Establishing himself as one of hip-hop’s most proficient rappers and producers from Los Angels, Evidence (one-third of Dilated Peoples) is gearing up for the release Weather Or Not, his third solo album, out Jan. 26.
Weather Or Not features the DJ Premier-produced “10,000 Hours”, “Jim Dean” and “Throw It All Away,” the latter of which has logged over two million views on YouTube for its official music video. Its tracklist also includes the likes of Styles P, Rapsody, Slug, Alchemist and Dilated Peoples’ member Rakaa.
Carrying out the heart of hip-hop culture with lots of samples and clever wordplay, die-hard fans can expect Evidence to exhibit deeply rooted self-reflection in his writing, over heavy boom bap production.
Days before the release of the upcoming album, we were able to catch up with “The Weatherman” to talk about his newest project. He detailed the inspiration behind the album and it’s title, reuniting with a well-acquainted group of artist and producers, and remembering the latest Prodigy (of Mobb Deep), sharing details on the last time he saw P before his passing.
How much time was put into creating Weather Or Not?
This album was different than previous ones because I had a few starts and stops. So, it was done over a two-year period, but I wouldn’t say I took two years to record. The time accumulatively, probably you know, 10 months to a year. There were things going on in my life and touring and certain stuff, where it wasn’t allowing me to just block everything out and shut out the world, and make it in one batch like I had intended.
“Some think I’m clever, others think I’m the one who makes too many references to weather… “
Yea, that’s where I was going.
Well, yea it (the album’s title) continues to the original — “Or not, I’m feeling this beyond words explain / Yo you set up a battle outdoors and pray for rain.” So, I was just kind of like… back then, I was talking about a lot of weather references and I wasn’t aware of it. And then, people started to bring it to my attention. It was one of those things, “If the shoe fits,” then I’ll just wear it.
What would be your most memorable or favorite studio session on the album?
That’s a good question. This record was not made with a lot of high fiving and comradery sessions, and the weed and alcohol flowing. It was more one on one with a lot of people. So, whoever the producer was or the guest was, it was kind of just me and them. Most of the sessions were really personal and they were done in a small studio that has a house. It wasn’t like the traditional work that I’ve done when I’ve had bigger budgets or when I’ve done more traditional recordings. Each one was really special. It’s kind of hard. To say one was better than the other would kind of be like, “Damn, my experience with this person was better than the next”. It’s hard to put it into words.
If I had to single one out, it would probably be Throw It All Away, the first song I put out. It was nobody in the session. It was just me and the Alchemist beat that I got was really speaking to me, and I did a thing where — I record myself sometimes in the main console because for me to run back and forth to the vocal booth is not fun sometimes. My vocals will suffer because everyone else gets to record in a treated booth and I’ll do my vocals in the main room because I’m recording myself. With this one, I wanted to get it right. I remember setting the mic up and hitting play and just running to the booth and just nailing it in one take. Like no joke, like I did it. The “one take” thing, I don’t really care about that because the world doesn’t know about that, they just want to like the music. But, the satisfaction of that meant a lot to me. More than sitting and vibing with other people, I think that was probably the best moment I had in the studio.
The track that I’m most excited for is “Love is A Funny Thing,” produced by Alchemist with Styles P, Rapsody, and Khrysis. Seeing Rapsody’s name listed in the credits makes me really happy. How did this song come together with her in the mix?
I’ve been down with Little Brother for a long time. I’ve toured with Little Brother. At that time, I think they were kind of having their turbulence, this group. So, I knew Phonte and Pooh, those were the people I knew. I never got to know 9th as well as I got to know them. But in the later years, for some reason, 9th started coming to L.A. a lot and I started clicking with him. Long overdue, I’d always wanted to. He worked on the last Dilated Peoples album and he produced a song, and then Rapsody was coming through with him when they would come to my crib. We actually have a bonus cut on the last Dilated Peoples album called “Hallelujah,” and it’s got Domo Genesis on it, Fashawn, Rapsody, Action Bronson… just a super long posse cut. It was dope. That was probably the first time I recorded with Rapsody. The way she wrote in my crib was really sick. She just went into the house focused like, “I’m not here to kick it, I’m here to get this rap done,” which was fire.
When it came down to this song, Khrysis — who’s a producer from their camp — sang the chorus, totally unexpected. I was looking to reach out to Aloe Black and it didn’t work out. So Khrysis was like, “I got something.” I didn’t even know he could sing like that. Right around that time, I had just one verse and the hook on it. Then, I saw Styles P at Alchemist’s and asked him to come to my house the next day, and he did. Now, I had two verses and knew where it was going. This was one of those songs that you build on. It was turning into something bigger. That was cool. I had to think about who I was gonna finish it out with. Who was gonna clean this record up? And, it was like, “Oh” — Rapsody cleaned it up, crazy! She did it really fast and I love the way she re-did the 50 Cent “21 Questions,” you know in that style? The song is dope too. I think I set it off with my flow, and Styles P heard what I did and I think he took it up a notch, and then, I think she heard what we did and took it up another level. I think the song constantly gets better as it goes along. She killed it!!
You reunited with DJ Premier for “10,000 Hours.” We hear the classic cuts along with the recognizable Dre and Snoop sample. Is your line, “I took my time to find my own sh*t, 10,000 hours” a reference to Malcolm Gladwell’s famous theory?
I guess it is. I wasn’t aware that he was the creator of that theory. I guess there is a book that he did. I don’t even know. To be honest, he got brought to my attention after. I knew of the saying, but I wasn’t aware of its origin. I don’t know what 10,000 hours are, but I’d imagine it’s about a year. So, it’s 10,000 hours to master your craft, but you can’t do in one year because that would mean no sleep, nothing else. 24 hours of every day and that’s impossible. Normally 10,000 hours into a human life turns out to five or six years.
I love the creativity for the Nottz-produced video “Jim Dean,” featuring cuts by DJ Babu. What inspired the concept to narrate the lyrics by fusing moving and still images together bringing SSUR shirts to life?
I just wanted to bring photos to life. Trying to make something next level. I think videos used to cost a lot of money when they were shot on film, so not everyone could have one. But now, we all have a camera and it’s not hard to make a video. But to make a good one is a different story. I think any artist that’s doing their music and takes the time to care for their packaging, and takes the time to care for their merch, and takes the time to care for their videos, shows the audience that they really believe in their project more than somebody who thinks the audio is great, but then does nothing else towards it. I think the music is obviously everything, but there are a lot of important components you can put on top of that to sell your dream.
Last question, can you talk a little about Prodigy and his passing? How it has affected your camp of friends? I know Alchemist and you were really close to him.
Yea… I think it’s been very surreal for everybody. If you want my honesty, I think it’s still really hard for us to even accept. Let’s not forget to remind ourselves that in his prime, on his A game, at the best point of his career, he was un-f*ck-with-able. You know what I mean? To me, that’s a top five MC. So, when you’ve made an impact like that, it does a weird thing to your mind. The same thing happens with DJ AM, who was my good friend. It becomes surreal. You’ve made such an impact on peoples lives, it’s like he’s still here. You know, they’re not seen but the energy and what’s left is still here.
Honestly, I haven’t had time to grieve for Prodigy yet. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I didn’t go to the funeral, maybe there wasn’t closure on it, I don’t know. It just hasn’t struck me and I know it will. Those things happen at odd times, you never know. I can be honest and say the last of it is that Prodigy was my friend and he was my real friend, but he was Alchemist’s like a real-real friend. So, that could be why also. I knew him, but not as well as some of his real friends do, so they are probably hurting on a whole different level.
I do have unreleased music with Prodigy that I had made a few weeks before he passed, which is so scary. We went to Europe, we said peace, we did a song together, we listened to it together at my house and then that’s it. Now, it’s just sitting on my computer. I’m a little unsure what to do with it. I’m sure I’ll find the right thing and go through the proper channels when it’s time to do that.