With a new solo album and a new label (Rhymesayers), rapper Evidence will be the first person to tell you he is prepared to put in nothing less than hard work. We caught up with him before his show right as he received the news his DJ (Fresh) couldn’t fly to the show due bad weather conditions. But obstacles be damned, not only did his improvisational DJ deliver, Evidence also brought a female fan onstage and began to do a flawless rhyming duet and fearlessly rocked the spot without any “evidence” of hesitation.
“In 2011 putting out a successful album is a mirror of your effort. If you’re working hard at it and you deserve it, you’re getting paid.”
How long have you been on tour?
I have literally been on tour since August. My new album, Cats & Dogs came out in September so it was a great set-up.
I saw one of your first shows back in ‘98 at the Barn at UC Riverside, a couple years before the first Dilated Peoples album dropped. That Evidence I witnessed back then shows a lot of similarities to you on your current album in terms of vulnerability. Would you say you’ve tapped into your roots as an artist to create this solo album?
Yo, that’s crazy, I remember that show, it was actually in a barn! I’ve been in Dilated for a minute, we’ve been through a lot and they’ve been the best, but I always wanted to do a solo album, just to find out if I could. Ever since my mom passed, I really wanted to write something for her. I had the song “I Still Love You” for a long time and I was trying to figure out where to put it. So the origin of it was personal but even though that was the motive, there was just a glimpse of that at the end of the album.
Being vulnerable and being honest is a little nerve racking. You hear of Van Gogh cutting his ear off for his art, you know, that sh*t must’ve hurt! The artist who puts out something hurtful goes through a very difficult process. If I say a punchline you don’t like or you don’t like my voice, I don’t care too much about that. If I’m talking about my money ain’t right or I’m missing my mom and you don’t like it, I’m going to hurt more.
The single, “You,” has a really proper beat by DJ Premier. How did that collaboration come about?
I actually used two Premier beats, “You” and the “The Epilogue.” I’ve known him for a long time and I worked with him on the second Dilated album. So I reached out to him right away. I’m proud of what we did because I feel like a lot of people use Premier if their record isn’t working. Or they got two Premier joints but they don’t use them as the single. That single we did, some people might consider that song throwback in 2011, I consider it…classic Premier.
Do you have a cat or a dog?
I would like a dog but I think I like cats better. I think dogs are the ultimate manipulator. I think they’re smarter than we give them credit for. Cat’s don’t play, they just like you or they don’t like you.
Do you remember where you performed last night?
To be honest with you, no. Wait a minute, yeah we were in Arizona last night. I think I got 2-3 hours of sleep then woke up at 6 to make it here (Albuquerque) for sound check. It’s a circus act repetition, after touring this long. But I’m grateful for all the fans I meet and I am most grateful for the new fans I’m making. That’s what it’s all about for this tour. In 2011, putting out a successful album is a mirror of your effort. If you’re working hard at it and you deserve it, you’re getting paid.
What are some of your staples in music.
Right now? Silence I mean, when you do it all day everyday, you don’t go to music as a refuge anymore. You go away from it.
I understand you’re working with Alchemist on a project. Can you tell me a little more about that?
That’s not something that’s on the forefront of my mind to be honest. I’ll talk about Step Brothers with Alchemist though, that’s my best friend. When I’m back in L.A., I wake up every morning and get on my bike or in my car and we get into something and make music every day. When we get a little time off in our schedules, we’re planning to bottle up 16 of these joints that we have sitting on the computer. It won’t be like the next group I’m entering, it will be something that’s been a long time coming.