DJ Babu, Rakaa und Evidence sprechen über ihr neues Album, Fotografie und den Underground.
Interview: Alexander Gotter | Fotos: Daniel Shaked
Your track „worst comes to worst“ has definitely the biggest emotional impact on the audience at your live concerts. Which song do you like to perform the best when you’re on stage?
Evidence: It feels great and it was a record that came together really fast. It was the first song we’ve recorded for your second album. As easy it was to do, as easy is it to perform. Is one of those things we didn’t really anticipating getting big as it is.
So the song came straight from the heart?
Evidence: I think Alchemist took the right beat at the right time.
I read that DJ Premier did some scratches on Worst comes to worst.
DJ Babu: No I did it. But Premier and I did Clockwork on that record. Its the first time in history he did a track with another DJ.
With your LP „The Platform“, released in 2000, the „Dilated Peoples“ became famous all around the world. From your point of view, how has the music industry changed since then? Is your Intention in regard with regard to music still the same?
Rakaa: The music business is always changing: whole DJing, styles changed, different people get locked out. Its the nature, it’s was it is. But we still have fun, we say what we wanna say, we do want we wanna do. We don’t change trends but we stay relevant and with that in mind it’s still the same. But even we you driving a car down the road straight, you have to adjust the steering wheel a little bit. But the road itself doesn’t change.
Are you going to adjust the steering wheel on your new album Directors of Photography?
Rakaa: With every album the landscape changes, so we adjust to it. But we still have our direction, we still know where we going.
What’s the sound of the new album Directors of Photography like?
DJ Babu: We’re in the early stages of it and we just put some ideas down. You’re going to hear Dilated just doing what we do, but it’s 2012.
Rakaa: You’re not gonna hear Auto-tune, but you’re gonna hear “high end 2012 boom bap Hip-Hop” for sure.
Critics claim, that you are not capable of establishing yourself on the mainstream market. They say you had no chance to succeed commercially except for the Song „This Way“ feat. Kanye West, . Your music, however, is played all over the globe. Have you reached your personal goals?
Evidence: Perspective is everything. You know, we were two graffiti artists [Anm.: Rakaa and Evidence] who taking the bus around Los Angeles, so it’s quite a major accomplishment. Maybe we didn’t scratch the surface, but I checked a lot of things on my checklist: I experienced television, also experienced the underground. Right now I just want to ride along, if the people saying “this is for radio”, then maybe we’ll go there, if they’re saying it’s not, we’re not. I just want it to be natural, and if this means we’re playing in small room, then it’s a small room, it doesn’t matter.
Rakaa: One day we do a night, next day we headline a festival and you can ask two people: one person would say we’ve gone pop because we’re on MTV and the person standing next to them say we’re purely underground because we’re rocking underground clubs.
Is it hard to find a label at the moment?
Rakaa: No, there are more labels out there than ever. If you want a major record deal it’s probably hard.
Do you want one?
Rakaa: No, we walked away from it! It was a good experience, we learned a lot, but we realized that we were working harder than everybody, making less money than everybody.
Evidence: The blessing is: we had from 2000 to 2006 six years of major marketing and promotion behind us. A lot of money sunk into Dilated Peoples who build the ground and that are the benefits of a major label. Everything we build up from 1997 to 2000 and what they put on top of that, it’s definitely put us in a good place to keep going independent. So, thank you Capitol.
Did it really add up so much to what you built from 1997 to 2000?
Rakaa: Definitely, we’re be able to play on big stages we probably wouldn’t have gone. Otherwise things like being on MTV or BBC were very hard to attain when you’re an independent act 1999. But it was a uphill battle too, we had a lot of fighting to do to preserver our sound and be yourself.
Just because we don’t drive around in big cars, throw diamonds in people’s face and throw Rolexes around and shit, it doesn’t mean we don’t handle our business, it’s just not our style. Our success is the fact that we haven’t put a record out since 2006, but we at a sold out show right know. I rather flaws that than show up a new pinky ring. And we see opportunities to do business other ways.
Evidence: He’s trying to tell you: he’s rich bitch!
Rakaa: I mean we haven’t released a Dilated Song since The Release Party [Anm.: a DVD released in 2007] and this is going to be the fifth sold out show in a row.
Evidence and DJ Babu, you’re on Instagram (Wikipedia) and the title of the new album is Directors of Photography, what’s it all about?
Evidence: Directors of Photography is a cool title and a great umbrella because our logo is the eye, on our last album 20/20 we had a photography lens, the DP is the Director of Photography and we are DP the Dilated Peoples, and for me personally: my mother was a photographer.
Rakaa: Also we rap really graphic, we spit very strong images, very detailed pictures.
Evidence: I bump into photographers all the time and I show them Instagram, some of them go “that is the coolest shit” and usually the ones who say that are ones who are really good at their photography, they are not intimidated by this digital shit, they know that they doing, they look at and say that’s nice. Other ones who are just starting are like “that’s not keeping it real”, same thing can be with music, a lot dudes who are taking their matters into their own hands, bypass vinyl and went straight to YouTube and sell out a show.
What do you think about the so called digital revolution?
Rakaa: Everything been touched by the digital revolution. Some people may be intimidated by because it happens so fast. We come from a time were our first album were recorded in big studios, analog on a big mixing board, by the time of our second and third album we had that thing called Pro Tools (Wikipedia) and all of sudden we had that kind of power in our home studios. There are ups and downs whenever a new technology comes into place, but we try to embrace it and we try to treat it like we are still in school. There is more access to music than ever, that also means more garbage than ever, that also means you’re gonna find a little bit more treasure that you would’ve been found. I’m very willing to deal with all the nonsenses as long as there are a couple of gems they come out. And if a few people that can slip through the cracks wouldn’t ordinarily have, I can deal with the trash.
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