Album review: 'The Huge Hefner Chronicles,' by Diamond D

Patrick Varine

New York’s Diamond D has long proclaimed himself to be “the best producer on the mic,” and much of his catalog backs it up.

From the early ‘90s classic "Stunts, Blunts & Hip-Hop" to his boardwork for fellow Diggin’ In the Crates crew members (OC, Show & AG), Brand Nubian, Pharoahe Monch and more, D has secured himself a nice legacy. And while he might not be the greatest MC there ever was, he can certainly craft a good verse.

"The Huge Hefner Chronicles" (nice title, by the way), which features production from Nottz, Scratch, DefJef, Illmind, Jesse West and, of course, Diamond himself, has a few more jazzy moves than his previous work, but the smorgasbord of producers gives the album a bit of an uneven feel.

“U Can’t Be Me” sets a nice tone, with a tinny, chopped-up orchestra and a few brags and boasts from D; even the first single, “D-I-A-M-O-N-D,”with its tinkering bells and speak-and-spell chorus, is a head-nodder.

“Don’t Beg” sports some nice, spacey vocal “aaaay’s” and “Baby” could be a straight-up R&B joint, with gliding guitars and some light synth work. Diamond’s low-key flow works best with an uncluttered track, and the songs he produces comprise the album’s best stuff.

But the back half of the album, while it isn’t necessarily bad, just doesn’t seem to flow too well: a slow beat and double-time rapping on “Good Tyme,” classic violin and piano on “Get Up” and a funk whistle on “When Ur Hot Ur Hot.”

The final two tracks take things out on a smooth, jazzy tip, and it’s all to the good. While it stumbles a bit down the back stretch, "Huge Hefner" ultimately succeeds, even if Diamond could have benefited from crafting more of his own beats.

"The Huge Hefner Chronicles" will be released on Oct. 14.

Sussex Countian