What has always impressed me about Dilated Peoples is their impeccable
choice of production. Who could forget the incredible “Worst Comes to
Worst” or heartfelt “Pay Attention” that gave so much life and feeling
to the not-so-stellar mic presence of Evidence and Rakaa? Sadly, this
trend does not continue on their fourth major release, 20/20.
The disc begins with great potential and promise. “Back Again”, a
typical but enjoyable welcome-us-back to the rap scene track, and “You
Can’t Hide You Can’t Run”, a live for the day anthem with solid
production and a cleverly used vocal sample in the hook, lead the
listener to believe that Dilated has returned to form after their sub-
par third album. From this point on, however, most of the tracks are
blandly produced and unimpressive both lyrically and conceptually.
It is frustrating to hear a group that normally creates cohesive and
conceptually interesting tracks about a variety of subjects take the
easy route and settle for spitting straight-forward battle rhymes
throughout the majority of the album. Tracks like “Olde English”
and “Another Sound Mission” are not worth more than one listen.
Still, there are some good moments to go with the bad. The Talib Kweli
assisted “Kindness for Weakness” boasts some the best production on
the album and features a nice verse by each rapper. “The Eyes Have It”
takes the live for the day concept of the aforementioned “You Can’t
Hide” a step further.
One last aspect of the album that deserves mentioning is the continued
excellence of DJ Babu. With his vocal scratches he
brings to each song a classic hip-hop integrity that is sorely missed
in many of today’s releases. Unfortunately it is not enough to save