Released in 2003 One AM is fire from beginning to end. With production from RJD2, Prefuse 73 and Madlib and guest raps from Lyrics Born, Jean Grae and Mos Def it’s a very impressive debut. Unfortunately the follow up album Round About was apparently slated for release in 2006 but has yet to emerge. In a time when most rappers release one or two albums a year it’s hard to understand what the delay would be on this record. I occasionally do a search for any thing new on Diverse but there does not seem to be much news since 2009.
One AM is one of them albums I can always go back to and listen to the entire album and not be disappointed. At the time of it’s release I feel RJD2 and Prefuse 73 where doing some of their best hip hop work, as time has passed they have both moved away from hip hop to a more electronic sound. Production on One AM is a little bit jazzy and a little bit abstract without taking either of them sounds to far from traditional hip hop beats. Diverse raps with intelligent soulful lyrics and a rapid fire delivery yet smooth flow. This rap style seems to be consistent with what I hear from other Chicago rappers like Thaione Davis, Vakill and Qwel. While this album is dense with lyrics it’s balanced with clean production and feels more accessible than many other albums that are rap heavy.
Just Biz is probably my favourite track from the album. The beat contains a some rare but subtle vocals under the chorus from Prefuse himself. I do have one newer song from Diverse that I want to share that you may not have heard. It is from Australian producer Katalyst’s 2007 album What’s Happening. The concept behind that album was that Katalyst asked a number of musicians to contribute with the question “what’s happening?” as a writing prompt. Diverse provided Dedicated, two heartfelt verses written for his father who had recently passed away.