For over a decade Cali native Evidence (aka Michael
Perretta) has been pushing out quality product most notably with his group
Dilated Peoples (with DJ Babu and Rakaa) and independently. Hes managed to do
all this while rubbing shoulders with a kaleidoscope of diverse artists such as
his long-time friend the Alchemist, Linkin Park and the Louis Vuitton Don
himself, Kanye West.
Without a Dilated group project for almost three years, this
MC/producer has stayed on his grind by working on various other projects. With
the recent releases of the DJ Skee mixed The Layover Mixtape and the
subsequent drop of The Layover EP, Evidence is keeping himself in prime
form for whats sure to be a big 2009. If all goes to plan fans will see the
release of a new Dilated Peoples LP, Evs sophomore
solo effort Cats and Dogs, as well as a highly anticipated project with
The Alchemist entitled Step Brothers.
Fresh off a European tour with Dilated, Evidence chopped it
up on a range of topics including politics, race, skateboarding and the great
musical debate: underground vs. commercial.
On Obama as the new president and race in America and the
I was excited, definitely. People wanted a change, he
stands for something greater. Im not like looking for Superman to just come
out here and change everything. He is a politician at the end of the day and
theres still gonna be a lot of things that were
gonna be watching, but just what he represents is something that we need right
now. Just waking up and feeling different. The mind is powerful, energy is
powerful and I think people just waking up with optimism is a
a nice way to get out of bed. It just might
change peoples days a little bit which could in turn
affect a lot peoples lives.
Racism is very prevalent and its never gonna go away. But
I do see improvements. In my lifetime Ive seen significant improvements. I
think a lot of the younger generation, it hasnt been thrown in their face as
much as it has some of the older generation. Its par for the course to go to a
club and see a white rapper. Its not a weird thing, or to have a clique with
the white guy. You gotta have one. If youre a Black clique and you dont have
your white guy, what the f*** is wrong with you at this point? (laughs). A lot
of stereotypes have been breaking down, but theres so much farther to go.
On his recently released projects The Layover Mixtape
and The Layover EP
Originally, this was Khrysis and myself, we were on tour
with Little Brother in the back of the bus making beats every night and we were
like, Yo lets do this thing called The Layover, itll hold people over til your next album Cats and Dogs. Ill
make the beats, you do the rhymes, well give it away, itll be something cool.
That was the idea. It morphed into something different and
we just started to get ideas and started wanting to work with other people.
Once I start getting creative its just hard to put a cap on it, so I made sure
that the first two songs I released from The
Layover EP were produced by Khrysis, just to kinda make good with him and
just to let people know that his vibe is the way Im setting the tone of my
record. I think it stands out and its completely different, and thats where I
wanna be right now, so cool.
On whether or not toeing the line between underground and
commercial impacts his credibilityand whether or not he cares…
The thing about me is Im not an industry dude. Ive been
kinda removed from the industry since 2006, when we got off Capitol. Ive developed
a lot of relationships previous to me being on a major and while I was on a
major. I have a lot of friends who Ive basically never pulled my favor card
for. Ive always been pretty self-sufficient to where I got in my career.
It just so happens now that I dont have the label, I dont
have all these budgets, Im starting to pull those
favor cards. will.I.am, he
was my first rap partner. I did my first demos with him in 1990, 91. I dont
look at Black Eyed Peas success when Im making that record. The fact that he
could be on it and charge me a big donut hole is really its a testament to the
fact of what Im doing, some creative s*** right now. You see a person
like that on my record, it happened for a reason, it wasnt just like my
A&R saying we need this chorus to sell this s***. Theres no purpose in me
trying to do something for the wrong reason, you know what I mean?
On the popularity of skateboarding in rap nowadays and
how it has blossomed into mainstream Hip-Hop culture
Skateboarding is a Black culture right now and rap has
become white culture. Pharrells like a major part of it, I think its
beautiful. You know I grew up in Venice Beach, to see Eric Burton or to see Ray
Barbie or to see Steve Allen, like you knew who the Black skaters were, it was
like, they were who they were, you know what I mean? (laughs).
Skating is in the hood, you know I can go on Crenshaw, you
see kids skating down by the beach. Its an outlet, its a release for people.
Its something thats fresh. Black people are some of the most creative and
some of the most versatile people as far as anything they take on, in this
earth period. Of course theyre gonna push skateboarding into new limits, that
white people didnt do. Same as basketball and everything else, you know what I
mean? Theyre gonna raise the bar now. White kids get your f***ing skate game up [laughs]
On his latest production work and his upcoming projects
I did Hellz Kitchen off the new
Heltah Skeltah album, which Im really proud of, umm, Im working with Billy
Danze from MOP on his solo s**t, working with Krondon right now on his solo
album. As far as producing goes, Im producing a kid called Fashawn whos
featured on the Far Left on my EP, outta Fresno. Working with Khrysis on beats, submitting beats to a lot of people.
Focusing on the Step Brothers
project, the new Dilated and working on Crown of Thorns (Rakaas
upcoming solo project), so I got my plate full. Anything I touch my hearts in
it. Everything is just in place right now to keep grinding.Far Left ft. The Alchemist & Fashawn – Evidence