Saturday, December 27, 2008 | Posted in ,,,,,,

Diverse is a rapper you think you've heard before--not because this Chicago MC sounds similar to others, but because his presence is so powerful it seems impossible that this is only his first album. Intelligent without being arrogant, conscious without being corny, Diverse also boasts two of the greatest assets any MC could ask for: an authoritative baritone and a confident flow. These help him keep up with some of the more seasoned rappers who appear on the album, including Vast Aire (formerly of Cannibal Ox), Lyrics Born, and Jean Grae. Complementing Diverse's superior lyricism is top-notch production courtesy of a holy trinity of underground favorites: Prefuse 73, Madlib, and RJD2. They push the album from raucously energetic to sinisterly moody to laid-back cool. At a mere 11 songs plus one skit, Diverse's debut accomplishes an unlikely feat in these days of overblown hype and rampaging ego: he leaves you wanting more.

01. Certified (Produced By RJD2)
02. Uprock (Produced By RJD2)
03. Big Game ft. Vast Aire (Produced By RJD2)
04. Ain't Right (Produced By Madlib)
05. Jus Biz (Produced By Prefuse 73)
06. Blindman (Produced By K. Kruz)
07. Explosive ft. Lyrics Born (Produced By RJD2)
08. Under The Hammer ft. Jean Grae (Produced By RJD2)
09. 747 (Flyin) (Produced By Overflo)
10. Interlude (Amberglis) (Produced By Prefuse 73)
11. Leaving (Produced By Prefuse 73)
12. In Accordance (Recorded live in collaboration with Jeff Parker of Tortoise and Ray Mazurek and Ted Sirota of Rebel Souls)