Dilated Peoples, one of the three LA acts slated to appear at Karma, are kingpins of that city's underground hip-hop scene: Their sophomore 12-inch, Work the Angles, sold more than 25,000 copies an incredible feat for independent hip-hop artists. The duo, Evidence and Rakaa, a.k.a. Iriscience (to pronounce, split it into two words), translate frustration with the rap industry into music that moves heads both mentally and physically. Rakaa's thick, bouncy rhymes are more contagious than pinkeye in grade school, most effective over his teammate's consistently lovely production, with a trademark lack of high-hats in the track. Evidence creates beats for many emcees out west including Defari, LMNO, Swollen Members and Rasco and controls a microphone, delivering skills in a serious, matter-of-fact tone.
A track is never finished until a deejay lays down the scratches, and Dilated relies on DJ Babu of the World Famous Beat Junkies to melt wax on most tracks. He and his crew proclaim their skills in a different language turntablism. The Beat Junkies, with three other main members J-Rocc, Rhettmatic and Melo-D are at the cutting edge of team turntablism, known for their incredible deftness at the wheels of steel, which they proved in 1997 when they won the International Turntablist Federation team championship. Babu and J-Rocc recently mixed the long-awaited Soundbombing sequel for Rawkus Records, after the crew's own releases, World Famous Beat Junkies, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.
Resurrecting some old-school flavor for the 21st century is Jurassic 5, which actually comprises six members. The group's Cut Chemist is most recognized in the hip hop community for his original, soulful production and work with many acclaimed turntablists; the four emcees Chali 2na, Zaakir, Marc 7even and Akil exchange verses with a singsong, early-'80s flow, jumping in all together for the chorus or an intro. In the past, the energetic group has collaborated with Ozomatli. Jurassic exudes a lighthearted party mood, part of this must-see show for those with any interest in the blooming of West Coast hip-hop culture.