Song of the Day: Dilated Peoples - Cut My Teeth

Song of the Day
08/26/2014
Anna McClain
photo by B+

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Cut My Teeth” by Dilated Peoples from the 2014 album Directors of Photography on Rhymesayers Entertainment.

Dilated Peoples - Cut My Teeth (MP3)

Without getting too wrapped up in Directors of Photography being LA group Dilated Peoples' first release since 2006's 20/20, it has to be mentioned that the trio, who represent the best of underground hip-hop for so many, succeed in reviving the counterculture spirit of their genre after nearly a decade apart. Formed in 1992 by DJ Babu and MCs Evidence and Rakaa Iriscience, the group put out five (officially four) well received albums between 1995 and 2006. Each member went on from the group's four-album contract with Capitol Records to pursue successful solo careers, and now in 2014 have reunited to put out a back-to-basics album on independent label Rhymesayers.

One-third of the group, Evidence, leads the outfit in "Cut My Teeth," a personal track reminiscent of his childhood spent in Venice Beach. "Cut My Teeth," produced by The Alchemist, isn't just an intimate tangent; the entire album is a nod toward Evidence's late mother, a talented photographer. The group takes their album's concept seriously, with Evidence and Rakaa directing the images in the listener's head with their rhymes. While Evidence hearkens back to his days of switching "graffiti tips on cans with both hands" in Venice Beach, Rakaa raps about how he found inspiration in Mid City LA. As Rakaa says, their music is "definitely not just words that rhyme at the end of sentences." Over simple, old-school looped boom bap beats, their discerning message is amplified. The retrospective angle works well for the group, now in their twenty-second year, and allows them to continue practicing their incisive handiwork.

Dilated Peoples are currently touring in Europe, but stay up to date with the group over Facebook and Twitter to see if and when they'll tour the U.S. For now, check out the video for the first single from Directors of Photography, "Good As Gone," below:

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