ABOVE: BEN DIAMOND. IMAGE COURTESY OF CLAYTON “LE PANDA” WOODLEY
How does a young rapper from the leafy English suburb of Tunbridge Wells curry the interest of one of Jay-Z’s secret weapons?
Through social media, naturally. In late 2012, rapper Ben Diamond turned to Facebook and Bandcamp to introduce his vibrant, soulful take on British hip-hop to, well, anyone who’d be keen to listen. Upon releasing his five-track EP under his old rap handle “BenAddict,” Diamond caught the attention of fellow UK rapper Dirty Dike, who in turn promoted Diamond’s music to his 11,000+ followers on Facebook.
“The internet is a crazy thing sometimes,” says 20-year-old Diamond. “I’d recorded a demo over a J. Dilla instrumental and a few people involved in the UK hip-hop community started sharing it on different websites; as soon as Dike shared it, there was an immediate buzz surrounding the track, and it all stemmed from there.”
Soon thereafter, producer Nicholas McCarrell, better known as “Aqua” and who served as a producer on Jay-Z’s Black Album, came across Diamond’s music through a friend who was searching Bandcamp for instrumentals to sample. That friend played Diamond’s EP to Aqua during a car ride, grabbing the producer’s interest.
“Aqua asked what the name was and looked it up the next day,” said Diamond. “Four weeks, later he flew me out to Los Angeles.”
It took them just 12 days to cut The Diamond LP, and we’re pleased to debut the video for Diamond’s “Someday,” from the album, above. The video finds Diamond doing what he does best: tripping around the city in constant, kinetic motion, coming across lots of street art and a couple of friends along the way; all while throwing down steady, fluid verses over a laid-back soul sample.
While Diamond is currently performing shows in the UK, he is hoping to return to the States for a summer tour—or a return trip to Los Angeles at the very least: “Waking up every day in the sun is something I could get used to.”
TO DOWNLOAD THE DIAMOND LP FOR FREE, PLEASE VISIT BEN DIAMOND’S BANDCAMP.