Dilated People – Directors of Photography – Album Review
With west coast Hip-Hop being dominated by Black Hippy this year, it’s nice to see some of the older guard coming back into the game! If you can believe it, Dilated has been around for 22 years! Amazingly, in that time they’ve only come out with 6 official albums. Their work tends to be intermittent only because they slowly build albums. Well, that and Evidence and Babu stay pretty busy touring and whatnot! I got turned on by Dilated People’s through listening to Babu and Alchemist heavily in the 90’s! It wasn’t until in the 2000’s that I realized Evidence produced a lot of Dilated albums. I gave mad respect to Evidence after that!
Speaking of which, the production on this album is nuts! You’ve got Alchemist, Babu, Evidence, DJ Premier, Diamond D, 9th Wonder, Oh No, and Jake One! You want to talk about an all-star cast of producers! DAMN! With that said, let’s get into this album.
1) Intro – No need to get into this track. Just introduction…
2) Directors – Man, right off the bat you can tell what this is going to be like! This is the reason why you like Evidence. The dude can produce a dope track. That piano and marching snare is dope! But Babu is the ultimate on this track. He just is so dope the way he scratches! Evidence and Rakaa Irisscience hold their own. Although they haven’t switched up their flow throughout the years, you’ve got to admire that in Dilated. It’s old school style Hip-Hop at it’s finest. The hook is nice, but again, you know the hook is always going to be nice when you have Babu cutting!
3) Cut My Teeth – This beat is grimy! What do you expect though, it’s Alchemist! And he’s so good at what he does. The hook isn’t that amazing, but again Babu in the background is nuts with it. This is one of those reminisce type of tracks. Evidence seems to be growing as an emcee, but it’s really what he does with his voice and delivery that really stands out. And when can you say about Rakka! The dude still has natural emceeing ability! Even though he has only one solo album to his name, think how many times you’ve heard him featured on other artists album.
4) Defari Interlude– Man, again it always amazes me that Evidence produces! He’s such a slept on producer. Of course, when you run with top notch producers, it’s bound to rub off. That’s the case with Evidence both in the booth and behind the scenes. This is definitely a freestyle track and there’s not much to it. It’s grimy though with that sped up sample. Too short though, but that’s why they call it an interlude.
5) The Dark Room (featuring Vince Staples) – Damn man, Evidence is really HUNGRY on this track. Check this:
I didn’t slur shit I just kept quiet and made a note of it
Before the poetry is out the fire and I’m over it
Retire notably and every moves a curtain call
Smooth with the groove, so honey don’t take it personal
I first heard Vince Staples on 50 Cents Animal Instinct album! He’s holding it down! I really think that this dude is on the come up!
6) Good As Gone – Man, Premier is just so crazy! Premier is one of the few beat makers that can chop a sample and use it like he does. He truly is the chopped sound effect beat maker artist and it’s so street gutter sounding! And man, Babu is so NUTS the way he’s scratching. I will say this though, Evidence and Rakka aren’t really doing anything amazing on the hook. But again, you don’t need to do much when you have Babu in the background!
7) Show Me the Way (featuring Aloe Blacc) – Wow! Jake One is one of my favorite producers! And this track completely validates that for me. He makes it sound so easy, but believe me what he’s doing is not. And Aloe Blacc is perfect for the hook! I always like listening to some Aloe Blacc, and it’s great to hear him on this type of track! I know this is one of their singles and it’s definitely understandable!
8) Figure It Out (Melvins Theme) – DAMN! Babu, this isn’t fair. I mean, you make a whole beat just to scratch on. But why not, you’re just too good! And I could listen to you all day scratch. DOPE! Definitely don’t miss this. Although Evidence and Rakka spit, they’re just basically giving mad props to Babu scratching! It’s nice to know their giving props to Babu and also homage to where the beginnings of Hip-Hop came from.
9) Let Your Thoughts Fly Away – Diamond D! Man, you still got it! Love the beat, it’s just a perfect mix of smooth rhythms mixed with a little bit of Jazz. Those guitars are just ridiculous on the hook! Good effort by Rakka and Evidence, but it’s not their best.
10) Century of the Self – Oh No is still one of the most slept on producers and beat makers! But, if your brother is Madlib, it’s hard to follow in a genius’s footsteps. But you know what, I would say that Oh No is just as good as Madlib! Genius runs in the family, and it’s apparent on this track! You wanna hear a completely different track, listen to this one! Props to Oh No for keeping it original! I mean, I’ve never heard something quite like this before. Those drums are just so grimy, but the real gem is that sample! DAMN! I’ve got to hand it to Oh No, he digs deep for his samples! That piano sample in the background! The way it just lags behind is NUTS too! This is probably the best produced track on this album!
11) @mreevidence Interlude – Funny and true!
12) The Reversal – Man, Babu is so good! A DJ that makes a beat as well as he scratches is a rare thing to find! That sample is so nice! Evidence is nice, but again, the production trumps the lyricism throughout the album.
13) Opinions May Vary – (featuring Gangrene) – DOPE! Man, Gangrene just lays into the flow on this. And, Rakka is coming with some of his best stuff:
Existentialist in my temple
I shift the world with exasketch
force to sketch a masterpiece with a pencil
And the delivery is crazy! His whole verse is nuts! I think Rakka got Evidence and Gangrene on this one!
14) Trouble – Evidence and Babu are the perfect pair! This whole album is heavily soulful and they love using piano samples! This is a perfect example. The hook is definitely worth paying extra attention to. They completely flip the sample and it makes for a unique idea on a hook!
15) L.A. River Drive – (featuring Sick Jacken) – I’m not overly impressed by this Alchemist produced joint. The sample isn’t really amazing and the way Alchemist flips it isn’t anything special. The rhymes are also not that impressive. This is probably the worst track on the album in my opinion. I know that Sick Jacken is a part of Psycho Realm. Their claim to fame came from the fact that B-Real saw them at a concert and inspired him to join the group! The problem with this track is that when it’s the worst on the track, Sick Jacken kind of gets lost in the mix. Not to say he’s not a good emcee, this is just not the best track for him.
16) The Bigger Picture – This is a nice track produced by 9th Wonder. As much as I like 9th Wonder, this track isn’t one of my favorites from him in recent memory. I like the concept though and Babu always comes through on the scratching. Nice track, but nothing amazing.
So, that’s the album! I’ve got to hand it to Dilated, there always coming through with some great Hip-Hop! Even if it’s considered “old school” to some peoples standards, I don’t really care. I grew up listening to old school and I still think there’s plenty of relevance to keeping it that way. This album will probably go over most of the teenage crowd unfortunately. This album is for the Hip-Hop head that appreciates production, DJing, and emceeing.
I give this 4.5/5!