5 & DONE: Evidence

AllHipHop Staff

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. He’s 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 what’s sure to be a big 2009. If all goes to plan fans will see the

release of a new Dilated Peoples LP, Ev’s 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

rap game…

“I was excited, definitely. People wanted a change, he

stands for something greater. I’m not like looking for Superman to just come

out here and change everything. He is a politician at the end of the day and

there’s still gonna be a lot of things that we’re

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 people’s days a little bit which could in turn

affect a lot people’s lives.

“Racism is very prevalent and it’s never gonna go away. But

I do see improvements. In my lifetime I’ve seen significant improvements. I

think a lot of the younger generation, it hasn’t been thrown in their face as

much as it has some of the older generation. It’s par for the course to go to a

club and see a white rapper. It’s not a weird thing, or to have a clique with

the white guy. You gotta have one. If you’re a Black clique and you don’t have

your white guy, what the f*** is wrong with you at this point? (laughs). A lot

of stereotypes have been breaking down, but there’s so much farther to go.”

The Layover - Evidence

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 let’s do this thing called The Layover,it’ll hold people over ‘til your next album Cats and Dogs. I’ll

make the beats, you do the rhymes, we’ll give it away, it’ll 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 it’s 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 I’m setting the tone of my

record. I think it stands out and it’s completely different, and that’s where I

wanna be right now, so cool.”

Solitary Confinement ft. Krondon - Evidence

On whether or not toeing the line between underground and

commercial impacts his credibility—and whether or not he cares...

“The thing about me is I’m not an industry dude. I’ve been

kinda removed from the industry since 2006, when we got off Capitol. I’ve 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 I’ve basically never pulled my favor card

for. I’ve always been pretty self-sufficient to where I got in my career.

“It just so happens now that I don’t have the label, I don’t

have all these budgets, I’m 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 don’t

look at Black Eyed Peas’ success when I’m making that record. The fact that he

could be on it and charge me a big donut hole is really…it’s a testament to the

fact of what I’m doing, some creative s***right now. You see a person

like that on my record, it happened for a reason, it wasn’t just like my

A&R saying we need this chorus to sell this s***. There’s 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. Pharrell’s like a major part of it, I think it’s

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. It’s an outlet, it’s a release for people.

It’s something that’s 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 they’re gonna push skateboarding into new limits, that

white people didn’t do. Same as basketball and everything else, you know what I

mean? They’re gonna raise the bar now. White kids get your f***ing skate game up [laughs]”

So Fresh (Step Brothers) - Evidence

On his latest production work and his upcoming projects

in 2009…

“I did “Hellz Kitchen” off the new

Heltah Skeltah album, which I’m really proud of, umm, I’m 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, I’m producing a kid called Fashawn who’s

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 (Rakaa’s

upcoming solo project), so I got my plate full. Anything I touch my heart’s in

it. Everything is just in place right now to keep grinding.”Far Left ft. The Alchemist & Fashawn - Evidence