In the early 1990's gangster rap brought major attention to tons of West Coast artists. It received major criticism and was bashed for it's violent content. However, it made numerous artists household names and put an entire coast on the Hip-Hop map. With the all the attention that the West Coast received it's hard to believe that so many were left in the shadows. Well in the year 2000 it's their turn to come forth, and Dilated Peoples is the group that will lead the way for them. Dilated Peoples is composed of emcees Evidence and Iriscience (Rakaa) along with DJ Babu (of the world famous Beat Junkies). Dilated Peoples has come along way in the last couple of years. The release of the 12" single 'Work the Angles' brought them legions of fans. Now with Capitol Records releasing their debut full length LP, they are in position to infiltrate the mainstream Hip-Hop audience.
The album opens up with a simple intro that calls for all graffiti heads, emcees, b-boys (and b-girls) to get ready. It then moves into 'The Platform,' the albums title track. Produced by the Alchemist, this track is quick to show just what Dilated Peoples are about. Simple yet dope lyrics over an amazing beat with DJ Babu cutting it up on the wheels. Both Evidence and Iriscience set it off with excellent lines such as "Cause when I step off, then step back on / You'll never catch me preaching / What I'm not practicing
/ World War 2...platform the illest flows / I know my hunger's real I still get nauseous at shows." The track gets even hotter as Babu cut's up and closes it off. From there it pumps right into 'No Retreat' which features one of the West's best known emcees - the one and only B-Real of Cypress Hill. This track is a pretty simple battle joint, it does its job quite well and the appearance of B-Real only adds to it. Moving along you have joints like
'Right On' (ft. The Alkaholiks) which show the West Coast at full strength. You also have 'Service' which pays homage to Hip-Hop's backbone - the DJ. 'Service' uses the same sample as 7L & Esoteric's 'Def Rhymes,' and allows Babu and chance to totally represent for the Beat Junkies as he cut's it up and drops some amazing scratches. It however fails to show you just how amazing a good DJ is to see live.
At this point Dilated drops 'Ear Drums Pop,' my personal favorite cut comes in. Although it follows the same formula as many other tracks the beat and the emcees flows are just made to go together. As this joint moves along you can't help but to get taken in by the lyrics. Then before you know it the song comes to an end. 'Years in The Making' is the next joint and it helps to change the pace of the album. With this track Evidence breaks down the history of Dilated Peoples. He mentions everything from their old unreleased
album, to Babu joining the group. It's a quick Dilated Peoples history lesson for fans and for newcomers alike. 'Annihilation' (Platform's b-side) is next and goes back to the boasting battle rhyme formula. Fortunately for Evidence and the crew, this song represents shows just why they've built a large following. They don't have the most complex lyrics, but both their voices and styles flow very smoothly over the tracks. It may be repetitious, but I still can't turn myself away. For this point the conclusion of the LP is almost at hand, as you continue to get closer you have the classic 'Work the Angles.' I shouldn't even mention this track. The beat is amazing, the chorus is dope,
and by now you should know that Evidence and Iriscience can rip a track. If you're still unsure about Dilated Peoples you need to turn to this track. If you haven't heard it yet, and you don't love it after a few listens then Dilated Peoples' style is not for you. However, I can't image many heads being turned off by this track. As a closing bonus, we're given a remix of 'Ear Drums Pop,' although I like the original better this one does features some of my favorite emcees (Planet Asia) and works well as closing track.
With their first full-length album Dilated Peoples have put together an amazing product. Many heads will be turned off by the lack of variation in the topics of their rhymes, as the album is composed mostly of boasting and battle rhymes. It is however a formula that works very well for the group. Evidence and Iriscience are best when they rhyme one after another. That with the addition of DJ Babu's scratching is the sound that Dilated Peoples' fans have come to expect. If you're one of those people that this album will not