Dilated Peoples - Expansion Team
West Coast, home of the low riders, gangsta rap and a dance that is NOT, I repeat NOT a dance (C Walking looks so cool though). Dre, Snoop and Xzibit are seen to be the main players representing West Coast hip-hop but that has changed over now with the release of Dilated Peoples' Expansion Team. The California natives, with their 16 track LP, have shown that "Westsyde" hip-hop isn't just for riders, bitches and thugs. And I have to believe that there are more out West that represent like these guys do. Lyrics and beats combined form the hip-hop voltron. Exactly what hip-hop needs right now.
Numerous producers (Alchemist takes 3, Babu takes 4, Evidence takes 3) handle production but other well known producers lace this album with some of the most inventive beats I have heard in a long time. DJ Premier, Joey Chavez, ?uestlove (of Roots fame) and the Beatminerz also show their skills, which shine bright.
The album starts with Live on Stage with an old school guitar which had me nodding my head and throwing some 'bows. Clockwork, produced by Premier, is classic DP with classic Premier production. Also, Worst Comes to Worst, Panic, Pay Attention and War stand out with HIP-HOP beats and lyrics sounding straight from the underground. Tracks to concentrate on include Heavy Rotation featuring Tha Liks, who scorch the track and Hard hitters featuring Black Thought, who shows why he is one of the most interesting lyricists in the game. "Figure the likeliness of you surviving this brawl is slim/ It's like diving with no oxygen."
The album falters with only a few tracks which sound rushed and don't hold on the same level lyrically.
Overall, West Coast hip-hop needed this album to show that it ain't all hoes, highs and hitting switches. It's also about beats, brains and beautiful lyrical beat downs. The album works on all the levels that an expected hip-hop album should and, hopefully, re-introduces DP to the world of successful sales.