Ask any Los Angeles resident, and they’ll tell you the city both represents and disproves the clichés used to describe it. As a metropolis comprised of smaller, seemingly disparate cities, it’s more than the sum of its parts. A 10-minute drive in the wrong direction can mean the difference between staring at a porn star, staring at a mansion or staring down the barrel of a gun. In some ways, Evidence, DJ Babu and Rakaa Iriscience are the perfect representation for the city. They’ve been equally comfortable alongside the Lootpack over Madlib production, as part of the major label ecosystem trading features with Kanye West and pretty much everywhere in between. Dilated Peoples are distinctly Angelino, but their production, delivery and subject matter appeal to self-proclaimed “real Hip Hop” patrons near and abroad.

“I don’t think we ever really fit in to the signed industry of rappers,” Evidence explained, while Dilated was preparing for a performance co-headlining the “Word Of Mouth Tour” with Jurassic 5. “We were kind of like an anomaly—from radio, to video and just how we were received. To independently start on ABB records, try the major label thing and have moderate to really good success, depending on who you ask, I think it was natural that we go back.”

Going back may be a bit of a misnomer. The trio is still making high quality music (sometimes in garages) and touring relentlessly, but now they own their master recordings. They could cut into the project budget by commissioning Nabil Elderkin to handle the photography, but in addition to contributing verses and production, Ev is behind the lens on photo shoots and music videos. The guys are directors, but why just stop at photography?

How “Directors Of Photography” Showcases L.A.’s Diversity