Rakaa Iriscience, Evidence, and DJ Babu of Dilated Peoples are back with another group LP after a long eight year hiatus since the 2006 release of their 20/20 album. In this considerable gap of time, the guys have kept busy doing various, individual side albums, collaborations, and other projects. Apparently the timeout must have inspired member appreciation of how valuable their combined chemistry really is because this 2014 Directors Of Photography album ranks equally with any one of their previous albums, which set a more ambitious standard for conscious hip hop with each consecutive release. The hallowed LA triumvirate are essentially back to their specialty, kicking tight, crafty hip hop rhymes and lyrics over elegant, soulful beats that are expertly put together, samples included. Fans can look forward to more life lessons on which to ponder and more unique attitudes, opinions, perspectives and philosophies to consider. In addition to the mental, metaphysical goodies on the album, Rakaa and Evidence also dabble in some tough-talk rapping, which means they believe in what they're saying, they are not speaking on some loose whim, and they can back up their words with strong reasoning. Every track on the album is a gem, but a few really stand out. "Show Me The Way" sounds like it could be a radio song. It's motivational, and it's got a great beat, a great hook, and great lyrics behind it. "Figure It Out (Melvin's Theme)" is notable for its screwed, scratched beat, which sounds like the old East Coast-influenced West meets DJ Screw's Houston, a great hip hop cut. The gang are not without worldly awareness in "Century Of The Self" where they analyze the corrupt, selfish tendencies of human nature on earth. The Dilated Peoples have always been proponents of building mentally and expanding minds. They have always come original and never copied trends or tried to be something other than themselves. Directors Of Photography is all those things at once, and as a result, everyone wins.
August 12, 2014