There’s no room for chance in the beats of Spectacular Diagnostics. Every movie dialogue, every loop, and every tiniest of sample serves a clear purpose. Layers of sound unfold a new world to explore, carefully put together like an archeologist excavating old records—a theme more literally hinted at with the title of his previous album, ‘Ancient Methods.’
On ‘Raw Lessons,’ that focused, detailed approach also shows in the rigorous selection of emcees the Chicago-based producer works with. The features are a snapshot of today’s supernova of an independent scene. From Wrecking Crew and Backwoodz affiliates Curly Castro and PremRock, to the distinct signatures of Fatboi Sharif and Bruiser Wolf. The UK is well represented with features by SonnyJim, King Kashmere, CLBRKS, Lee Scott & Bisk, and long-time collaborator Kid Acne. Two of the earliest Big Dada signees in the late-90s—Juice Aleem and Mike Ladd—close the album as two contemporaries who paved the way for much of the forward-thinking, free-form hip-hop of today on both sides of the pond.
“I was trying to get the same level of intense detail you had on some of the early Blackalicious projects like ‘Nia’ and ‘Blazing Arrow’,” says Spectacular Diagnostics about his approach. “Very connected and mapped out; overall building another world on this record. When I was in the middle of that, it was feeling a bit overwhelming. But now that I’ve been able to take a step back from all the work, I think ‘Raw Lessons’ is a very cool, dense, layered project. I’m really happy with how it all turned out.”