Listen up Temple hip-hop lovers: Dilated Peoples’ new album is dropping and bringing with it positive messages and make-you-move beats. The new LP, aptly titled 20/20, is set to grace the speakers of the Theater of Living Arts on March 19. The performance will introduce Dilated Peoples’ new vision to Philadelphia’s hip-hop scene, with underground rap group Lil Brother scheduled to open the highly anticipated show.
Comprised of Rakaa, Evidence and DJ Babu, Dilated Peoples’ star has been on the rise since the release of their successful underground debut, The Platform, released in 2000. Hailing from Los Angeles, Dilated Peoples is famous for their West Coast beats style, kill-’em-with-it lyrical prowess and social and political commentary.
“We really wanted to make a statement with this album,” said Rakaa, whos is considered the most outspoken member of the group. “It’s all about 20/20 vision … it’s about what state the streets are in and so we speak on it to let others know.”
Rakaa is excited about the album, made clear with his rising tones and the “Yeah man!” that came after almost every question asked during a recent phone interview. He and his team have very high expectations for 20/20, but Rakaa realizes that being an underground hip-hop group means less mainstream exposure. After all, not everybody can garner the attention of the hip-hop world like 50 Cent or Jay-Z. Rakaa remains unfazed by the added misconceptions of the commercial success of the group.
“We can’t force people to listen to us so we must speak through our songs,” he said. “The right image begets the right vision … we try to be thinkers, not followers.”
So just what inspired Dilated Peoples to get involved in the ever changing world of hip-hop? Rakaa lists famous acts such as LL Cool J, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, the infamous KRS-One, the controversial Public Enemy, and the early music of NWA.
“One of our biggest supporters has been B-Real of Cypress Hill. Many artists have been a part of the freestyle movement, like the Alkaholics (Liquid Crew),” Rakaa said, referring to the underground movement that has brought many lesser known artists into the limelight.
“People don’t have to know us well to pay attention to what we say lyrically,” he said. “We are a true representation of what hip-hop is.”
The album’s sixth track is, “Kindness for Weakness,” featuring Talib Kweli. It is a true experience of the aggressiveness of this group’s raw talent and soul-lifting punch lines.
Catch a glimpse of this talented group rockin’ the microphone at one of Philly’s most famed stages.
“I love Philly,” Rakaa said. “I can’t wait to play the TLA and you can find me on any given day in Ishkabibble’s downing a chicken cheesesteak!”
Suhailah White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.