Evidence: The Evidence Is All There

by Dwain Lucktung

“I mention her a lot on the album, as I realised I could be depressed for the rest of my life or I could just understand that it’s a part of a life cycle, and just to keep my head up and give her her props and the life that she deserves,” he says.

Evidence utters these words two years after his mother’s death. The reserved Californian has rolled on stage for years as an integral member of rap group Dilated Peoples, but is now alone in the limelight, with the March 20 release of his solo debut, The Weatherman LP. It is dedicated to the woman who raised him on the streets of Santa Monica.


On the 21-track album, bouncing beats, ill scratches and catchy hooks revolve around the relentless Ev, who spits pure adoration for his mother. It is obvious from the opening track, “I Know,” to the final song, “I Still Love You,” who the inspiration was for the record.

“Sometimes it’s a tricky situation because I feel like she’s not physically here to hear it,” he continues. “So I think, ‘Am I too late?’ Or ‘Am I doing this for selfish reasons?’ But after a while, I figured out its really good therapy for me, to give her the credit she deserves by celebrating her life through this album.”

It’s possible to say Ev literally jumped at a solo release after Dilated weighed out their contract with Capitol Records in 2006. The presentation of a platform to alleviate his status as a solo artist on the hip-hop map was too tempting, as Mr. Slow Motion explained that he has never let fans get too close to his private world over some 10 years of spitting and crowd-pumping alongside, and at times behind, close friends Rakaa and DJ Babu.

“I had a line on our last album, 20/20, where I said, ‘I wear my heart on my sleeve/I just got my jacket over it.’ That’s how I’ve always been, I put it out there but not all the way,” he says. “But on The Weatherman LP, you get to know Evidence because I’m letting you into my life and my guard isn’t up so much. I’ve shown a lot more vulnerability, so I’m not just that guy in a group; I’m establishing who I am as a person.”

Countless hours in the recording studios went into the album. The proud perfectionist claims he re-recorded each track around five times, and despite others’ praising him, saying, “This is good, we’re gonna make it, it’s the shit!” Ev would always respond with something like, “Fuck man, I gotta do this again!” Hard grinding, heart and soul, nothing less.

When asked about the creative process, he complains less about the stress and reminisces over the mad collaborations on the album that signalled “when the fun really started.” He described working on “Let Yourself Go” with Phonte from Little Brother as “incredible,” doing “Perfect Storm” with Rakaa as “really just fun” and watching singer Res do the chorus for ‘Believe in Me” as “amazing.”

Other artists featured on The Weatherman LP include Alchemist, Mad Child, Defari, Joe Scudda, Slug, Chace Infinite and Sick Jacken. “All of these people who came through for my album came through out of love,” says an appreciative Evidence. “They’re not strangers I was put in a room with. These are people in my phone book, who are incidentally a lot of the people I’m feeling right now.”

One can only wait and see now if he can exceed the rep he gained as a soldier in the Dilated crew. In the mean time, Ev will be rapping it up with Alchemist in one-off pockets around the country. The man is unlikely to sit and stare, as he has had little more than the hip-hop game on his mind since being that “bugging” 13-year-old on Venice Beach who moved in so fatefully next door to QD3, the son of legendary producer Qunicy Jones.

That was then. This is now. Nothing’s changed, as Evidence remains “running around looking for someone to do a song with.” He epitomizes the quotes “Patience is a virtue” and “Good things come to those who wait.”

Whether The Weatherman LP—and Ev’s solo career, in turn—soars to hip-hop acclaim or flops at the first hurdle, two things are undeniable: A proud mother is watching over her compassionate son, and this rapper is enjoying his time in the limelight.

“Now when I’m doing my shows, even though it’s not as big as with Dilated, they came to see me and that’s a good feeling. I’m just building it up from ground zero but it’s going to be a lot of fun doing it.”

Original Article

Articles Interviews

Dru Down Interview

by Jeremy Simmonds

MVRemix: Where in the world have you toured?

Dru Down: I’ve been all over. Everywhere except China.

MVRemix: That would be pretty big if Dru Down rocked China. Have you been to Canada?

Dru Down: Yeah I’ve been to Canada a few times. As far as rocking shows, I’ve never done one, but I’ve been there cuz I do this pimp thang! You know what talking ‘bout I’m real in the fields.

MVRemix: In September of 2006 you dropped your sixth studio album titled “Cash Me Out” in collaboration with your cousin Lee Majors. Tell everyone out there about this project and your upcoming “Crack Muzic” mixtapes?

Dru Down: Crack Muzic is all out about taking a mutahfucka-it’s going to be inspired by it’s some different from Dru Down. People ain’t heard me rap over others, been waiting for. It’s with my blood cousins, but at the same time there gonna have to love my cousins…which is real family.

MVRemix:In your music you make a point to express your roots and where you come from. Tell me about how Oakland shaped you as a person and why you take such pride in representing your town?

Dru Down: I’m 35, people don’t know. I feel like I’m still 20, like Jay Z. We’re out here in the gusto, if you see me you think of that. Hyphy is just another term of mobbin’. As far as the 50s, that’s the hometown. That’s my base, that’ my heart, that’s where I was raised. I been here for a lifetime. Everyone have a grandchild when they been here, I been back in forth between counties in La. But you know I stay town bound to the fullest. East Oakland, North and West, that’s my town, we all Oakland.

MVRemix: Do you ever feel as though you’d get more acclaim and attention if you were based in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta?

Dru Down: Well right now maybe Atlanta, ‘cause it’s on fire. Right now they on fire. We had that, then LA took it, and New York. But as far as respect, I get respect as soon as I step off a plane. I’m different by my ways, I stay oceaned up, curls, gold teeth, town business all the time. People ain’t gona say I’m NY, people know I’m a Cali cat, you know East O.

MVRemix: On a number of your songs you talk about police corruption and police brutality, such as “Bad Boys” among others.

Dru Down: Police ain’t nothing but a gang. They’ve been a gang, that’s way back if you look at the Al Capone days. They made it bigger, legit, just to stop him. People may do crime in the streets, and they’re made to catch it. That’s all it is, some people don’t understand crime, they a gang. Fuck the police, in my book. Any time they try to arrest me, I’m running. Any time they try to put a cuff on me, I’m out the dirt! American society is up on police brutality, that’s why people run, cuz of the situation of brutality. They don’t know what’s gonna happen. But when you’re legit, you can talk shit! [laughs]

MVRemix: Explain the origin of your word “pimpydoism” and what it means.

Dru Down: Oh pimpydoism is a mix of everything. That’s me, within all the game a mofo got and what goes with it, town business, within family origin of blood line; a pimp.

MVRemix: You have a lot of character and creativity in your writing and rapping. Among them is Jackrabbit the Bugsy. How would you describe that character, how it is incorporated into your music, and you come up with it?

Dru Down: Just fast rapping, Dru Down is typically more slow, but from my album “Pimpin Phernelia” that’s how everyone know about Jackrabbit the Bugsy. The fast style of rhyming.

Original Article

Swaggerific: Modest Fashion observations from Bob Swaget

by Philip dos Santos

“You mad cuz I’m stylin on you…” – Nyckz

Unquestionably, one of the most memorable quotes from a street battle ever, it’s a line that was shortly followed up by a sucker punch to Nyckz’ left cheek from rap opponent “EnJ”. Although the line was clearly hilarious and could be deemed as somewhat insulting, was that the real reason EnJ decided to suckerpunch Nyckz during their battle? Gun references throughout the lyrical bout are cited as the main reason, but they (gun references) are so common in battles nowadays that it is almost expected.

My opinion: EnJ was mad that Nyckz was stylin’ on him.

That is a prime example of how the game has changed so much, Fashion has become the 5th element of hip-hop. Although, I received an email last year stating that there are now over a dozen elements, I am still unfamiliar with the sender and I will have to verify the “New” 8 elements another day.

Why fashion though? In 2007, MCs are hard to come by, but rappers? You can find one on every block, in every crew, from every background and situation. I am not going to turn KRS(-ONE) on y’all, but one difference in the modern day rapper is that lyrical content is dull and a lot of them need to rely on swag (Fashion) for an upper hand. As an 80’s baby, I always relied on my abilities and hustle to get me where Im going, but with the state of music & culture the way it is, I’ve been forced to change things up a little.

Original Article [extended]

Breaking The Cycle’s 2nd Round

by Karlita

Breaking the Cycle, a hip-hop anti-violence movement, ran with tremendous success in its first year at York University in Toronto, Ontario. It came with little surprise its 2nd annual ran this year on March 9th 2007 as a sold out event.

I was able to touch base with the York President of LovE, Mike Prosserman, before the night of the event and spoke to him in regards of how the event would differ from its first run on organizing the 2nd annual. The event has become pertinent in not only presenting what the culture of hip-hop embodies but also in providing the community with an outlet through this organization to overcome violence. One would imagine there would be a great weight of pressure not only to continue its audience relations but to enamor its new supporters as well. Mike Prosserman seemed to have neither such worries to meditate on nor the time for it.

“First off I know this year will be the best yet because of all the amazing new acts we have planned. We’re keeping to the classics such as Subliminal as the host and the ridiculous Footbag crew from across Ontario. However, this year we are adding some special surprises some of which I am going to keep a secret but others including a tap dancing crew from Montreal, and the “Ill Abilities” crew featuring two disabled break dancers Lazylegs from Montreal and Tommyguns from California. This crew will be entering the competition in hopes to take home the grand prize. We also have much larger contributions and more support from our sponsors this year. Rogers Wireless and Nike Timing have taken their contributions to the next level allowing this event to truly get the exposure it deserves. We also have tons of other great sponsors involved. Goodboy Clothing will be launching their brand new spring product line, which reflects the culture of hip-hop really well and has substance as far as the message goes. We also hope for similar or more media coverage as compared to last year from City TV, Rogers, and of course MVRemix.

I can’t even describe how much the Leave Out Violence group at York has put into this event but you’ll just have to wait and see. Amazingly we have sold out over a week before the actual show! Just another example of why this year is going to be hotter then any other.”

Original Article [extended]


Locked Up With Sadat X Interview

by Todd E. Jones

Sadat X is a caged legend. As a member of Brand Nubian, he has performed timeless verses on the classic songs such as “Slow Down”, “Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down”, “One For All”, and “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone”. As a solo artist, he has achieved an undeniable credibility. His solo track “The Lump Lump” is a magnificent remarkable track that incorporated a vocal sample from Groove Theory’s “Tell Me”. The song, “Hang Em High” used a sample from the theme song to “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly”. His classic debut LP, “Wild Cowboys” is an under appreciated magnum opus. Released on Loud Records, “Wild Cowboys” featured production by Pete Rock, Roc Raider, DJ Ogee, Da Beatminerz, Diamond, and others. Released on Stimulated Records, “The State Of New York Vs. Derek Murphy” EP was also terribly slept on. The EP featured production from A Kid Called Roots, Diamond, Minnesota, and more. Standout tracks included “X-Man”, “Cock It Back”, and “You Can’t Deny”. After signing to Female Fun Records, Sadat X released the “Experience & Education” LP. Guests included Heltah Skeltah, Agallah, Edo.G, and Money Boss Players. Production was handled by Agallah, Geology, DJ Spinna, Vin The Chin, Diamond D, Madsol-Desar, Sha Boogie, Minnesota, and A Kid Called Roots. Throughout the years, the emcee has worked with a myriad of legendary artists including The Notorious B.I.G., Edo.G, Common, Large Professor, Big L, Guru (of Gangstarr), Vast Aire, O.G.C., A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One, Kool Keith, Xzibit, The Beat Kids, Talib Kweli, Big Daddy Kane, Greg Nice, and many more. His nasal sounding voice is a significant attribute that makes him sound unlike any other emcee. His unorthodox flow and loose structure of his verses accentuate his uniqueness. His verses are loose, but somehow always tight. He has made his offbeat delivery sound perfectly on beat. His multiple contributions to the hip-hop culture are soulfully based in truth.

Locked Up With Sadat X Interview

The wild cowboy is now behind bars. Professionally, Sadat X was living a positive life while free. He has coached basketball, taught in schools, and even released a new Brand Nubian album with the original members (Grand Puba and Lord Jamar). Ironically, Lord Jamar portrayed Supreme Allah is the HBO prison series “Oz”. Spiritually rich, Sadat X was enlightened when he became a member of the Muslim organization known as The Nation Of Gods & Earths. Unfortunately, a money dispute caused intense conflicts in New York. Someone snitched on the wild cowboy! Sadat X was arrested for gun possession. At the time, he was facing almost a year in jail.

“…Stages and cameras and lights don’t affect me. Same on the wax as the same on the street…” (from “Stages & Lights” from the “Wild Cowboys” LP). The music of Sadat X is admirably honest and vividly real. Before he had to start his jail sentence, Sadat X completed an entire album. “Black October” by Sadat X was released around the same time he went inside. The opening title track (produced by DJ Spinna) is a poignantly heartbreaking look at his preparation for his incarceration. In the brutally honest “Momentary Outro”, Sadat X tells the story behind how he got arrested. Like the song “The Daily News” (from “Experience & Education”), “The Post” (produced by Diamond D) features Sadat X free styling by using the headlines from the newspaper. Produced by Ayatollah, “Throw The Ball” is a vivid picture of a family barbeque. Produced by The Asmatic, “Eternally Yours” is a heartfelt atmospheric track. J-Zone produces the excellent “X Is A Machine”. Fellow Brand Nubian members, Grand Puba and Lord Jamar joint Sadat X on “Chosen Few”. Produced by Scotty Blanco, “Million Dollar Deal” features X pondering what he would do if he had the opportunity to sign a record deal for $1 million. Da Beatminerz produce the sonically rich “On The Come Thru”. Hidden tracks include a fantastic remix of “God Is Back” and another song about a woman trying to turn Sadat’s girlfriend into a lesbian. The album offers a harsh view of the struggles of Dotty X. Like life, the emotional spectrum is offered. Sadat X displays his love for his family and girlfriend. His anger and frustration is evident when rhyming about his legal problems. Some songs showcase his sharp skills as an emcee. The “Black October” LP is the most realistic and honest hip-hop album in a very long time.

NOTE: This is a lost interview in 2 parts. Conducted in November 2006 while Sadat X was locked up in Rikers Island, this first section was not completed until March 2007. As of this time of writing, the second part has yet to be completed. Hopefully, Sadat X and I can have an in-depth conversation when he is free.

Sadat X may be incarcerated, but his music cannot be chained. The great Dotty X is the wild cowboy who has already left an immortal mark on the hip-hop culture. His indelible contribution to hip-hop demands absolute respect and acknowledgement. From his signature vocal tone to his and funky delivery, Sadat X is truly one of a kind. New York may have locked up the man, but they did not lock up his spirit. Sadat X, keep your head up!

Original Article [extended]

Underoath: Just playing games, not seeking fame

by Dwain Lucktung

There is a mass of shit on the floor, from clothes to teddy bears, given to the band by fans. Through the large windows of the $600,000 tour bus, all that can be seen is a line of fans, extending around the corners of Vancouver’s PNE Forum.

“What the hell was that breakaway,” shouts an Underoath band member. “That was ridiculous!” The group is playing some NHL game on a PS2. Show time is in an hour.

The boys are chilling out, “preparing” for an explosive 45-minute set of intense and mind-blowing songs taken from their latest album, Define the Great Line (released on June 10, 2006). Lead vocalist Spencer Chamberlain sits calm and collected, speaking in an almost monotone voice, but the 24-year-old expresses undeniable passion for what he does.

“I love writing music, I love writing lyrics…I love performing. Playing shows every night is the most fun ever. And there’s this camaraderie of friends hanging out all the time. It’s pretty amazing.”

When Chamberlain is asked about his definition of “success” and highlights in his career thus far, he claims Underoath simply plays for the crowd cheers, as they segregate themselves from other bands who yearn for chart positions, album sales and hits on their MySpace webpages. Modest and honest, he seems to encapsulate the original and pure reasons for starting a band: Love for the band, respect for the fans.

Sounds simple. But according to Chamberlain, many bands seem to forget the point of creating music even before strumming the first chord. “The way music is now kind of sucks to me,” he says without a stutter or the bat of an eyelid. “There’s a million bands on the radio that sound exactly the same because they’re writing music to get attention for a record label, and there’s too many people who are in bands just to be in bands.” It is a mutual understanding that just doesn’t work.

He describes great artists as those with the passion and drive to create something as original as possible, but we both smirk at the reality that that is almost impossible these days.

Underoath is nevertheless trying, with their unique hardcore flavour and in-your-face sound that is so rarely associated with a Christian band. However, Chamberlain reiterates what he said on the band’s website, saying hopes that the group won’t be tagged as just a limited Christian band. Underoath wants its fans to appreciate that they go way beyond that.

“We just do what we do,” he says so nonchalantly. It must be like the million dollar bore-of-a-question to repeatedly ask Underoath’s line-up: “Do you think that being a Christian band helps or hinders your fan base?” but Chamberlain makes it clear it’s barely an issue: “We just stand up for what we believe in and people respect that…but when we hear that cheer, I think its not because the crowd are necessarily believers, but simply because they’re enjoying the show.”

So many say it and hardly any mean it, but Chamberlain sits back and reassures me that Underoath does not consist of fame-hungry spotlight-huggers; they’re merely savoring the moment. From sold-out shows in Australia to insane tours in the States, the heavy rockers are enforcing their intoxicating nature with a medley of intense foot-stomping, fist-pumping tunes of uproar to anyone willing to listen — and a flick of the finger to anyone not interested.

I leave the boys to finish their game with lasting thoughts of Chamberlain’s advice: “Write music you care and love about, collaborate with people who are on the same page with you, and it will happen for you.” I step off the bus to see a couple thousand sulking fans in the distance that soon realize I am not one of the band’s members.

The majority of the flock have come to see the weekend’s main act Taking Back Sunday, but Underoath couldn’t care less about being the supporting band. “We’ve surpassed our dreams,” says Chamberlain. “I mean, coming into a room where even 1,000 kids are singing your songs, that’s the dream. That’s it.”

“And that’s a neutral feeling across the band,” he adds. “I don’t think anyone did expect, and should expect, anymore than this.”

Original Article


Maestro’s Birthday Bash @ Ginger 62

by Aaron “A*maze” Joseph

The music was pumpin’ and the crowd was live. There were balloons, beautiful women, a woman swinging from the ceiling, shiatsu massages and performances by Vancouver’s own RED 1 and from DJ’s Supafly, Kemo & J Swing. There were also a few Canadian celebrities in attendance such as Nelly Furtado, Chin Injeti (from bass is base) and a few local Vancouver actors. All of this was for one man: Maestro Fresh-Wes, who celebrated his 39th birthday in Vancouver at Ginger 62.

The second annual Media Benefit/Birthday bash was a huge success, and left everyone in attendance feeling good. Those who attended left the venue feeling even better knowing that the money donated was going to Motionball and the Special Olympics, organizations Maestro chose to donate to this year.

Everyone knows how hard it is to catch someone on their birthday, especially if they are throwing a birthday bash and performing at it as well. Regardless, Maestro was kind enough to sit down and catch up with MVRemix since we last saw him.

MVRemix: Last year you told MVRemix about your adventures in “Hollywood North” and about your blossoming acting career, how are the adventures going so far?

Maestro: Not too bad, I got a supporting role in a Danny Glover movie, plus two songs on the soundtrack as well. It’s called, “Poor Boy’s Game” and is directed by Clement Virgo. We shot the film in Halifax over the summer time, I got to film down there for about eight weeks and had the chance to go down to the community and see my people. It was a beautiful thing. Also Instant Star on CTV just got picked up for fourth season.

MVRemix: Aside from film & television, how is the music side of your life going, Anything planned for the near future?

Maestro: I’m about to go shoot a video with my man Classified, it’s called “Hard to be Hip-Hop” and we shooting the video the 27th of this month.

MVRemix: Tonight you get to celebrate your birthday with Vancity’s own Supafly, Kemo, J Swing and Red 1, what does that mean to you?

Maestro: It means a lot we celebrating life and friendship. I’m a big Rascalz fan. I’m proud of my man RED1 for coming out and doing the solo thing. God bless the child.

MVRemix: Last year this Media Benefit/Birthday Bash’s proceeds went tot the African Aids Angels organization, can you tell me about the organization your representing this year?

Maestro: This year we representing Motionball and the Special Olympics.

MVRemix: Last year you told MVRemix that a night like tonight’s “solidifies a career” what does it mean a second time around?

Maestro: The same thing. We still alive and we’re still doing it. It’s about people coming together and it symbolizes community, because a lot of the people we seeing tonight, we also saw last year.

MVRemix: Any shoutouts or anyone you’d like to thank?

Maestro: Everybody! God bless the child. Man, woman, and child.

Original article


DJ Friktion “3 Style” Battle

DJ Friktion “3 Style” Battle