Dilated Peoples 20/20

Now four albums deep into their careers, LA hip-hop torch bearers Dilated Peoples are still going strong, delivering the same level of consistent and quality music they first showed back while stomping out underground crews on 2000’s The Platform. While MCs Evidence and Rakaa continue to turn in tenacious battle rhymes peppered with moments of social commentary, with 20/20 you really begin to notice how the craftsmanship of a given beat practically determines how interesting the two come off on the track. Where fire-starters like the Alchemist produced "Back Again” and Evidence’s "Kindness For Weakness” (featuring BK lyricist Kweli reminding everybody, as the title suggests, that he ain’t no punk) see all involved rocking the hardest screw face, slow burners like the spacey "Olde English” give the MCs little to work with. That said, the album’s strongest moment comes when the crew team up with conscious reggae flamethrower Capleton to light up the US government for all of their Katrina excuses on "Firepower,” with Evidence cooking up a dancehall beat the three couldn’t help but come correct on. (Capitol)