Rakaa Iriscience, one third of world-renowned hip-hop crew Dilated Peoples is releasing Crown of Thorns, his debut solo album after four albums with his group and numerous guest spots, on July 20, 2010 via Decon Records. Produced by fellow members Evidence and DJ Babu with guest production by The Alchemist, El-P, !llmind, Exile, Sid Roams, King Jahzzy, and Eric Bobo & DJ Rhettmatic, Crown of Thorns is the sonic prism that has absorbed the myriad cultures taken in by the travelling MC and reflected them back in the form of a groundbreaking debut.
Rakaa's music career started soon after joining the New York based hip-hop collective Rock Steady Crew as a graffiti artist and MC. He helped found their L.A. chapter and subsequently joined the Universal Zulu Nation. After a series of educational label experiences, Rakaa and partner-in-rhyme Evidence released 1997's underground classic single "Third Degree" before adding Babu to the ranks. Since then, the team known as Dilated Peoples have put out a series of critically acclaimed albums and developed an international reputation for live performances. Rakaa stays busy traveling around the world hosting events such as the Red Bull BC One (in Johannesburg and Paris) and the R16 (in Incheon, Korea), destroying a variety of studio booths, "chipping away at [his] black belt" in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and attending school as a full-time advertising student.
*Photo by Trevor Traynor