Pupils are the black spots at the center of the eye. They can be compared to lens systems in cameras. When pupils dilate, they open to interpret images and help allow people to see. With their second major label effort, “Expansion Team“, the Los Angeles trio, Dilated Peoples, open off listeners so that they can see what West Coast underground has to offer.
“I just want more of what’s happening right now. We did a show last night in Anaheim at the House of Blues and it was just packed and people knew the words and it was like a family vibe”, explains Evidence who speaks on a phone from Soundproof Studios on an overcast day in what is normally sunny L.A. “That’s more than I had ever dreamed of in the beginning anyway. Where we are right now is farther than we actually expected to get.”
The twenty-four year old lyricist/producer speaks of his fellow group members with sincerity. He considers Iriscience, with whom he raps alongside, as a brother. “We don’t need to talk too much,” he tells. “We just kind of read each other’s minds.” Dilated’s turntablist is DJ Babu from the noted Beat Junkies. “He’s a star in himself,” explains Evidence.
“We keep it real with two emcees and a deejay. Straight up,” expresses the verbalist whose beginnings go back to battling and freestyling on the block outside a local barbershop. “If you notice, we don’t put our deejay in the back of the stage and let him just be the guy who just shuffles his headphones and pretends to move records around. He’s the real backbone of our group.”
While Babu sets the stage for Evidence and Iriscience to perform on, “Expansion Team” delivers that same realness that Dilated Peoples have been delivering only this time around with a bigger budget. DJ Premier, Alchemist, Beatminerz and ?uestlove are part of the heavy hitters to add tracks to the record that is maintained by the ordinary production crew of Evidence, Babu and Joey Chavez.
“It’s about a ten month piece we did off the road in between madness,” describes Evidence of the album’s creative process. “I think we captured it pretty well.” The lead single, “Worst Comes to Worst” bumps with underground flavor mixed in with top notch production. The hook is sampled from Mobb Deep’s Prodigy and offers words to live by for anybody with some grey sponge up in their dome piece.
“My favorite track depends on the day or the mood I’m in. I like the whole album,” he professes with a blushed laugh. “I like my record.” Other standouts on the album are “Heavy Rotation” with rap revelers, Tha Liks and the Premo produced “Clockwork“.
“We’re just a hardcore rap group with one foot in tradition and one foot in the future,” describes the proud emcee. It takes Evidence time to allow this much about his work. Clearly, he prefers Dilated’s music to speak for itself and with “Expansion Team” currently in stores, he likely won’t need to say much more.
As for projected album sales and the possibility of TRL exposure, Evidence adds, “I’m trying to be a sane person and live my life. What one person views as success is completely different than the other.
“The game is driven by the radio and TV so there’s formulas you can follow if,” the rapper pauses before finishing his thought. “If you want to follow.”