Aceyalone, and Dilated Peoples
Both acts trace their origins to early-'90s Los Angeles, but Aceyalone was the first to jump off. He helped found Freestyle Fellowship, which was just starting to get lift when member Self Jupiter was incarcerated in '93. Aceyalone took it solo, scoring a deal from Capitol for the seminal '95 release All Balls Don't Bounce, which offered a West Coast answer to the Native Tongues. Clever and jazzy, it inaugurated a criminally underappreciated career, highlighted by 2003's epic Love & Hate, and 2006's scalding collaboration with RJD2, Magnificent City. Never one to stand still, Aceyalone is pushing a dancehall album, Lightning Strikes. After a string of big underground singles in the '90s, Dilated Peoples also fell victim to Capitol's patter, riding it out for four albums of steadily diminishing push before being dropped last year. Definitely not gangster and not necessarily geared toward backpackers, they're more akin to pre-Fergie Black Eyed Peas and old school b-boys — addicted to a good groove (courtesy of noted Beat Junkies turntablist DJ Babu) and battle-tested rhymes. More celebration than science, they spit about the urban landscape, but not obsessively, preferring positivism to preaching.
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