Evidence, it's been awhile since we last spoke. What have you been up to?
The Weatherman LP dropped last year, that was my first solo record. My next album Cats&Dogs is in the works. It's an interesting title, not exactly what everyone was expecting me to call it but the name makes a lot of sense. On the last line of "Mr. Slow Flow" I said, "A new rain out the smoke and fog/Umbrellas up, it’s raining cats and dogs. I always knew I was going to name my second album that. That's the big plan right now, Cats&Dogs. What happened was I just really started getting in the lab a lot. My manager was really pushing me to stay active. I was doing a lot of shows but he said we had to maximize the efforts by giving the world some freestyles and songs that had been sitting in the computer doing nothing.
So we started going to the studio a lot, basically every day and we started working on that. I just started banging out, out of nowhere, two or three songs a day and taking on a work ethic, one that I've always had but I never really pushed to the potential. I mean I stay working on beats 24/7 but I was never like, 'I have to push a certain amount of product.' I'm accumulating this material and putting it out on the 'net and getting good responses so that sparked the idea to do The Layover EP, which will drop on November 25th on Decon/Taylor Made. The EP is not an LP. It was only supposed to be 5 or 6 songs. I can't settle at that. I’ma put 9 songs with a second disk with 6 to 8 Videos of the material on the EP.I want everybody to understand that this is my best foot forward. This isn't a side project I'm doing for a quick check.
The Layover EP is going to be a great way to build the anticipation for Cats&Dogs.
Also, The Layover mixtape is gonna be dropping within the next couple weeks.
DJ Skee is one of my favorite West Coast DJs and he agreed to do my tape. I did one last year with DJ Monky out of Chicago and that was dope but it's definitely a big thing working with DJ Skee. He has all the material and it's crazy. That's going to be a free download for y'all and hopefully we're going to start doing something bigger. I never stop doing the shows-which have been very good to me. I've proven over the years I can produce and know what it takes to write a successful song, my next task is to really show people I can spit. In a lot of cases rappers careers work the exact opposite of that.
Did you hold onto too many songs when you were making The Weatherman LP?
That happens. Time testing is the best thing that can happen for anyone while making a record. As a rapper and as a producer sometimes it's easy to love everything you do, but if you listen to something for an extensive amount of time, you might look at it differently. Sometimes it's good to get material out right when you do it, that way there is no time to second guess what you dropped. What's crazy is that for so many years artists like myself and for artists that were signed to majors, there was a year delay on music. For real! There was a year delay on records. By the time your label went through all that bullshit it was a year or some shit. Nowadays it's really not like that. We can do these records and get them out fast and for me to not take advantage of that, what artist doesn't want to do that? It's an exciting time for me.
Is it better for an artist like you to put music out as soon as it's done?
Yes and no. I like to revise my stuff and my music has to make it past a few people like the Alchemist or Joey Chavez. Maybe I don't have as much time to filter it if I finish it on Thursday night and it's getting mastered on Friday. (laughs) But I'm not scared about that. It's a challenge and it's about creativity and that's what music is. It's fun for me. I do creative shit and I've had fun these last couple of years. I've done pretty good as far money goes which is a complete blessing. I don't have a 9 to 5 so I really want to take advantage of this right now. I've always been a producer/rapper and I'll continue to do what I do. Producing is a part of me and if I don't do it daily or weekly I feel like something is missing. Lately I've switched into rapping mode which is dope because you can't rap forever, but you can produce forever. You know what I mean. I still have that edge in my heart and I still feel like I can jump into crowds. Until that goes away I'm excited about these endeavors coming up in the next some years.
Do you still have the same drive when it comes to producing that you had in the past?
I have a catalogue of music on disks. If I never made another beat I could still play new shit every day for quite some time. But I feel like I have something to offer right now as far as rapping and performing-things you can't do as easily with old age. I'm here right now and I just want to capture the moment and just live out some of this shit before I start living at home with a wife and kids-making beats in the garage and being back in the house for fucking dinner. (laughs) And I just did "Hell's Kitchen" on the new Heltah Skeltah album. I'm proud of that and I'm working with Billy Danze on his solo shit. I'm proud of that. I produced a bunch of shit and hopefully you can't tell I did it.
One of your freestyles, "Celeb Reality," really let us into your days before Dilated Peoples. Were you happy with how people responded to that song?
Definitely. That was so fresh and so refreshing for me to do. It was so cool, just to be able to talk about my life. We were just sitting back and I was thinking about all those people I came up with in my circle. And they all came up one way or another. I came up in a really talented circle and it's really crazy. Everybody I know has done something notable..It's wild. Jenny Lewis, I used to make out with her when I was young. I was really upset that I forgot to put that in there! I did put "Mark Ronson before the accent" line in the song,a lot of people thought it was funny that I did that.
So Mark Ronson has a fake British accent?
I don't know. Humans, we adapt to our situation. I'm in California and I talk like that, but if I go to Queensbridge for a few months, "son" is going to slip out of my months a few times. It's just going to happen. Maybe when I was talking to him he was just vibing like Californians, but what I knew was not what you hear today.
You also talk about knowing will.i.am back in the day. What's the story on that?
What I'm saying is actually deeper than that line. Maybe if you talk to him you can tell him my quote and see what he thinks that line means. I'm not going to tell you the story but I will say that Will always was the most talented of anybody coming out around us. He was the best dancer and the best rapper and all the girls fucking liked him and he was dressed fucking weird....He's actually on The Layover EP. I got a song called "For Whom The Bell Tolls" feat Phonte, Blu and Will I Am. It's not some industry record. These people I really feel and they really came through for me In a major way.
How did you end up going to school with so many people that would become famous?
I always went to school in Santa Monica even though I lived in Venice. We (Dilated) got our first deal on Sony in ‘94 and I used some of that money along with some money that my Mom had and we found this private school where you could go from 9-1 and make up your credits and just do minimum work. There were a lot of kids from Malibu there and me and Alchemist were the only hip-hop kids there and we were so out of place. Nicole Richie and a lot of people were there. It was pretty cool. I hope one of them says, "Damn, Alchemist went there!" (laughs) It was fucking crazy.
You also have a line where you say, "Understanding the red is how you get in the black." That's something a lot of MCs don't always acknowledge.
Since '04 I've been on a real rollercoaster with the passing of my Mom. I was always a strong person. When I was young I always felt like I was a real strong person mentally and after my Mom's passing It felt like it was the first time I lost control of that and became depressed. I've been working my way up and have been comfortable enough to talk about it. I haven't bounced back. You never bounce back from that, but I'm bouncing, currently.
And going back to that, it's something that was mentally so bad that it started manifesting on me physically. I'm not saying not to take medicine but that's how powerful your mind is. Your mind is very important. It just took time to heal this. Time was the best way because there are no two situations that are the same. People can relate to what happened but they don't fully know what happened. It's a personal experience that you have to go through on your own. Time is the best way.
Will Cats&Dogs be more upbeat when compared to The Weatherman LP?
Yes. I did get a lot of shit out that I wanted to say. My MySpace heading was "Under Public Artist Development." That's what I feel like I'm doing right now. When a label finds an artist that they want to put money behind, they won't put them out right away. They'll develop him/her and let him grow and then they'll start working it. Rap, they don't do that. They just start throwing shit out. I've gone through a lot of changes, lyrically and vocally and I don't know if I will ever find myself totally. I don't know if I will. I'm tired of hiding it and then trying to reveal this new thing. I'm just going to keep changing and whittling away publicly. (laughs) So yeah, expect change. Don't expect the same thing.
Do you have songs in your catalogue that you listen to today and regret putting it out?
If I feel that way about it I don't even listen to it. I'm not even hearing it.
What songs are they?
There are some where I just hate myself on them, but I don't want to tell you what songs because people love them and they tell me how it changed them. Who am I? I'm just the cook. (laughs)
What inspired "For Whatever It's Worth"?
Babu came up with the title and the beat just inspired me. The beat inspired me. You know, at the end of the day, that's all this really is, for whatever it's worth. I don't want to get deep and start sounding like a psycho but it's true. We're making this music so that we can live on and our music can live on. How long are these plastic tapes going to last on for anyway? If a bomb hit everything's going to blow up anyway. It's dope and I hope it lives on. For whatever it's worth I hope it lives on. I don't have the answers. That's really what that song is about – putting out honest feelings. A lot of people felt it should have gone on The Weatherman LP. It's honest rap and not hiding behind punchlines.
When I get your songs and play them in iTunes, the genre comes up "Prog-Hop." What's going on with that?
One week I'm a backpacker another day I'm underground. There's no definitive term for what that means. Now there's "hipster" and depending on who I'm hanging out with and how much weight I lost I might be that. I don't know. Alchemist and I were talking about how radio and video talks about what hip-hop is and that's not what we are currently doing all the time. Are we lost? I dunno. What I do know is this is a very creative time for me and it's on some progressive thinking. Prog Rock broke a lot of barriers with 8, 9, 10 minute long songs and different formats. I'm calling my shit prog-hop because I'm not trying to make that channel of hip-hop right now. We have our outlets with the internet and live shows. If your doing progressive shit or If you feel like you're doing something that not everybody understands or they'll get it later then call it prog-hop in your I Tunes.
Why did you go with Decon for The Layover EP?
I have known them for a long time and have watched them grow. I like idea of working with a Multi Media Company, not just a traditional record company. I am independent and thinking outside the box should be par for the course for all artists in my current situation. Having videos to go with my audio is a plus in an era where music has become difficult to sell for most.
When should we expect to see Cats&Dogs?
I took some of Cats&Dogs and I put it on The Layover EP. I took verses off songs that I already had completed and replaced them with guests that I wanted to work with. Especially because I want to keep the guests limited on my next LP. There's three songs that I have for Cats&Dogs that I'm not separating from. I have three just to set the tone because they're emotionally right and sonically right and they're time-tested. When I make an album I like to make and mix two songs and get them right-right away and say that nothing can be below that sonically or emotion-wise or whatever. If you don't top yourself all the time and you fall short, you still set a pretty high bar.
I still feel like Cats&Dogs is going to be great and I'm kind of washing away my sophomore jinx chance by dropping an EP now that's really solid. Even though it's not my second album it might feel like Cats&Dogs is my third offering because I'm making this next offering so complete. When yall hear what I put down you should be pleasantly surprised, especially with the price. I Just Dropped The title cut, "The Layover", produced by Khrysis, has been getting an amazing response from my fans. I’m going to release the full track listing this week so please stay posted!
What's been going on with Rakaa and DJ Babu?
Rakaa's working on Crown of Thorns and it should be right. I heard a song him and Babu were working on called "Connect the Dots". I can tell the world how sick it is because I finally heard the shit! Duck Season Volume 3 is sick. Babu really outdid himself. That drops October 28th.
Will we hear a Dilated Peoples album anytime soon?
I'm going to stop saying yes and that it's coming. I'll just say that it'll be right when it's right. That's all I can really say. Hopefully with all of our projects and all of our live shows you can see that the unity is really good. The right situation for us to put out the record hasn't surfaced yet. We've come close to two separate situations and they both haven't been right. With Evidence I'm doing things that most artists do when they're starting out their careers. With Dilated we have standards and it's not as easy to just press "Reset." We're doing well right now. It's just a creative time right now. I keep saying that over and over. I'm really at that point in my career where I'm really making music to be making music and that's it. That's as far as it goes.
Download Evidence’s single “The Layover” here: http://www.zshare.net/audio/202107376eccb0f3