One of the most beloved hip-hop crews in rap music, D.I.T.C. (an acronym for "Diggin' in the Crates") consists of veteran MC's, DJs, and producers dedicated to the true essence of rap music: original lyrics and strong beat-savvy productions sampling dusty vinyl. With their dedication to hip-hop purity, members Showbiz & A.G. (Andre the Giant), Diamond D, Lord Finesse, Fat Joe, O.C., Buckwild, and the late Big L have at least one classic album under their belts. Although they never reached the success of their multi-platinum peers, individually they became successful by maintaining their integrity and earning major respect within the rap community.
Lord Finesse is a legendary MC-turned-producer who has produced tracks for Notorious B.I.G. ("Suicidal Thoughts" off of 1994's Ready to Die) and Dr. Dre ("The Message" off of 1999's 2001). As a young MC, he would travel to any borough in New York to battle their best rapper and win. He shopped his demo to various record labels and eventually dropped the first of several records, his 1990 classic Funky Technician. The record had a few tracks produced by his good friend Diamond (formerly Diamond D), a former member of the rap group Ultimate Force. In the mid-'80s, Diamond D was scratching on turntables at late-night park parties, often competing with area top DJs (Showbiz was once his nemesis.) Diamond also spent time DJing with the world famous Jazzy Jay, whom he first met in 1987. In 1992, Diamond transitioned from DJing to taking on the role of producer and MC, and showcased his diverse talents on his debut album "Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop".
Bronx native Fat Joe became the first Latino rapper in New York to secure a significant solo deal with a major label with his 1993 debut, "Represent". In 1998, his Don Cartagena release went gold (500,000 copies sold). Showbiz & A.G. were the first to adopt the do-it-yourself attitude by releasing their 1992 debut EP, Can I Get a Soul Clap, practically out of the trunk of their cars. Showbiz, a name he stolen from an old Richard Pryor record, pioneered taking an instrumental and looping voices over it. His partner A.G. was known as the Bronx's "punchline" rapper. Through the mid-'90s, he was a prolific producer, producing tracks for primarily underground rap acts. In 1999, A.G. restarted his rap career with his solo CD Dirty Version.
Meanwhile, another Bronx native named Buckwild, who once started out as Lord Finesse's apprentice in his production company, started producing tracks around 1994. He later delivered melodic beats for rap heavyweights like Fat Joe, Notorious B.I.G., Big L, Royal Flush, Mic Geronimo, and Big Pun. He also produced Black Rob's 2000 hit "Whoa!" reaching #43 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also gave him more exposure. But it was his first at-bat, producing tracks for O.C.'s Word Life in 1994, that established him as a vital producer in the underground rap scene. O.C., one of hip-hop's most energetic lyricists, was an up-and-coming MC before Word Life. After the album's release, he made numerous guest appearances on other D.I.T.C. members' records while maintaining a low profile.
The final member of D.I.T.C. was Big L, a rapper who is now widely regarded as one of the greatest Emcees of all time, particularly because of his uncanny ability to produce rap punchlines. Calling himself the flamboyant MC, he dropped his debut record, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous on Columbia in 1995. He was gearing up for a comeback, with a second CD due for release on Rawkus, when he was slain on February 15, 1999. The crew came together later that year for a memorial concert at Trammps in New York (anthologized by a series of CD releases), and recorded a self-titled group record in 2000.