Peoples Get Ready

As part of underground hip-hop's newest dream team, Dilated Peoples are at the top of their game.

"I'm proud of our camp and their camp for squashing it in true hip-hop fashion before it got out of hand and taken to a violent level," Babu says. "Battling is something that is good for hip-hop. For every element, there's a battle factor, whether you're a writer or a dancer or a DJ or a beat-boxer. It keeps your skills sharp and keeps you on your toes. But when it gets personal and violent, that's not necessary."

Hip-hop has come a long way from the days when '70s-era DJs like Kool Herc would play with the science of breakbeats in makeshift city-park laboratories while mike controllers one-upped each other on Bronx basketball courts. For innovators like Babu, its continuing evolution depends on schooling youngsters on the significance of the spinmasters who helped pave the way.

Eyes wide open: The Dilated Peoples are rolling behind Expansion Team, a scratch-heavy joint that echoes hip-hop's old and new schools.
Eyes wide open: The Dilated Peoples are rolling behind Expansion Team, a scratch-heavy joint that echoes hip-hop's old and new schools.

"I very much am into the modern style of deejaying and scratching and turntablism, and all the stuff that came out in the early '90s," he says. "But my biggest influences were from the traditionalist school. I'd like to influence kids on the type of hip-hop we grew up in and why they should be involved with it. If any of my music or live performances can touch individuals, hopefully it can influence a whole new generation of kids to look deep within themselves and look within hip-hop culture and do their homework, to carry the torch and keep this thing going. No matter how big it gets, the spectrum is going to get wider."

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