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The Release Party

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Album Review

The Release Party is a DVD documentary looking back at the trials and tribulations of Dilated Peoples, an underground rap sensation that languished on a major label for several years despite showing so much promise as an independent act that they had their pick of major-label offers from which to choose. In a way, the film is a celebration of Dilated Peoples' long-awaited return to the underground circa 2007, the title referencing the group's release from their contract with Capitol Records. Anyone who is a fan of the group — or simply a fan of hip-hop, for that matter — will find much to appreciate here. The film is directed by Jason Goldwatch, a longtime friend of the group who interweaves home-video footage with archival material. Besides offering an intimate look at Evidence, Rakaa, and Babu (i.e., the three members comprising Dilated Peoples), there are plenty of guest appearances from some of underground rap's leading stars, along with more mainstream artists like Prodigy (of Mobb Deep) and Kanye West. [The DVD/CD edition of The Release Party includes seven tracks, two of which are new songs ("The Release Party," "Spit It Clearly"), the others remixes. While The Release Party is no substitute for a new Dilated Peoples album, it's a welcome reminder of the group's talent and the promise they demonstrated prior to their ill-fated deal with Capitol. Too, it's an instructional case study examining how the rap game isn't all fame and riches, but rather a cut-throat industry.]


Formed: 1992 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

With just a few (mostly underground) releases, Dilated Peoples energized the rap underground in similar fashion to fellow West Coast crew Jurassic 5. The duo of Evidence and Rakaa came together in the mid-'90s, when they met at many of the same hip-hop shows; after deciding to start making tracks together, they formed Dilated Peoples. Once they added to the fold an excellent turntablist, DJ Babu of the Beat Junkies, Dilated Peoples recorded the singles "Third Degree" and "Work the Angles" for ABB...
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The Release Party, Dilated Peoples
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