The road to fame is a very bumpy ride, and it's nice to see hard-working, successful bands reveal the pain they've endured for the gain. A case in point is Dilated Peoples' documentary, The Release Party (Decon, 2007), by director Jason Goldwatch. As the 10-year-in-the-making story unfolds, you'll see Babu's yearning for his first turntable, a glimpse into Rakaa's ju-jitsu training and Evidence's brainy studio process (“He might be a low-key math genius,” Rakaa says). You'll also see a lot of Dilated's fourth band member, the bong. Whether playing ping-pong and producing with Alchemist, there are plenty of good vibes.
There's also the other side of the coin, the often-frustrating business end. Regarding a bad label deal with Immortal records that left the band sitting on an unreleased album (Imagery, Battle Hymns and Political Poetry, which they had to shelve in order to be freed), Rakaa says, “We had to learn the difference between a good conversation and a business deal.” Although the trio had lawyers to help, it was actually Rakaa who took the bull by the horns and found the loophole in the band's record contract while doing research at the Los Angeles Public Library.
Things went on an upswing when the group signed with Capitol for 2000's The Platform through 2006's 20/20, where the label gave them more money and even a bit of control over their masters. Even more exciting was the success of the guys' hit single, “This Way,” with Kanye West. But Evidence hits a hard bump in the road with the death of his mom (a moment in the film that's bound to choke you up).
At the end of the group's relationship with Capitol, Dilated experienced everything from thousands of screaming fans bouncing in time with their music to slimy business lies. “I can't even trust a man looking at me in my eyes — and not blinking — and shaking my fucking hand in this industry anymore,” Evidence laments. Dilated Peoples traveled a long way, from scraping $3 for a bus ticket to the library to flying first class en route to a European tour. All good things come to an end, but even when Dilated People's relationship with Capitol soured, the trio soldiered on. Through thick and thin, Dilated Peoples have created a legacy that keeps keepin' on.