For one, it was recorded a year after their first album, Platform. Platform was one of those thrilling albums that you wanted a little more from, because it was the first complete album after years of only being able to hear DP on singles and college radio bootlegs. But even more exciting was the promise that the next album would take Dilated Peoples over the top.
DP has hopped in the sack with the big money (Expansion Team is on Capitol, as was Platform). However, the three members of the group (Evidence, Iriscience, and Babu) swear, both in interviews and in the lyrics themselves, that they're all about adhering to the principles of hiphop. "Make money money/but please don't waste money," says MC Evidence on track four, "Trade Money." The song goes on to explain that money is good, but only when used responsibly. Along those same lines, Dilated Peoples really go out of their way to avoid--and even criticize--the clichéd misogyny in a lot of hiphop.
I had a lot of expectations for this album, and that's probably part of the reason I'm not into it. Maybe that was also DP's problem--sounds like they lost the tension in the group, or maybe they just got too comfy riding around in the limo eating grapes--whatever. The lyrics are tight--Babu flows seamlessly from high-pitched aquatic noises to startlingly cartoonish sounds, which are reminiscent of Pink Panther-type animation--but the album is just uninspired. Consequently, there's almost nothing new this album has to offer, which is disappointing.
However, the production on the album is excellent, so clear and articulate that you feel like you can even hear the resonance of the drumbeat after it's been over for a second. Good production is one advantage of signing to a label that's got lots of money--there are layers of sound, and the distinction and play between the voices of the two MCs is clear and cutting. This will probably be a solid show because of the expensive equipment, and the fact that the album is also solid. It's just not Einstein.