various artists :: Cam'Ron Presents DukeDaGod - DipSet: The Movement Moves On :: Diplomat/Asylum Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Some mental health experts say that if you see a violent act enough times you become desensitized to the sight of that violent act. This explanation is often bandied about when blaming PlayStation games or rap videos for inspiring acts of violence among the young, although pinpointing them as causal is ultimately futile when so many young people grow up in violent neighborhoods to begin with. Furthermore there's no shortage of violence on the nightly news, when people die in Iraq and Israel every day from gunfire or IED's (improvised explosive devices) and acts of terrorism happen all around the world. Horror movies try to one up the ante by finding things to show that will cause genuine terror, but face a never ending battle of one-upsmanship over what their own macabre films have done let alone the grim realities of real life. Unless you live under a rock or grow up in an incredibly sheltered world, becoming desensitized to violence is not only natural but a healthy response to a world full of bullshit.

I've become desensitized to the amount of guns and drugs in hip-hop to the point where nothing the DipSet says on an album can really shock or impress me any more. That's not the only desensitization that's taken place though. I used to be offended that The Diplomats could release albums filled with mediocre lyrics full of gangster rap cliches and be so successful pushing bullshit music, but it really doesn't bother me any more. In the same manner one can become desensitized to violence simply by being exposed to so much of it, DipSet has so many artists and projects that produce so many albums I've been numbed to the experience as a whole. The same thing happened at No Limit's peak - they seemingly had one new album a week and eventually they all just sounded the same. The same beats, the same hooks, the same topics. Can I name one memorable thing about a Fiend or Mr. Serv-On album from that era? Sorry, I can't. That doesn't mean they were bad rappers or that they even released bad albums, but it's hard to make an impression that lasts longer than a month at a time when your label is already pushing the next project. Without the incredible charisma of a Mystikal or the gimmicks of a Master P, you just get lost in the shuffle, as the listeners are desensitized to the music and it all starts to sound the same. DipSet's roster has become the same for me - half of them rap like Cam, and the other half of them aren't half as good as Cam. By sheer volume of releases though they've broken my will. I can't hate DipSet any more, I just pick it up and say "Oh - another album. Guess I should review it."

Over the years a couple members of the crew have actually made an impression on me. Jim Jones has garnered a reputation as one of the crew's most thugged out members, having a vocal tone that's distinctive even if his raps aren't always up to par. You won't find a lot of him on "The Movement Moves On" though. He splits the billing on "Frustrated" with Max B and 40 Cal, and that's his sole appearance. Juelz Santana has also stood out as a diamond in the rough who is probably a much better rapper than Cam but hasn't achieved his level of fame and notoriety for whatever reason. Sadly Santana doesn't get much spotlight on this new DipSet mixtape either, as his one and only track on the CD is the short "Losin My Love":

"Okay people welcome me back
It's been a hell of a year but I'm healthy and back
Long time no see HA
Where I been where I be HA, in the street HA
Now I'm back to ride this horsey like YEE-HAW!
Yee-haw, ee-haw, giddy up now
To the sound of the touchdown - AYYY
I just scored a touchdown - YAYY!
And I sit in a daze y'all
Twistin the haze y'all
I don't listen to rap I listen to Dre
I listen to 'Hey Ya'"

The gist of the song is that Juelz doesn't feel a passion and love for hip-hop any more. Considering he's probably the only reason I could even get excited about this crew, that's not good news. A lot of people have cited both JR Writer and 40 Cal as the next major stars to come out of the collective, but I'm rather blah on their efforts, particularly on this new CD. Again I can't be motivated enough to hate any of it - the beats are tolerable, perhaps somewhat above average on 40 Cal tracks like "Worried," but I can't say anything he says on the song will stick with me a month later, let alone years from now in the future.

"I gotta watch who wit me, watch who pretty
Drop two-fitty on a hot new Bentley
But when it come to drops say he cop too many like, damn
(You will be wonderin what are we gonna do now)
Down with wonderful Cal. {they make Hummers in brown?}
Nah I just shitted on you, even haters lovin my style
I'm a role model, I make the hustlers proud
I make the customers smile
(You will be wonderin what are we gonna do now)"

A large portion of this album is dominated by Cam'Ron himself, which seems a little odd considering his "Killa Season" album is ready to hit stores any day now and already has spurned two underground singles. Why would you expose yourself further on a mixtape and potentially water down the hunger of your fanbase for your new shit by doing full length songs on a mixtape like "Y'All Can't Live His Life" and "White Girls?" He also has a whole lot of tracks co-credited to Hell Rell, including the combustible "War" where Rell admittedly steals the show, and the two tracks that follow "I'm Laughin" and the "It's Nothin (Remix)." If Cam is really trying to make the DipSet the next generation of hip-hop stars, he needs to stop focusing on himself so hard when his own shit is about to hit. Give Rell and Juelz and the likes the mic and let them do their own shit, for better or worse. In the end I suppose it's a good thing I don't hate the DipSet any more, but in the end this is just one more CD that neither succeeds spectacularly or fails miserably. Hopefully the next solo release does one or the other. Either way would be memorable but if you've heard all their albums then this one's entirely forgettable.

Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10

Originally posted: April 18, 2006