Dilated Peoples

Monday, June 2

Given that hip-hop’s only been skulking around for a short time, it’s disheartening that so many of its practitioners don’t know—or don’t care about—its foundational elements. But the gang on hand tonight damn sure does. L.A.’s Dilated Peoples has always focused its eagle eyes on the three pillars of the culture—lyrics, production, and DJing. That may seem basic, I know, but when the airwaves are clogged with shit like Baghdad sewers, it’s sometimes tough to recall that you don’t need much to make good hip-hop music. As MC Evidence says over a battering-ram beat littered with DJ Babu’s precision scratching on “Back Again,” from ’06’s artistically clear-sighted 20/20, “Don’t worry if I write checks, I write rhymes.” That it’s a clever reversal of an old Diddy line alone makes it a winner in my tattered book, but its championing of the word over the dollar plants a tear tat by my eye.

Mon., June 2, 8 p.m., 2008

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