Since their formation in 1992, Los Angeles’ Dilated Peoples have occupied the role of an underdog. Across five albums and countless collaborations, they’ve been lauded by critics and fans despite never selling quite as many albums as their contemporaries. (Their peak came with 2004’s “This Way”, which hit #40 on the UK singles charts.)
Following 2006’s release of 20/20, the group left their longtime home at Capitol Records. Since then, DJ Babu, Evidence, and Rakaa Iriscience have each spent time exploring various solo projects and outside collaborations. Recently, though, they reunited, signed with Rhymesayers Entertainment, and began work on album No. 6. Their first such offering in nearly a decade, Directors of Photography, due out August 12th.
According to a press release, Dilated Peoples chose the album title to explain how they “see the world and each other”. Explained Evidence, “In film, the Director of Photography is the one who’s selecting the shots, framing it. The same thing with us. We might not be making the beat, but we’re selecting tracks that we want to use, doing the mix, talking with the producer. We’re very much the selectors of everything we do.”
DJ Babu said the album is “very full circle for us”, adding, “I think the statement we made this time around is that the three of us are still here standing making quality Hip Hop from our hearts. We never chased trends and we always stayed true to ourselves. Even with the changes in the music industry and the world, we still managed to stay cutting edge, classic and, in many ways, independent.”
As evidenced by lead single “Good As Gone”, the trio is definitely maintaining its old-school sound. From DJ Premier’s beat of turntable scratches and jarring piano samples to Rakaa’s lines like “Head first yelling maggot break, funkadelic art/Fear is a dark side fair-weather friends fly, Hitchcock”, the track is vintage West Coast alt-rap. Yet Dilated Peoples also prove that notions like artistic cohesion and a dynamic interplay are always timeless.
Watch the video below, which features the trio performing in desert art installation.
Directors of Photography Tracklist:
03. Cut My Teeth
04. Defari Interlude
05. The Dark Room feat. Vince Staples
06. Good As Gone
07. Show Me The Way feat. Aloe Blacc
08. Figure It Out (Melvins Theme)
09. Let Your Thoughts Fly Away
10. Century Of The Self feat. Catero
11. @mrevidence Interlude
12. The Reversal
13. Opinions May Vary feat. Gangrene
15. L.A. River Drive feat. Sick Jacken
16. The Bigger Picture feat. Krondon