Dilated Peoples / 57th Dynasty - Manchester Hop & Grape - 4.2.02

Back in the day when Run DMC teamed up with Aerosmith for "Walk This Way" it must have been a dream that one day the whole world will be singing in unison to hip-hop. Nowadays Hip-hop is the biggest selling genre of music in the States and at clubs from Manchester to Brixton each weekend people are dancing to the hip-hop beats.

57th Dynasty hail from Brixton and have supported the likes of the Stereo MC's and Roots Manuva. Along with the likes of Mark B and Blade, the Moss-siddaz and a whole host of unknowns, these guys are independently taking the sound of the streets to the people on the streets. UK Hip-hop has always been a little hit and miss and based on tonight's support slot the real problem lies in their lack of direction. Jumping from dark gothic Wu Tang style strings to old skool breaks and back again in the space of a few songs could perhaps be described as eclectic but with 8 members (only 5 make the journey up to Manchester) they really need to find their own style.

Like Jurassic 5 and Ugly Duckling, Dilated Peoples take us back with that old skool vibe. Like all great live hip-hop acts they really know how to work the crowd and even down to the tired clichés of "Raise your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care" there's a real sense of fun. Too often rap gigs have become a place for gang warfare and its good to see an act that offers an alternative without ever being throwaway. DJ Babu a master of the decks and the brains behind the crew is given his own spot mid-set to showcase his skills mid-set before the two MC's return for a freestyle session. "Worst Comes To Worst" looks set to be the single which really takes them from being a critics choice to a band of the people and predictably its the track which raises the roof tonight.

If you ever needed proof that hip-hop is going from strength to strength then we got in two doses from each side of the Atlantic tonight.

Alex McCann

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