Grammy Award Winning MC Evidence of Dilated Peoples to release The Layover EP
“God forbid you’re not in a box,” says 31-year old Michael “Evidence” Perretta. “The earth would fall off its axis.” The Grammy Award-winning rapper and producer-who has worked with the Beastie Boys, Linkin Park, Swollen Members and Kanye West-has spent over a decade as one third of Dilated Peoples, a group that regularly transcends, excels within, and ignores labels. Over the course of five well-received studio albums, which have sold over one million records, the crew has seen lucidly beyond the muddled view of hip-hop’s distorted vision. Dilated Peoples has become one of the world’s most reliable and revered hip-hop acts, renown for their dynamic stage performances, devoutly engaging musical tracks and unyielding battle raps precisely by creating songs in the beat of life, conversationally rhyming about the world spinning around them from the standpoint of logic, clarity and accessible pedagogy while sidestepping the pedantic. For this, Evidence and his bandmates have been labeled as “underground,” “backpack,” or most indecisively, “alternative. “Backpack’ sucked, then ‘backpack’ was cool, then ‘backpack’ sucked again, now ‘backpack’ is cool again,” observes Evidence. “Alternative’ was wack now ‘alternative’ is better. All I know is I do what I do. I’m not ‘hipster,’ I’m not ‘gangsta.’ If it’s a backpack, I gotta buy one, ‘cause I don’t own one. I’m doing progressive hop. It’s a new genre. Put it in your iTunes.”
On his 2007 solo debut The Weatherman, Evidence received rave reviews from a myriad of publications-mainstream, niche and everything in between. His latest solo offering, The Layover EP (Decon Records), comes in the tradition of Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s All Souled Out, Ice Cube’s Kill at Will and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s Creepin on ah Come Up—mini LP’s that served an eager fan base with enduring, concentrated, filler-free product. The Layover EP is an absorbing installment in Evidence’s continued “public artist development;” one self-portrait in a series of shots from an artist who has been growing and improving since his emergence on the consumer stage. Lyrically, the MC comes from a venerated line of mic controllers—the inimitable KRS-One, god MC Rakim, the neck snapping PMD, gangsta rap godfather Ice-T-who meld substance and style, pacing and timing lines so that every word is given space for impact and ingestion.
The Layover EP is encased with clever lines, homages to dead friends and biographical affirmation. The intricately word-played “Don’t Hate” featuring longtime collaborator Defari of the Likwit Junkies is home to an ever-changing, Evidence-produced beat, over which the two friends tackle the subjects of self-worth, self-esteem and resiliency, bringing word to feeling with astuteness. On “For Whom the Bell Tolls” Evidence is joined by revered rhyme-forger Phonte (of Little Brother), widely-praised Los Angeles newcomer Blu and childhood friend will.i.am (of Black Eyed Peas) for meditations on life and death over cathedral gongs and operatic flourishes provided by North Carolina beatsmith Khrysis. Partner in crime The Alchemist makes special appearances on tracks “The Far Left” and “So Fresh,” while Panamanian soul singer Aloe Blacc croons on the hook of “To Be Determined.”
But, with The Layover EP and The Layover Mixtape (Evidence’s fist mixtape offering, a collaboration with Los Angeles’ DJ Skee), he gives fans a free download chockfull of focused rhymes, remixes, unreleased cuts and rarities) – Ev is shown experimenting, liquefying and spreading his lines in new ways. On The Layover Mixtape he is joined on “Half Off” by breakout LA rap duo U-N-I while on “Celeb Reality,” he impressively glides through lines about his upbringing: “Went to high school with Nicole Ritchie, she had braces/I could never fuck with school, wasn’t into this/My other classmate was Mikey from Incubus/My other girl wasn’t wifey, more like porno chick/My friend Alan, they now call him Alchemist/It’s a trip, I think Ethan Browne made me rap.”
Between group and solo dates, Evidence took the stage for 150 nights last year, alongside Dilated Peoples, Alchemist, Aceyalone, 88 Keys, Little Brother, Cypress Hill, Lupe Fiasco, Joell Ortiz, Atmosphere, Brother Ali and more. This month he’ll hit the road with Method Man, Redman & The Alchemist during the always popular cannabis-inspired “Still High Tour 2008.” In addition to The Layover EP and The Layover Mixtape, the prolific MC is working on his next full album, Cats & Dogs.
To download single “The Layover”