Dilated Peoples
Neighborhood Watch


3.0
good

Review

by Deviant STAFF
December 30th, 2009 | 43 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Off the back of two near-classic albums, and a three year hiatus, Dilated returns with something new...and very different.

In the underground hip hop scene Dilated Peoples remains one of its biggest players. Not one to stay within the trappings of most commercial hip hop artists Dilated People employ a much more street conscious angle to their words and actions. Not content to rag on the usual topics, the boys seem much more at home speaking on such broad and varied topics as meditation, street community awareness and the government’s decision to go to war with their own people. Toiling away for numerous years the group caught a lucky break and were able to release their first record The Platform, to critical acclaim. Hot on the heels of that success they issued their 2nd L.P less than a year later. Expansion Team, while not changing anything to their winning formula, sought to throw a slightly more commercial element to their beats. The result of this accommodation in their music sought to push their video for the album’s only single, Worst Comes to Worst, into heavy rotation. Domination of the hip hop charts seemed easily within their reach and members Rakaa (Iriscience), Evidence (Ev, Mr. Slow Flow & The Weatherman) and DJ Babu were hailed as hero’s in their local scene. 3 years would pass before the group would re-emerge to make their claim for the top. Instead of that one extra step needed to take the hip hop world by storm the band opted instead for a country mile wide leap to the side, much to the chagrin of all who had patiently waited.

The album kicks off in a triumphant fashion with Marathon, with Ev and Rakaa spitting a decent flow over a typical laid back beat that’ll see you tapping your feet at the very least. While not being the most solid of efforts, for good or worse it sets up the album perfectly. Babu continues everything rolling into the next cut, the title track. Featuring an almost sleazy jazzy big beat-esque sound to it the two tell a commentary on the degradation and corruption in the neighborhoods of their youth, complete with a chorus warning to watch the cops just as much as the criminals. While Ev does nothing to lose the title of Slow Flow on this track he does drop some rather inspired lyrics, such as:

Protect your own, protect your home
Respect the hustle and set the tone
Entertain but drop gems mostly
Like, don’t covet your neighbor but watch him closely

Then, things go a bit pear shaped. Whether or not Kanye’s guest spot on this album (still to come) had any influence on the next track Tryin’ To Breathe is debatable, but whoever came up with the idea that DP should try and write a catchy r’n’b tune complete with pop sensibilities was sorely lacking in the imagination department. Featuring cringe inducing lyrics and an even more soul shivering chorus the song not only screams out “filler” but serves no other purpose than to wear out skip button. Sadly, we’re not done with this nonsense. The next few tracks reaffirm the undeniable fact that the group were trying too hard to get themselves air play, somewhat of a tragedy given the gems these boys can drop when their efforts remain focused on not attempting something as trivial as that, given their huge and loyal fan base.

Bouncing around to the 2nd half of the album, we’re treated to more of a solidified effort in the form of Big Business. Containing one of their most commercial beats yet (put to good use here however); Rakaa presents a furious assault on the government and the hypocrisy he sees in most of their actions.

No questions
I pledge resistance to the grass
That hides the snakes of America
So they watch it, now I walk with caution
More careful, put more thought to option
Is the opposite of progress congress?
From the school to the street we’re beyond stress
But I fight for peace, that’s what the problem is
War is big biz, just ask an economist

The next few tracks on the album seek to remain forgettable; including a skit that is no more wanted than it is needed. Then we hit the big surprise of the album, Kanye West and DP throwing it down together in a gospel tinged jam that leaves something to be desired for. It’s inspired to be sure, and to a degree it’s also somewhat fun, but it’s not Dilated Peoples. Kanye’s inclusion also raises a few questions. Was he trying to raise his street cred by kicking it with the underground champs, or were DP really that desperate to hit the mainstream route that they jumped on the coattails of the latest “big name”? The only real highlight of this jam is John Legend’s guest spot crooning running all over the background. Luckily the group, or should I Babu, redeem themselves on the final track, DJ Babu in Deep Concentration. An obvious nod to Gang Starr’s DJ Premier in Deep Concentration, the song is an explosive dj showcase and shows yet again why Babu is revered as one of the best in the business.

So coming off the back of two near-classic albums, and a three year hiatus, the group returned with something new… and very different. Despite the usual guest appearances both behind the board and in front of the mic – Alchemist, Planet Asia & Defari all return to the fold - Neighborhood Watch is by far the most commercially orientated release DP has put forth yet. While they would go on to redeem themselves somewhat with their next release – 2006’s 20/20 – this album served as a reminder to all that even the mighty can fall. The production here is way too crisp and polished, something that goes against the rough street dynamic the group held on their earlier releases. That, along with the addition of “club bangers” and the appearance of Kanye makes this album surprising, to say the least. It’s good, but it’s not “Dilated good”.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2009


31222 Comments


Hydeyomoney and Bulldog can't take all the hip hop glory lol

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

hydeyomoney
December 30th 2009


934 Comments


lol i never liked the Dilated Peoples. I kinda like the review but cut it down, make it more concise, you know what i'm sayin!

that's the way i love my reviews.

Bulldog
December 30th 2009


3796 Comments


Hmm, never heard of these guys before. Good review, long, but still pos'd. Might check this out on a rainy day...

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2009


31222 Comments


Yeah I tend to go into a bit of detail with my reviews. Given the drastic change in their sound it needed to be said.

Bulldog
December 30th 2009


3796 Comments


Hmmm, I can see that. Sometimes my review lack in examples or detail, I need to figure out a concrete style for myself.

My signature move is shaping out to be the "fun facts," and my review style is probably gonna end up the short, quick, enjoyable, (but accurate) read.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2009


31222 Comments


Sounds all good to me man

Inveigh
December 30th 2009


25019 Comments


Another very quality review Jas, take anotha pos my friend. I haven't heard much from this album, but I definitely didn't care much for the Kanye track. Perhaps I'll look further into it, but I need to get more of their back catalogue first I think.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2009


31222 Comments


Get Expansion Team now!!

Inveigh
December 30th 2009


25019 Comments


oh yeah dude, I totally forgot about that rec! i'll hit up da junkie tonight and see what I can find...

Phantom
December 30th 2009


8930 Comments


Good review. I need to hear more Dilated Peoples; only got Expansion Team.

somberlain
December 30th 2009


2121 Comments


A hip hop review by someone other than Hydeyomoney or Bulldog? what's going on here?
DP gets no love on sputnik, I might review the Platform
good review Deviant

intothepit83
December 30th 2009


2316 Comments


yes, a very good review. and yes, "the platform" is great, but come on, nothing they've done touches "expansion team"

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2009


31222 Comments


ET>TP>20>this

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010


8370 Comments


seriously excellent read my friend, enjoyed the length and the perfect amount of detail + it flowed very well. What can I say, great job Dev.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010


31222 Comments


Cheers Styles. Happy New Year and all that jazz as well.

TheEnforcer
January 1st 2010


270 Comments


One of my favorite hip hop albums however the review doesn't do it justice.
Here are a few of the flaws I can see.

The first sentence often sets the tone for an essay, your introduction is a rather generalized statement about the artists status.

2 the statement

"Things get a bit pair shaped"

Okay you should either explain your reasoning for that rather unlogical statement or scrap it all together.

and my 3rd pet peeve

you end off your writeup with the statement "It's good, but not Dilated good"

a very poor way to end an essay by comparing it to previous efforts.

neg'd

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010


31222 Comments


You amuse me

TheEnforcer
January 1st 2010


270 Comments


I'm not trying to amuse you I'm trying to help out your review.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010


31222 Comments


You should get paid extra then. Your neg doesn't bother me, in fact I thank you for actually saying that you did and telling me why you thought so, it's admirable. Faults with your critiquing though:

"The first sentence often sets the tone for an essay, your introduction is a rather generalized statement about the artists status."

This is true, but I also had to add this album to the system, which means veru few people have heard of this group. It also sets up my argument about them going downhill after having been so good.

""Things get a bit pair shaped"

Okay you should either explain your reasoning for that rather unlogical statement or scrap it all together."

It's pear shaped, a common metaphor. The next few sentences after that on read:

" Whether or not Kanye’s guest spot on this album (still to come) had any influence on the next track Tryin’ To Breathe is debatable, but whoever came up with the idea that DP should try and write a catchy r’n’b tune complete with pop sensibilities was sorely lacking in the imagination department. Featuring cringe inducing lyrics and an even more soul shivering chorus the song not only screams out “filler” but serves no other purpose than to wear out skip button."

Perfectly explains (IMO) why I thought it went pear shaped.

TheEnforcer
January 1st 2010


270 Comments


Yes a common metaphor, you must forgive for overlooking that and while I still find your review to be slightly below average I could offer advice on your other reviews as well. Or I can leave it up to fate that perhaps I shall stumble across your contributions in the future



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