Expansion Team
Record label: ABB/Capitol
Format: 3xLP/CD
Release date: 23 October 2001

Dilated Peoples have reached a new platform. The L.A.-based hip-hop crew featuring Evidence, Rakaa Iriscience, and DJ Babu are keeping it "classic." From end to end this is just a fun album. With the current stable of independent artists worrying about who's the hardest or who's the weirdest, Dilated gives you straight beats and rhymes. The album starts off with what should have been the single: "Live on Stage," the perfect entrance as Ev and Iriscience let you know what they've been doing since their last album The Platform. "Worst Comes To Worst" is the single and it's not bad. The fact that the infamous Killah Priest jacking occurred with this one doesn't tarnish the song (even though Fourth Disciple did it iller). Throughout every song Babu announces his presence displaying the precision of a true DJ. The Beat Junkies even have their own instrumental song on this album - "Dilated Junkies."

The Crooked eye literally pulled up the best of what the late eighties and early nineties had to give and upgraded it to 2001. The best track on this album is "Proper Propaganda," surprisingly produced by Babu. He comes with a nice hyped-up jam while Iriscience kicks the consciousness as he always does. Rakaa especially steps up his lyrical game on this album. "Proper Propaganda," "Trade Money," and "War" show his versatility. His and Ev's constant references to famous one-liners of hip-hop's past give a full indication that they are masters of the craft who have studied the lessons. This truly was a team effort with beats donated courtesy of Premier, Da Beat Minerz, ?uestlove, Joey Chavez, Alchemist, Beatnuts, Evidence and Babu. Keeping with the new hip-hop requirement, Black Thought, Phil Da Agony, the Liks and Defari pop up in guest spots. If you just got into hip-hop and you want to understand what really fun hip-hop used to sound like, and to understand the era that spawned De La Soul, Gangstarr, Flavor Unit, KMD and Black Sheep, you should get Expansion Team.

{mikal lee (sprout)}

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