With all the talk and excitement surrounding the release of Evidence's Rhymesayers Debut, "Cats & Dogs", I started to think about how I first became familiar with him.
In the mid 90s, myself and J-Bird were running a indie Hip Hop magazine called "Caught In The Middle" and as a result we were connecting with and getting hit up by indie artists from all over the world. One person I had connected with was Chat of The Ill Brothers. In '94 he had sent in a double demo tape with his crew, Ill Brothers, on one side and the flipside had a early Of Mexican Descent 3-Song Demo. Since both sides of the tape were so ill, I definitely had to reach out to him for more music and to stay in touch. The next tape he sent me were some demo tracks from an upcoming project on their label, Nerve Deafness. The tape actually had a few tracks that didn't make the final Vinyl EP, "Old World Chaos" when it dropped. Two of those were Dilated Peoples related tracks, "We Are Dilated Peoples" and "Create To Devistate", both which I have often seen listed as being songs from their unreleased album, "Imagery, Battle Hymns, & Political Poetry".
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/14-We-Are-Dilated-Intro.mp3|titles=14 We Are (Dilated Intro)]
However, the first official release I heard was the Dilated Peoples track "End Of Time" on the "Next Chapter: Strictly Underground" Compilation on Immortal Records. "Next Chapter" was a great concept. They collected demos from artist around the country to come up with a nice blend of new rising talents. That compilation definitely deserves its own blog focus one day, as it helped familiarize many people with the music of, not only Dilated Peoples, but also Phil The Agony, Vooodu!, Tony Da Skitzo, and many others who had little to no other musical output afterwards.
"End Of Time" was always a favorite on the compilation. The beat, produced by Joey Chavez, had some perfectly chopped drums and some other minimal pieces that kept it raw, but upbeat. Meanwhile that Lil Dap sample gave it a rugged and grim feel with his proclamation, "It's the ending of time"...
Dilated Peoples employed the same base formula that they continued to manifest on their future classic albums. They kept it purely b-boy with many references to Graf, Production techniques, consciousness, and it all just blended together so effortlessly and perfectly.
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/13-End-Of-The-Time.mp3|titles=13 End Of The Time]
The official release of "Old World Chaos" didn't drop until '96 and it still has some Dilated Peoples representation, just two different tracks, both solo cuts. Iriscience contributes "Imagine" which has a mystical feel as he tackles the conspiracies of media, aliens and then some. Meanwhile, Evidence drops a self-produced track titled "Here And There". In the intro he finds himself getting harassed at the airport and slips in a lil jab to President Clinton before he takes you on a verbal world tour.
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Evidence-Here-And-There.mp3|titles=Evidence-Here And There]
Once I heard these tracks I knew I had to connect with these dudes so I made some calls and eventually connected with Evidence personally and in 1998 I did a Spotlight Show on his MCing and Production skills on my Time Travel Radio show. For that he sent me a tape of upcoming joints. There's a couple things that I'm not sure if they came out. One is an instrumental produced by Evidence & Alchemist titled "Check It Out" and the other is a Evidence solo cut called "Off The Bat".
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Evidence-Off-The-Bat.mp3|titles=Evidence-Off The Bat]
Thru the years I stayed in contact off and on with Ev and Iriscience as they rose to be a integral part of the late 90s thru the 00s Hip Hop scene. When the talk started about him signing with Rhymesayers I was excited to get a chance to connect with him again on a different level. Plus as he let me hear new joints from the album I knew "Cats & Dogs" was shaping up to be some of his best work yet. Of course, if you've picked up the album, as you should have, you already know that it's "Reigning" Cats & Dogs this week...
BONUS SHOT: Dilated Peoples On Time Travel Radio in '99
When they were on tour with Gang Starr & Rage Against The Machine, they whole crew stopped by to wreck the mic. Here's 7:23 Minutes of DJ Babu on the wheels while Evidence & Iriscience kicks lyrics and freestyles!
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Dilated-Peoples-Time-Travel-Freestyles-99.mp3|titles=Dilated Peoples-Time Travel Freestyles '99]
Written By Kevin Beacham