Dilated Peoples Amaze With Sophomore Album

Sometimes one gets tired of the same old rhymes about cash money, blunts and “ho’s” (sorry, Ludacris), and they want to find a fresher sound than can be found in mainstream rap circles.

Where can they turn to? Rock and roll has indie, country has alterna-country, where can the rap lovers of the world turn to find fresh new faces and “block-rocking” beats?

Well, for starters they can turn to the genre of underground rap. Here, bright stars like Outkast and De La Soul can make names for themselves before being turned out to the MTV/BET-driven world of glamour and lesser known bands like the Jurassic 5 and Quasimoto can continue the traditions of old school beats and rhyming.

Another of the former underground rap groups that is rising through the ranks is the trio of Evidence, DJ Babu and Rakaa (a.k.a. Iriscience), also known as the Dilated Peoples.

Following up on their debut, “The Platform,” which many said had the potential to be album of the year, the beat-master lyricists have one-upped themselves with the release of their latest, “Expan-sion Team.”

Quick to label them-selves as, “A hip-hop group, not a rap-pop group,” Evidence and Rakaa pull no punches with their intelligent lyrics over Babu’s stylish, at times epic, turntable work.

The raps are tight, with nary a wasted silent space over the beats for the entire 16 track album. As the two MCs battle it out for lyrical supre-mecy, Babu works the record tables in a way that almost makes you pine for the days when com-puters and DAT samplers weren’t everyday commonplace in the world of rap production.

Listening to the lyrics, one begins to see that the Dilated Peoples aren’t so much concerned with presenting their egos through their songs, but rather their philosophies and views of the world around them. For more proof of this, simply take a listen to the sophisticated “Worst Comes to Worst,” produced by long-time DP collaborator Alchemist, and also the best song on the album.

Other standout tracks include the opener, “Live on Stage,” filled with funky under-rhythms and horns and “Clock Work,” which features some of the best lyric work by Evidence and Rakaa.

As with in the past when they’ve done work with Tha Alkaholics and Kool Keith, Dilated Peoples once again turn to some of their fellow rappers for assistance on this album, which features cameos by Guru, Likwit Crew and the Crescent Heights Barbershop MCs, fellow beat-poets from the group’s home of Los Angeles, and Black Thought of the Roots.

With the release of “Expansion Team,” the Dilated Peoples prove that they have a staying power in the rap community as well as in CD players around the globe.