Neighborhood Watch


Solemn purists in a hip-hop scene defined by trends and flash, Dilated Peoples treat rap with
reverence. Despite Los Angeles roots, MCs Evidence and Rakaa, plus DJ Babu, echo the old-school
East Coast spirit of Gang Starr, with thudding beats and a scorn for pop pandering; they celebrate
self-reliance on the title track, warning cops and crooks alike to back off. If occasionally
preachy, the music never falters, thanks to rubbery bass riffs and teasing electronic squiggles.
“DJ Babu in Deep Concentration” finds the gifted scratcher weaving fragments of noise into a chattering symphony. If Dilated Peoples court radio play with the breezy “This Way,” it’s no
sellout—just a groove-filled diversion.

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  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.