Putting together the ultimate compilation project is tricky. There has to be a sharp mix of consistency and variety, the right emcees on the right tracks, and a strong dose of fearless production. Enter D-Imports Vol. 2 by djkage; one of the most ambitious projects of its kind. D-Imports features 33 artists, 25 tracks, and goes from boom-bap to trap to back-pack and back again. In an era where most projects cater to certain crowds, D-Imports is all things to all people.
The album starts off with “Song of Victory,” which is the most well composed track on the album. The song has an ill trumpet loop as Valid’s opening verse is a banger. Ron D and Negus Arubis hold down the middle and Mic Phelps finishes it off with a high speed flow reminiscent of Jay-Z before he got a record deal. “I Do This” is a perfect 808 type bounce song that features Ron D, Summertime Cabo, Negus Arubis. “Bang Out” is so grimy and raw that it could be the next motor city anthem and “Show Me” has to be the only hip-hop song to sample Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia.” “Power,” “Murderer,” and “Right Now” have the perfect trap appeal while jazzy joints like “Peace Zone” and “4U” are straight head nodders. King Woodz rips the shit out the guitar and blues driven “My Night” and “Blake Harrington” gives us a whole new metaphor for chasing paper (yes; think Dynasty’s Black Carrington, and its dope). djkage’s production powers are profound. While obviously he understands how to make different kinds of hip-hop; his creativity is more on display when implementing jazz samples, guitar loops, and more of a boom bap type sound.
The album closes perfectly with “Hello Detroit.” It’s a soul food stir fry cooked over the Sammy Davis Jr. hit of the same name that samples a bit of Motown oldies, hip-hop, and Detroit tech. Overall the variety of this project is what makes it a game changer. Detroit’s hip-hop scene is rich in stories of hating and beefs but djkage has managed to merge 33 voices to the perfect pitch.
Kahn Santori Davison is from Detroit, Michigan. He's a husband and father of four and a self-described, "Kid who loves rap music." He's been featured on Hip-Hop Evolution and Hip-Hop Uncovered. He's also a Cave Canem fellow, author of the poetry book Blaze (Willow Books), a recipient of a 2015 Kresge Literary...