Dilated Peoples Are Directing the Show - OZY | A Modern Media Company

Dilated Peoples Are Directing the Show

Dilated Peoples Are Directing the Show

By Jasmina Cuevas


Since Dilated Peoples’ last album, hip-hop has taken a vapid turn. Now they’re back — and they’re exactly what we’ve been missing. 

By Jasmina Cuevas

Eight years have gone by since the L.A. hip-hop group Dilated Peoples put out an album, 20/20. In that time, hip-hop has evolved into an insular entity, separate from other sounds. New albums often sound like they came off an assembly line: the same thing over and over again.

Not Dilated Peoples.

But just because hip-hop has changed doesn’t mean Dilated Peoples has. The group’s new album shows they have grown, but their vibe hasn’t missed a step. It’s dark yet uplifting, poetic, political, heavy on the samples and real to the world. And that is exactly why Dilated Peoples newest album, Directors of Photography, is going to shine bright against the rest.

Directors of Photography is the perfect album to break our hip-hop factory trance.

The trio behind Dilated Peoples — Evidence, DJ Babu and Rakaa Iriscience — are Angelenos, but they’ve been mostly underground in the States, bigger in the U.K. (One exception: “This Way,” featuring Kanye West, which saturated the U.S. airwaves in 2004.) Their debut release, The Platform (2000) broke through fast, and over the next six years, they released three more albums and built up a fervid (if niche) following. Then they took on separate ventures, though they insist the band didn’t break up.


A decade after “This Way,” Dilated Peoples returns to give listeners a refresher on hip-hop. Their fifth studio album and first album under the label Rhymesayers came out Tuesday, and the underground-music press has swooned. (“Back for the right reasons,” pronounced L.A. Weekly.) The lead track, “Good As Gone,” cut by DJ Babu, has that vintage hip-hop sound and a steady flow of strong lyrics.

“Devise a plan and then I execute it till I’m undisputed / If the record never stated it, I’ve been showing most improvement,” rhymes Evidence. He co-directed the single’s video, too. It features some heavy artistry and showcases their involvement in art, graffiti and photography.

Dilated Peoples create music that is difficult to come by in hip-hop, and Directors of Photography is the perfect album to break our hip-hop factory trance. Time for the hip-hop revolution, people.


Good As Gone



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