Hailing from Zone 18 East Baltimore, songwriter and lyricist, Diablo Flamez set the city of Baltimore on fire a few years ago with his single “Jail Flick”. The song became the lead single to the Nonesuch/Warner Music Group release The Wire and all the pieces that matter, the official soundtrack to HBO’s groundbreaking show The Wire. Darkroom Productions discovered Diablo Flamez some time ago and have been his production home ever since. After a ton of hard work and multiple promo singles Diablo, nw the label’s lead artist, has just released his debut LP “Duct Tape & Coffee Grounds”. The first official single & video for the project is the hood anthem “Titanic”.
Despite the incredible creativity of hip-hop, its ability to throw up new styles, to morph and reinvent itself, it’s not every day that something genuinely fresh drops in front of you. Welcome, then, to “Duct Tape & Coffee Grounds” the debut album from Diablo Flamez. Drawing on the music of his hometown, Baltimore, Diablo makes something genuinely unlike most hiphop records you’ve heard before. Of course there are antecedents, but Diablo Flamez has managed to reconfigure the musical landscape around him by being catchy, clever, fearless and most of all, innovative while remaining deeply entrenched in the hood with his sound.
The album features Royce Rizzy, Jelly Roll, Lil Mook and Supa Blanco, with production being handled by Manny Man, Rizzy Beats, and the award winning Darkroom. I’ve never been one of those people who likes to divide artists into stupid categories the media usually places them in – pop-rap, gangsta, hardcore, East coast, whatever. If it’s good music, it’s good music and that’s all that matters to me. “Duct Tape & Coffee Grounds” is damn good music. Period!
All the beats are excellent and they cover a lot of ground – from the stripped-down drum-and-clap beat of “Come Outside” to the synth-laced “Same Way” or the eclectic guitar groove of “It’s Your Turn”, all are winners! Obviously the star of the show is the hood anthem “Titanic”, produced by Manny Man & Darkroom, whose knack for making decent rappers sound good and good rappers sound great is more than evident throughout the album.
But make no mistake none of this would work without a great rapper on the mic. Grinding, simple, raw and tight, Diablo Flamez tears up each of the eleven tracks, plus the bonus one – “What You Think” – with a mix of pervasive braggadocio and tempered humility, showing that he can flow!
“Duct Tape & Coffee Grounds” is the upper echelon of street hip-hop music, featuring great production and hardcore raps. Diablo Flamez comes out from the intro, “Motion Picture”, and just starts spitting rhymes without talking any bullshit. This can be listened to, front to back without skipping any tracks!