Hip-hop hasn't witnessed an assemblage of talent like the Diggin' in the Crates crew since the Shaolin invasion (Wu-Tang Clan). This eight-man conglomerate contains some of New York's biggest underground luminaries (O.C., A.G., Big L, Fat Joe, Showbiz, Lord Finesse, and Buckwild). This unit's talent pool runs so deep that finding time for each artist proves to be troublesome, as Fat Joe and Buckwild (one production credit) seem to be the odd men out here. If anything, this project reiterates what a tragic loss Big L was to the hip-hop community, as he establishes dominance on every track he appears on. Most notable was the flamboyant MC's solo cut "Ebonics," an essential street-lingo dictionary for those who are still slang-handicapped. While "Day One" is the group's most cohesive team effort, their collaborations are often overshadowed by individual contributions: A.G.'s "Weekend Nights" and O.C.'s "Champagne Thoughts." While D.I.T.C.'s in-house producers handle things admirably, the LP's best production comes courtesy of honorary member DJ Premier on "Thick." D.I.T.C. pays homage to Big L on the heartfelt "Tribute," but now the crew is forced to deal with another loss to their family, Big Pun, whose two appearances only add to the LP's somber ambience. While D.I.T.C.'s debut has been highly anticipated, it has also been oft-delayed, and some of the tracks included here have been widely accessible for quite some time. All of which makes one wonder if the delays may have contributed to the Dignified Soldiers missing their window of opportunity.
AllMusic Review by Matt Conaway