Evidence has been rocking mics for years as one-third of the major LA underground group Dilated Peoples, and with the release of his debut album The Weatherman LP he’s out to prove he can bring the same heat solo. Hip-hop is littered with MCs who couldn’t establish themselves from the crews they came from, and Evidence wants to avoid the fate of the Murphy Lees and Lloyd Banks of the world. His ultimate goal is to exist in the group and solo worlds with equal force, “When you say Ghostface Killah you don’t say Ghostface …
DJBooth Album Review
No one ever confused Evidence with Twista, and on The Weatherman LP his syrup heavy flow remains as slow as ever. His crisp enunciation hits every syllable, a blessing considering his carefully constructed lyrics, but over the course of an album the slow vocal cadence begins to feel monotone. Luckily the beats are kinetic enough to pick up where the vocal energy leaves off, a dynamic shown on his debut single Mr. Slow Flow. Evidence knows he’s not the loudest MC on the planet, and Mr. Slow Flow’s structure (three verses and no hook) is a defiant “middle finger” to an industry pressuring him to make more radio friendly tracks. Without more mainstream appeal Evidence may never blow up, but he ain’t gonna “fake it to make it.”
At its root The Weatherman LP is a deeply personal album. His mother’s recent death emerges as a theme throughout the album and Evidence sought refuge in music to deal with the pain. I Still Love You ends the album with a celebration of his mother’s life, and Chase the Clouds Away details his emergence from the depression that followed his mother’s passing. The Alchemist produced track is uplifting without getting corny. It takes a strong MC to get personal without hiding behind hard posturing, even though the last seconds of the track reveal Evidence is nervous about keeping it so truly real.
The true strength of The Weatherman LP is in its collaborations. Evidence splits production duties, and the featured verse-list reads as a who’s who of underground rap: Planet Asia, Rakaa, Joe Scudda, Big Pooh, and more put down some serious skill. On Line Of Scrimmage Evidence adopts his track-mate Slug’s twisted cadence, and stylistic collaborations like this allow Evidence to break out, even if only for a verse, of his sometimes numbing trademark ‘slow flow.’ On Believe in Me, Res puts down a soulfully strong hook that will undoubtedly move a crowd. While Evidence may not be the most dynamic MC, he’s smart enough to know his weakness and recruit others to fill in the gaps to create a complete package.
Becoming your own man doesn’t happen overnight, and on The Weatherman LP Evidence is busy building a foundation. Top-line production and originality make for a solid album that may not merit instant classic status, but definitely puts hip-hop on alert. With a continued grind, which is suggested through both his music and self-advocating voice, anyone who is of the doubting nature need only pick up the album. It’s full of evidence.
DJBooth Rating - 4.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 03/26/07
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Let Yourself Go (Remix) ft. Phonte" (2007)
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