interview EVIDENCE  (November 2008) | Interview By: Javon Adams

   ďSnow is on the way because the Weatherman predicted.Ē Evidence has flow and there is no doubt about that. The potent lyricist that makes up 1/3 of the group Dilated Peoples stepped out on his own last year and while the group is still together Evidence has more to say on the solo tip. Javon recently hooked up with Evidence as he prepares to let the world of Hip Hop know that his debut The Weatherman LP was just the beginning of things to come. Evidence talks about his Layover Mixtape [Download Today] and Layover EP and his thought process behind them.

We also find out how much importance Evidence places on the chemistry of the emcee and producer. You might be shocked to hear what Ev has done with his vinyl collection and what he recommends you do if you happen to catch your favorite rapper dropping a dud live on stage. Evidence is a cool cat and youíll think so too after taking a few minutes to check out the interview.

As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to
Javon Adams.

Interview was done in October 2008

Questions Asked By: Javon Adams

Evidence Interview Audio: Listen Here

Evidence Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout: Listen Here
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Dubcnn: Evidence welcome back to dubcnn.com. How are things?

Everything is extra ordinary. *laughs* Thatís two words not one.

Dubcnn: I wanted to get right into it, man. The term underrated is often used when your name is mentioned so how do you go from being underrated to more widely appreciated for what you do as an artist? Or does that matter to you right now?

Iím at a real interesting point in my career right now. Last year I was trying to gain everyoneís approval because it was my first solo album. I was very concerned with making sure that everyone understood what I was doing. Last year was like my talent show and I was trying to put people on to what I was doing. Itís difficult to build a new brand so thatís what I was doing. I was giving out a lot of promo t-shirts, so to speak. I was building the brand.

This year Iím getting into a real creative process that I never really got into before. Itís not that Iíve stopped caring but I stopped reading magazines, watching TV and listening to radio so much and focused on being creative. On some real sh*t. I know that people say that all the time but I have people like Alchemist, Sid Roams and Babu and all kinds of creative people around me and I felt like itís time to stop caring about what other people do and get into my own sh*t. As a result its opening up a lot of doors right now.

Underrated is a big compliment to me because it just means that you havenít really landed yet. As far as reaching more people, I think that because I am getting content with who I amÖnot just as a rapper but as a man and my existence on earthÖthat it will be more light. And people are attracted to light. So hopefully they will get attracted to my world and I wonít necessarily have to go out seeking it so much. Hopefully I can bring it to me more this year through work ethic and a lot of live shows.

Dubcnn: I want to speak about the fruits of you building your brand in a minute. But now that the Weatherman LP has been out for over a year lets look back on it for just a second. Are you happy with the way it performed in the marketplace? And talk about what stepping out on your own taught you?

Iím still in the process of (unintelligible) myself to be honest. From í96 Ė í00 is kind of what I am mirroring right now. Iím trying to do a better version of that because that is when we were on the vinyl sh*t only. We were hustling sh*t through Fat Beats and doing shows from people who would just give us gigs for cash at the end of the night with no booking agency. It was real innocent and that was why Dilated took off and created a bidding war and buzz. Iím really just trying to go that route right now with building the fu*king process up.

Dubcnn: Did the album do what you thought it would do?

The album sales were not as good as they could have been but there are positives in the sales. For instance, Iím a year and a half out and my second video ďChase the Clouds AwayĒ just made Sucka Free Sundays on MTV. How does that happen? Itís a different hustle. So to answer your question directly itís showing me that you can give up on something you believe in and independently it takes a lot longer to reach people than it did through the system. That (the system) kinda got me lazy. Putting out 3-4 records through Capitol I could always expect between $150,000-$300,000 marketing budget that would put me at a certain spot. I could always expect a $100,000 video. I could always expect our group to be splitting up an advance of $200,000 every year. It does make you a little lazy and I am happy that I am off that situation because I have a lot of freedom to do whatever the fu*k I want, whenever the fu*k I want. Thatís the kind of artist that I think a lot of people should be right now. I keep saying it, but I think the superstar sh*t is dead. The whole ĎIím on the stage, youíre in the crowd and look at me and worship meí sh*t is over. Get dirty and shake hands and do that sh*t. Thatís what Iím trying to do right now.

Dubcnn: You mentioned getting back to that independent spirit. I read where you said that your debut album gave you an opportunity to give fans more of Evidence. The responsibility was all yours from the design to featuresÖ

Yup, thatís what we talked about last time with dubcnn.

Dubcnn: Right. So having experienced that liberation does that help you when you get back to record with Dilated and be an even better group member?

I canít tell you that yet because I havenít done it yet. Iím really charging up for Dilated Peoples. The thing with Dilated is that we always wanted to do music with each other. I love making music with Rakaa. Heís like a big brother and I have learned so much from that dude and I donít want it to be anything forced. In the last year or two I have recorded more than I have in a long time but not on Dilated People songs. Iíve worked with Rakaa and his album Ten Crown of Thorns which is the album he is about to drop. Babu has Duck Season 3 coming out in October. So they have to catch up right now. And I donít mean that I am better or ahead I mean that they have to go through the cycle of what I went through in terms of revealing an individual identity outside of Dilated Peoples.

I think once they get to do that, especially Rakaa, then it will be really dope. Itís like being in a marriage and you say, ĎI just want to go out and fu*k for a couple of weekends.í *laughs* ĎIím going to go out on some player sh*t and Iíll be back and hopefully you understand that.í Then you feel that you donít have to go out and do that stuff because you feel that you have an understanding. Maybe thatís a bad metaphor. Maybe itís not. *laughs* My point is that once he gets to have his freedom and I have already had mineÖI think weíll be able to really see eye to eye and get busy. Right now I want to make sure our mindset is right when we hit the lab again.

Dubcnn: You are about to start that cycle again. You have a new mixtape called The Layover and a sophomore album Cats and Dogs on the horizon. What can you tell us about those projects? Will Alchemist be holding down most of the product again? What about you on the beats? Tell us about it.

Iím grateful that people enjoy the production that I do and I want to continue to do that for myself. However, I am around a lot of people who are doing ill sh*t. My sh*t has to go through the same process that theirs does in order to make the album. Iím not just going to use an Evidence track because Iím Evidence and itís my album. Thatís how you hurt yourself. If I can make something on the same level as DJ Khalil or Crisis or Alchemist or some of the people that Iím working with then it will make it. But at the end of the day I am presenting myself as a rapper. Iíve been rapping a lot latelyÖin the last month I have probably spent 26 of the 30 days in the studio from 11am to around 3 or 5am. I have recorded about 25 to 30 freestyles right now and I have been leaking a couple of them.

I want people to understand that Iím on some creative sh*t. When you say you are creative you canít just say itÖyou have to put it out there. Hopefully my words are good but my actions are better.

Here is how it will go. The Layover mixtape is first and that will be hosted hopefully by DJ Skee, who is one of my favorites. [Editors Note: This interview was pre-release on Dubcnn; the Layover Mixtape has gone on to record over 40,000 Dubcnn Downloads]. Dubcnn knows him well. Iím going to do an actual Layover EP and it will have six songs of brand new material. I kind of want it to be like Pete Rock and CL Smoothís first album. That EP they put out before Mecca and the Soul Brother was so fly. It made you want to go buy that sh*t. I got one track from Sid Roams, two from Khrysis, I have one and one or two from Alchemist. That will be the Layover EP which will hit around November 11th.

I wonít say the label its on but I did start my own label called Taylor Made Records. My motherís last name was Taylor and she passed away and I really want to continue her legacy. So I took her signature for Taylor and added ĎMade Recordsí after it. So the logo has a lot of importance and it really powerful to me and I think we are going to have success because of it. This will be the first thing on Taylor Made Records slash Ďsomething elseí but I am not going to reveal it yet because I am still doing paperwork. Hopefully all this sh*t is just promoting Cats & Dogs.

Iím talking to Mick Boogie to do another tape to promote Cats & Dogs after the Layover EP. I just have to understand that itís a big world right now and being an artist who is reserved and in the shadows is of the past. Maybe if you had a label that put a lot of money into you but I donít think it is possible to overexpose yourself. In the next year Iím going to try to go the Ďoverexposing myselfí route.

Dubcnn: I saw the video on your myspace that touched on your production and saw the Taylor Made Records logo on there too. It touched on how you have done away with a lot of your vinyl collection and decided to keep what I call a mini-arsenal of records that you feel are most useful to you. What prompted you to prune your vinyl tree so to speak?

I just had so many records and it was taking up all this space. Since we are entering the digital age Iím doing a lot of online digging. I might find things online or have a record and go search for other things online or vice versa. I am making a lot of my beats on the Reason program now. So using more software as opposed to hardware. I still have my MPC and my ASR, which I love and I still make a lot of stuff using those. Iím not going to abandon that. But I started asking myself why I had three and four copies of a record. For what? I donít want to be 60 or 70 years old and have all my shoes from when I was young. Thatís one of the things my mother always did. She always kept sh*t. Iíd be asking Ďwhy are we keeping this?í *laughs* So I cleaned it all out and the vinyl rack that you saw was just samples. I still have a hip hop vinyl room that I canít part with ever. So every piece of vinyl in the sample rack has a reason for being there. Maybe a drum record or a library record or something Iíve sampled in the past that I wanted to keep. Everything there has a reason. I broke it down to maybe 1,000 records.

Dubcnn: Thatís still quite a lot. But you are an accomplished emcee and a talented producer so how important is chemistry between an emcee and a producer?

Iíve been learning that it gets deeper than that. The chemistry between a rapper and producer as a person is important. Then the chemistry with the producerís rhythm is just as important. Itís two different things. For example, if its an Alchemist beat because I have rapped over his drums for so many years I really understand his swing. As a result I will probably do better on his stuff then from some guy that I just get beats from somewhere. Thatís because I understand him as a person and his rhythm. Same thing with Sid Roams (Joey Chavez & Bravo). I can rap on their beats the best. I grew up with them in Venice and I understand them as people and producers and it comes out fresh. I think it is very important but there are cases where you donít have to meet the guy and magic happens but that happens randomly. To create a vibe with the people you really have to be tight with the people. Thatís why I think the Weatherman LP worked because everyone from the guests to the producers were people that I had in my rolodex and already knew with the exception of Slug from Atmosphere. I didnít know him very well but I knew him well enough to cold call him and he didnít hang up on me. *laughs* Friends make better music than strangers.

Dubcnn: I know you have another long studio night ahead of you so let the folks know where to stay up on whatís going on with Evidence. The floor is yours man.

Well, Iíll just sound like every other person in the world. My MySpace is up and I try to keep it a little more interactive than a lot of people do. It gets checked everyday and sometimes hourly. New posts to keep you informed on what I am doing as well as the people are around me. Like Alchemist is coming with his album in late October like Babu. My man 88 Keys is coming out with his album in Late October. Stuff like that is what you will find there.

If you could check me out live I would really appreciate you doing that. I feel like some of my recording are good but when I memorize the recordings and do them live I feel I get better at doing those songs. Sometimes I wish I could go in an re-record a lot of my sh*t now.

Dubcnn: Not to cut you off but I was at the show that you did in Tucson, AZ when you were touring with Little Brother. The energy that you had on stage was good and it was great show.

Thank you. Sometimes my energy doesnít come off on vinyl as much as I would like but then I learn how to do it live. So check out the live sh*t. I would definitely recommend that. And for any rapper you likeÖif you see him doing so sh*t you donít like then throw some sh*t at him.

Dubcnn: *laughs* Thanks again for your time man.



Evidence Interview Audio: Listen Here

Evidence Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout: Listen Here

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