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Dilated Peoples – The Platform

KU is proud to celebrate a powerful moment in hip-hop history, in which the underground found space amongst the mainstream.

20 plus years ago, Dilated Peoples dropped their first studio album, ‘The Platform’. The Los Angeles-based group was composed of legendary Beat Junkies member, DJ Babu, staple underground and prolific emcee, Evidence, and fellow Los Angeles-based rapper, Rakaa.

KU is proud to celebrate a powerful moment in hip-hop history, in which the underground found space amongst the mainstream.

20 plus years ago, Dilated Peoples dropped their first studio album, ‘The Platform’. The Los Angeles-based group was composed of legendary Beat Junkies member, DJ Babu, staple underground and prolific emcee, Evidence, and fellow Los Angeles-based rapper, Rakaa.

The crew formed in the early 90s, exploring their craft and dynamic for many years before making their imprint known and gaining the attention of Capitol Records, who’d eventually put out ‘The Platform’ in the year 2000.

Mainstream Hip Hop and specifically the greater Los Angeles area radio during those years was inundated with West Coast Gangster Rap. Dilated Peoples offered a different look for the genre, steering away from celebrating gun violence and misogyny. Stepping into the light with notes of positivity, boosting one another up, thought-out observations about social issues, and catharsis. All of the sudden a snippet of scratch culture and passionate rhymesayers entered the rap radio world.

The crew formed in the early 90s, exploring their craft and dynamic for many years before making their imprint known and gaining the attention of Capitol Records, who’d eventually put out ‘The Platform’ in the year 2000.

Mainstream Hip Hop and specifically the greater Los Angeles area radio during those years was inundated with West Coast Gangster Rap. Dilated Peoples offered a different look for the genre, steering away from celebrating gun violence and misogyny. Stepping into the light with notes of positivity, boosting one another up, thought-out observations about social issues, and catharsis. All of the sudden a snippet of scratch culture and passionate rhymesayers entered the rap radio world.

‘The Platform’, was an early introduction to associated acts like producer, The Alchemist, who produced a handful of tracks on the LP, and is notably one of the top producers in the game, currently working with some of the biggest names in the music zeitgeist.

KU is celebrating the influential group with a 45 repressing, of the title track from ‘The Platform’. The track hit #22 on the US rap charts in 2000, and #89 in the UK. “The Platform” was produced by the aforementioned, The Alchemist.

It was clear that Dilated Peoples were not chasing the trends of their peers at that time, making a statement with their underground nature, and not compromising the spirit of their expression. Finding ways to mix deep cuts such as Millie Jackson’s “I’m In Love Again” with 90’s underground hip-hop samples, provided a mystical element to tracks that could simultaneously feel so hard in their delivery. The group’s importance was monumental in exposing the masses to underground hip-hop culture and battle rap of that era. Its exposure influenced many artists to come and opened up more lanes for those already in that scene.

The energy of which Evidence and Rakaa spit on a track, captured the emotion as if you were watching them do it live on the mic, amidst a crowd of fans and peers surrounding them. Their rapping skills were technical and no part of it felt manufactured in a lab. Whatever you heard on the record, could be replicated in the live setting.

‘Annihilation’, the B side of the 45, has The Alchemist bringing the funk and groove into the production, while DJ Babu cuts into samples from The Roots, Brass Construction, and Alexander Review. The added combination of Evidence and Rakaa on the mic is a recipe for a smooth buttery cut that packs a punch.

The effect of the group on music as a whole would later be seen when they’d get nods from mainstream bands outside of the genre, such as Linkin Park, who featured Dilated Peoples on their 2002 ‘Reanimation’ album.

‘The Platform’, was an early introduction to associated acts like producer, The Alchemist, who produced a handful of tracks on the LP, and is notably one of the top producers in the game, currently working with some of the biggest names in the music zeitgeist.

KU is celebrating the influential group with a 45 repressing, of the title track from ‘The Platform’. The track hit #22 on the US rap charts in 2000, and #89 in the UK. “The Platform” was produced by the aforementioned, The Alchemist.

It was clear that Dilated Peoples were not chasing the trends of their peers at that time, making a statement with their underground nature, and not compromising the spirit of their expression. Finding ways to mix deep cuts such as Millie Jackson’s “I’m In Love Again” with 90’s underground hip-hop samples, provided a mystical element to tracks that could simultaneously feel so hard in their delivery. The group’s importance was monumental in exposing the masses to underground hip-hop culture and battle rap of that era. Its exposure influenced many artists to come and opened up more lanes for those already in that scene.

The energy of which Evidence and Rakaa spit on a track, captured the emotion as if you were watching them do it live on the mic, amidst a crowd of fans and peers surrounding them. Their rapping skills were technical and no part of it felt manufactured in a lab. Whatever you heard on the record, could be replicated in the live setting.

‘Annihilation’, the B side of the 45, has The Alchemist bringing the funk and groove into the production, while DJ Babu cuts into samples from The Roots, Brass Construction, and Alexander Review. The added combination of Evidence and Rakaa on the mic is a recipe for a smooth buttery cut that packs a punch.

The effect of the group on music as a whole would later be seen when they’d get nods from mainstream bands outside of the genre, such as Linkin Park, who featured Dilated Peoples on their 2002 ‘Reanimation’ album.

By Dan Cable – 01/12/2022

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