There was a time when Dilated Peoples seemed unstoppable. Combining Iriscience the ardent au courant, Evidence the unflappable scientist and Babu fresh from battle they had all bases covered and worked every angle. They were dope on wax, live on stage and generally looked just about the ultimate Hip Hop unit.
There was also a time when every release was a sure shot belter. Records like Global Dynamics, Third Degree, Work the Angles and Triple Optics stood out then and still stand up today. Their debut LP ‘The Platform’ was a definitive indy milestone and they managed a strong follow up with the sick ‘Expansion Team’ set.
Since then, however, their momentum appears to have petered out. After the surprise popularity of ‘Worst Comes to Worst’ they stepped out of their lane momentarily with the minor crossover – and in my opinion rather gay – Kanye collab ‘This Way’ and seemed to lose focus. The production has been thinned down, synthed up and most crucially, stripped of the consistency that made their names. The last two LP’s have been lacklustre and despite a few killer moments Evidence continued the trend with the ironically dreary ‘Weatherman’ solo LP.
It comes as no big surprise then that new 12” ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ doesn’t do the business. What is surprising is that the title track is produced by (usually reliable) Justice Leaguer Krysis.
B side ‘The Layover’ is better – a twisted helping of abstract, snail pace Hip Hop explicating the jet setting lifestyle. Luckily it’s more about Evidence’s global appeal than a literal ode to sitting around departure lounges, checking in man bags and generally getting your duty free on. The beat is hi-tech but light weight and despite the good cuts it never really gets going. If only Ev hadn’t set that bar so high in the first place.
By: Max Weldon