A Chocolate Industries' ambitious '02 hip-hop compilation Urban Renewal Program included major-motion-picture Mos Def, indie-flicks El-P and Aesop Rock, and foreign-film Miho Hatori (formerly of Cibbo Matto), amongst a credited cast of others. "Wylin' Out," the album's first 12-inch single, featured Mos Def alongside the Windy City's new son, Diverse, both spitting to a patchwork production piece by Prefuse 73. Diverse would show up in the liner notes again a year later on Prefuse's opus, One Word Extinguisher, vocalizing distaste for pop-star prefabs on "Plastic."
With the sliding glass door into the house of indie hip-hop open, Diverse gathered an elite production team of Prefuse, RJD2 and Madlib for his inaugural ball of wax. With such superfriends, a legitimate newbie was also legitimate-by-association. Released in January, Diverse's One A.M. is a Windy City wake-up call, rousing sleepyheads like a tambourine played to the pitter-patter percussion on the window panes of Chi-Town.
To wit: the moniker Diverse certainly reflects his ability to adapt to the trio's emotive production. He maintains both reason and rhyme, and doesn't allow the poetic aspect of emceeing to be hindered by singsong tangents. In a world where subjectivity runs rampant on objectivity, the elusive goal of the songwriter is to be tangible as can be, and Diverse is candid with the appropriate tone, detail-oriented and universal to boot.
Chocolate Industries knows there's one sure-fire way to differentiate "artist" and "product" to an ADHD audience: vinyl. Keeping an artist in the psyche of any demographic is an art unto itself-one that Chocolate mastered by strategically dispersing One A.M. 12-inches b/w previously unreleased tracks (e.g., "Big Game" b/w "Die Slow" and "Jus Biz" b/w "Beyond Beyond"). The tact has made Diverse collectible out of the gates; even more important, it's kept him on the vinyl new release rack. Catering to the DJ like a Fat Jack album, the instrumental version of One A.M. is even available on two long-players.
The transition from boom box to stage too often dilutes the message and/or energy. However, Diverse is an innately entertaining and spontaneous b-boy, and that translates into a dynamic experience for red-eyed crate diggers. He moves the crowd literally and figuratively, figuring a fine-tuned literacy into fine tunes. BDiverse plays with Lifesavas and X-Clan Mil Cypher feat. Brother J at the Casbah, 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 5. $10. 619-232-HELL.