T.C. are one of the most authentic eastside underground rap collectives.