This was „long awaited“: a sign of life of the Dilated Peoples. “Weatherman” Evidence has recently released his new LP. It’s called Weather Or Not.
Interview by Susanne Exner & Marcel Schlegel
Weather Or Not versus Cats & Dogs. From a musical point of view: What is different between these albums?
EV: Weather Or Not is “go big or go home” attitude. That’s how I wanted it to sound from the jump. Records I could perform for a year straight.
Did you approach the making of the new record differently?
EV: Same Engineer, Eddie Sancho, and a lot of familiar faces on the beats with a few new names like Nottz, Budgie & SamIYam who I never worked with before. It’s based off the same blueprint as my other three solo records, but the architecture above the ground is a little more modern perhaps.
Making an album is a very personal thing. It’is probably not always easy to decide who to invite for features – you’re leaving parts of your “baby” to the care of others. Slug, Jonwayne, Rapsody, Styles P, of course Rakaa and others make their appearance on “Weather Or Not”. How do you decide on who’s going to be a guest MC?
EV: This album was a choice to work with only people I know and had direct contact with. The majority of everyone who is featured did their vocals at my house, or at minimum, were at my house chilling and getting ideas and then cut the vocals at their studio. But the bulk was done on the same mic going through the same mic pre amp. I hope you can hear the consistency, because it was intentional.
Anyways, why those features?
EV: I don’t always know who is gonna be on what beat, actually sometimes it goes exact opposite of what I was thinking. I do love the journey of it all though and how we finally arrive at what to keep and what to scrap.
Do the guest MCs choose their beats themselves?
EV: I usually show the MC the concept, and beat that belongs to that concept. Rarely do I play a bunch of beats, by the time I’m looking for a guest, I like to present them an idea or a direction that I was thinking about and hopefully they can better my idea into something even greater.
Let’s discuss lyrics – do you talk about them with the guest MCs or do you trust them blindly?
EV: Mostly talk to them. I’m shaping an album so everything usually has a direction, even if that direction is just rapping about rapping, at least we know it’s a go-for-yours type of joint versus a concept, and vice versa.
Defari also released a record after many years. It’s called Rare Poise. Fans had to wait ages and ages. Many already gave up on the idea. You produced it. How excited were you – both, as a fellow musician and fan – that Defari Herut is back?
EV: Defari took time off to be a great father and has a high paying job, so he never fell off at all, he was just occupied doing other shit. Every time he gets in the booth it’s always fun for me to hear him. He was a great dancer and that’s how his vocals sound to me, good rhythm and funky.
What does it feel like to be producing for a fellow MC – to be in a different role?
EV: I like both roles. I wanna be known as a double threat: produce, rap, whatever.
The Dilated Peoples root back to 1992 when you met Rakaa. Three years later him, DJ Babu and you became a group. The first record dropped in 2000. You guys have always been thought of as a unit. How does an Ev record differ from a DP record?
EV: It’s more about me personally and not basing it around concepts that Rakaa and I can both agree on. I don’t have to get approval or check in with anyone, I can simply say what I want and be responsible for it 100 %.
To what extent are Babu and Rakaa involved in an Ev record?
EV: They always check in with me and tell me that they are there for whatever I need be it small or big. Rakaa has written hooks for me before and been featured. Babu has done beats and cuts a lot over all the solo albums, so I would say it’s my version of Dilated, but I still have the full support of my crew.
Dilated Peoples have a big fan base in Europe. How important was Europe, was Germany for your guy’s career?
EV: I would say: very important. Rakaa was always adamant about doing shows in Europe.
He said, when America doesn’t care anymore, these people will.
And to an extent he was right. Germany and farther East have always showed a lot of love.
How do you experience the hip-hop community in Europe compared to the U.S.? Is there a difference?
EV: I don’t know if there is a difference beyond language barrier sometimes. Besides the culture differences and lifestyles varying, it’s still just a bunch of people in a building or a field trying to enjoy music they like.
You’re in business for about 25 years now, is it still fun?
EV: It’s what I love doing or I would be doing something else. It feeds my family and feeds me creatively, so as long as that’s happening, yes I’m happy.
What’s the best thing about it?
EV: The best thing about making music is it keeps you young.
Describe your tracks from the album with just one word, please!
- The Factory – Industrial
- Throw it all away – Introspective
- Powder Cocaine – Grateful
- Jim Dean – Gigantic
- Weather Or Not – Powerful
- Moving too fast – Beautiful
- Runners – Synchronized
- Bad Publicity – Ugly
- Rain Drops – Innovative
- Sell me this pen – Mean
- Love is a funny thing – Smart
- 10,000 hours – Confident
- What I Need – Honest
- To Make A Long Story Longer – Dusty
- Wonderful World – Sonic
- By My Side too – Deep
Last but not least: What’s your favorite track from the record and why?
EV: That’s for you to decide, I’m just the chef.