Dilated Peoples

Dilated People’s were long known in west coast rap circles in the 1990’s as incredibly talented MC’s who haven’t achieved their proper respect in popular culture. That changed in 2001 when the Alchemist produced their 2001 hit, “When Worst Comes to Worst”.  The single made its way to the radio at a time when music videos were still being regularly played on cable television. The video depicting  life in Southern California, was played in living rooms across the country.

“Special victims unit, catalyst for movement
Creates to devastate, since ’84 show improvement
Definitely Dilated Peoples comes first
Cross-trainin spar, we raise the bar
And we put it in your ear no matter who you are”

Iriscience of Dilated Peoples “Worst Comes to Worst”

The song got the attention of Kanye West, who had longed to go on the otherside of the booth and take his talents to the mic after years of producing tracks for some of the biggest names in hip hop.  They eventually got together and Kanye laid down 16 bars on Dialated People’s 2004 hit, “This Way”.  For some, this was the first formal introduction to Kanye the MC and the verse can still be recited by most hip hop heads.  Kanye credits this appearance on the track where he knew that he belonged amongst the best rappers in the world.

“I’m in the club doin the same ol’ two step
While Omega’s doing the same ol’ “Q step”
I have my money on my mind I was thinkin green
She a pledge A.K.A. “she was pink and green”

Kanye West “This Way”

J Cole and Kanye and Jayz
Kanye, Jay Z and J Cole at the Tidal premiere event.

In 2010 with anticipation of his of his 5th studio album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, Kanye started GOOD Fridays, dropping a new song on each Friday in lead up to the release.  The significance of it was that Kanye was featuring a ton of different MC’s and producers each week and some of them were unknown to the mainstream.  Big Sean, Kid Cudi and J Cole were all featured during GOOD Fridays’ run and helped them crossover to a bigger market.  This is a nod to the way that Kanye came into the mainstream by collaborating and being featured on more established MC’s tracks.

“I wanna a good girl she want a gentleman
We sayin’ the same thing like a synonym
I wasn’t really spittin game I was scrimmagin’
My pimpinship’s so hard it needs censorship”

Kanye West “This Way”

Chance the Rapper and Kanye West
A problem that many rappers experience is that eventually their voice becomes stale and tired.  This aging process is not unique to hip hop and can be seen in many different artistic pursuits.  None more fittingly than in comedy, where seemingly every 3-4 years a new “it” comic will appear and then fade away after being deemed not as funny.  This is no fault of the artist, just that one person can only have so much to say and both hip hop and comedy are highly personal arts that require the person to speak on their own experiences.  The way to avoid this staleness is by surrounding yourself with up and coming acts and complete the cycle of creativity.  Where one goes from guest starring on other’s tracks to mainstream success to eventually featuring up and coming artists on their own track.  As acts like Chance the Rapper (a Kanye protege), J Cole and others become more popular you can see that Kanye is acutely aware of his own mortality as an MC.  So when the next up and coming rapper drops 16 bars on a Kanye track, we can smile and know that Kanye is actively participating in the next generation of hip hop’s stardom in the same way his lyrical forefather’s did for him.
“I’ma chicagoan till Chicago ends
Till we blow like Chicago wind
I don’t know what’s better, gettin laid or gettin paid
I just know when I’m gettin one, the other’s gettin away”

Kanye West “This Way”