As hip-hop culture (DJing, MCing, b-boying, graffiti art and beatboxing) evolved in the late 1970s and early 1980s, two things were hallmarks of the movement: DJing and lyrical excellence. In the last several years, no rap group has done more to champion those elements than Dilated Peoples. The Los Angeles-based trio of Rakaa, Evidence and DJ Babu inject their music with humor, insight and social commentary, and DJ Babus cuts add an additional layer of excitement and complexity to the groups material.
The trios first three albums -- 2000s The Platform, 2001s Expansion Team and 2004s Neighborhood Watch -- are hailed as exemplary examples of quality hip-hop. So after enjoying the biggest radio and television exposure of its career with the 2004 hit This Way, produced by and featuring Kanye West, Dilated Peoples wanted to make a point that they had a clear vision for their music, hence the 20/20 title for their new album.
Were one of the groups responsible for helping correct one of the most serious rap wrongs, which is the DJ being regulated to a stage prop, Rakaa says. We make sure that Babu is up there with us and gets the equal shine because the DJ is the backbone of the culture and hes the backbone of our group, too.
Once signed to Capitol Records, Dilated Peoples built upon their momentum by delivering stellar hip-hop music, including the meditative Worst Comes To Worst from 2001s Expansion Team and the inspirational This Way from 2004s Neighborhood Watch. Cognizant that their music should stand the test of time as individual songs as well as when put together for an album, Dilated Peoples returned to their roots to make 20/20, their most focused work to date.
20/20, the whole album was made on a 12 mentality, Evidence says. We werent worried about the whole album, how it was going to connect and if we had two love songs and one party song. We just banged it out. We put the record together two or three days before the end of it. We didnt sit and ride with it. We had it and knew where we were going, but it was more about the individual tunes. There was no questioning ourselves. It was just about making music.