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Dilated Peoples

Venue: Jazz Cafe, London

Date: July 2016

By Joanna Chaundy | 11 August 2016

London's Jazz Café has now been taken over and newly refurbished by nightlife operator The Columbo Group, who have done a fantastic job in not only keeping it as an intimate venue for hip-hop, but have (most importantly) got the air conditioning working. 

The hottest day of the year did not deter Dilated Peoples' fans from cramming in to the Jazz Café before the legendary California trio hit the stage at gone 10pm. The crowd were far too excited to care about the time; DJ Babu's early presence to set up the stage was enough to keep them entertained.

Evidence and Rakaa joined him shortly afterwards to nothing but welcoming whoops from the London crowd who had patiently waited to enjoy a night of true hip-hop.

Throwing up classics such as "Back Again" and "You Can't Hide, You Can't Run" to more recent material like "Show Me The Way" from their latest album, Directors of Photography, Evidence and Rakaa intermingled with the crowd who bounced to every tune. Devoted Dilated fans were appreciative of the tracks from their 2000 album, The Platform.

Quirky touches such as bringing up an adoring male fan to rap with them for a verse delighted the crowd and added to Dilated Peoples' ever-present personable style.

Littering the evening with DJ Premier beats including Gang Starr's classic, "Full Clip", DJ Babu rocked the audience with some serious scratching skills.

Evidence gifted us by performing a few of his solo tracks from his album, Cats and Dogs and EP The Layover. These hits cranked up the energy on the floor and created a surge of pounding hands and approving nodding heads. The only thing missing was a typical Evidence crowd-dive.

"We love London", said Evidence. "I'm always nervous when I perform here". He certainly had no need to be.

The most memorable moments of the night were the hat tip to London Posse's Rodney P, who was in the audience, and the dedication to recently deceased Phife from A Tribe Called Quest along with Guru from Gang Starr, whose verse they replaced on the classic "Worst Comes To Worst" which was sadly the ending to what could have been a longer show, had they have come on earlier. But no one was unhappy.

Dilated Peoples are one of those underground hip-hop groups that will always stand the test of time when it comes to live shows. It's lucky we have venues like The Jazz Café to still represent these types of gigs.

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