music / Columns

411 Music Interview: Evidence of Dilated People

October 13, 2011 | Posted by Bill Wannop

Evidence has long been known as a member of the rap group Dilated Peoples since 1992. He has been an active producer, making tracks for his group as well as other artists such as Kanye West. He recently dropped his latest solo album Cats & Dogs on Rhymesayers Entertainmentand we had an opportunity to catch up with him to ask him about the album as well as future recordings with the group, rapping vs. producing, the number 13, updates on “The Stepbrothers” album with The Alchemist, news on the next Dilated Peoples album, physical vs. digital media and much more!


Tell us about your latest release Cats & Dogs?

Evidence: This is my second official solo release. I have done other solo stuff as well like the Layover EP and the I Don’t Need Love EP, mixtapes and what have you but not an official record. I dropped it on Rhymesayers, a label out of Minneapolis. I am part of Dilated Peoples, that’s my crew, this is not a departure from the crew of any sort, it’s more of an avenue for me be creative and to do stuff in the time between our last and our next album.

What has the response been to the release of the album?

Evidence: Pretty good as far as I saw, I haven’t been reading all the press cus if you get a good one, you feel like you owe somebody something and you get a bad one you feel like you want to jump off a bridge so I just kind of been gauging it on twitter and facebook and stuff like that. My immediate fans, the ones that I have been in contact with all seem to be pretty happy so that is a good gauge right there.

How does cats & Dogs differ from your other releases?

Evidence: Umm I wouldn’t say it is a sequel but I would say its definitely made of the same glue, maybe the architecture of the building is a little bit different but the foundation is still there.

On the album you made a point of leaving out track 13. Why did you decide to do that?

Evidence: Because I’m a Mason (laughing). No I’m kidding, hotels don’t have 13 floors, there is no 13th street in my neighbourhood. The number itself is thought as being cursed, so I thought on the album that I would just leave it out. Also because track 14 “To be continued” so I kind of thought it would be cool to leave 13 out and 14 kind of talks about it.

You have done a lot of production in recent years, producing for everyone from Kanye West to Apathy. However on the album Cats & Dogs you only produced one track (“I Don’t Need Love”), why was that?

Evidence: I did more than one, just one made the album. It’s hard when you have friends like Alchemist and Babu and Premier sitting around you. Just to say cus I made these they have to go on. I just felt like there was one that really sat well with all these other high class producers, not to say that the others one weren’t as good, just that they didn’t seem to fit as well as that one did so i put my ego aside and just kept one but next time I would like to do more, I am going to make a conscious effort to do that.

What do you like better, producing or rapping?

Evidence: If I have something to say then the rapping, but if i was just to do one thing in the morning like pick up a pen and a pad or sit and go dig through some records to go come up with a beat, it would be the beat.

There was a somewhat long delay between the release of your last major release and this one. Why such a long delay?

Evidence: Well its… and I don’t fault anybody for what I am about to say but there are people who are really focussed on everything you are doing and there are other people who kind of come around and I’m not mad either, but of course I appreciate the first one more but, the other way is not bad either. So if you have been riding out with me or checking you know the Layover EP came out in 2008, 2009 I Don’t Need Love EP and the Layover mixtape with DJ Skee, there is a lot of stuff I have been doing for the people who have been checking twitter so to speak. For the others who don’t, I’m not mad at them I appreciate them as well, I can see how you can view it as that but I’ve been pretty active, it’s just I got with a new label and there are other people on the label it is not just me and we lack the timing to just go hard so you can’t help it.

Speaking of your new label, why did you decide to sign with Rhymesayers Entertainment

Evidence: Because it gets cold in Minneapolis and they really have nothing else to do but work rap (laughing), I think they would rather be in the office, where it is warm and a nice television then trying to go to the club at negative degrees with the windchill factor included so I would rather them be going in late working on my project then someone in a label in Hollywood when at 5 o’clock you get tempted to leave the office

There was a little bit of a joke to the last question. I hope that came through.

In your opinion what is the difference between an independent label and a major label?

Evidence: What’s the difference? Major labels you get money up front and you never see anything after that and independent labels you get nothing up frond and you never see anything after (laughing)… Except for rhymesayers….

You have stated that you are going to do a full album with Teh Alchemist called The Stepbrothers, why do you guys have such chemistry (pardon the pun) together?

Evidence: Cus his name is Al the chemist… (laughing)…. Umm because we are just doing a grown up adolescent version of that.

Do you have an idea of when the album is going to be coming out?

Evidence: Nope. I am never going to promise a date ever again (laughing)

You also have stated that you are going to start the album process again with Dilated Peoples. When can we expect that album?

Evidence: No date promises but soon.

Why do you, the Dilated Peoples, work so well as a group?

Evidence: Years of just being on the same team, having the same players, you know what I mean? It’s nice when you don’t rotate in trying to figure out new people to set you back. So we might be working on some old equipment that we know very well.

Was the plan always to release solo albums in between your group albums?

Evidence: Ya that was the plan, but we weren’t really allowed to do it under our old contract at Capital as easily as we thought, so we kind of just aired it out, until the deal was over.

In recent years there has been a big change towards digital releases. Jay-Z & Kanye West basically prevented their album from leaking by releasing it first as a digital only release. Do you think that physical releases will soon be a thing of the past?

Evidence: It will always have a place, it might become more and more novelty, you know, but cds may become what vinyl is now, it’s getting there. I mean all it’s all based on money. The higher power, BMW’s don’t come with cd players anymore, then there is not going to be anymore cd’s. Other people dictate that it’s not just us (laughing). We little people down here don’t control it. That’s how it’s going to go, then that’s how it’s going to go. People will always want music. There will be a handful of artists, not a lot, but a handful where people know that there is a bigger picture and that artists cares about the fans. I don’t know who, some know who they are but that means that if you buy a cd, then that means you probably went to a concert and that means that the person was waiting in line for the shows, so that means that the chance of getting the cd signed are greater. You want the retail, because you know that is going to lead to something else. I think there are a handful of artists that will always sell that kind of stuff. Even if it is viewed more as merch then as the means of actually playing the music.

Thanks for your time. Tell the fans what you have been up to and what you have planned for the near future

Evidence: I just finished touring with Atmosphere for about a month and a half. Then I did Rock The Bells in between that. Now I have a release party coming up in Vegas, then I fly to South America, with Dilated for a show, then back home, work on Grouch’s Christmas tour, on the West Coast, then I am going to Europe with Rhymesayers, with the majority of the label, I am pretty much booked up until January which is a good feeling. And if all goes well I will start headlining a solo US tour.

For more information on Evidence or to order his album cats & Dogs head to Rhymesayers Entertainment

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Bill Wannop

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