Westcoast emcee and producer, Evidence, is as sharp lyrically as ever on his newest solo album, Weather or Not. His mostly sample-based, boom-bap production so soulfully seamless and perfect to show how effortlessly impeccable his flow is throughout the album.
Starting with the very opening track, The Factory. Where over the, Twiz the Beat Pro production, Evidence, spits such clever lines as, “I’m Rhymesayer number three under Slug and Ali. I’m dilated number three under Rakaa and Babu. Never outshine the masters, the rule before two.” In the process showing that even though he maybe considered among the best on his label and in his group, he has the humility to give other great emcees their shine as well. Which he also does on standout reflectivity soulful motivational track, Love Is a Funny Thing. Allowing fellow true-school emcees Styles P and Rapsody emcee to their own great lyrical strengths, as they detail how much love they each started to receive once they accumulated success and wealth. Rap having the most honest verse of probably the whole album. As she raps, “Would you love me if I didn’t have 9th or Alicia’s number? If I wasn’t with the Roc, would you run and tell your friends, that you know me and I’m hot? Would I be in your Top 5?” Khrysis very motivationally moving hook, that’s really needed right now in this fvcked up world really adding to the greatness of the record, which is easily one of the top two or three tracks on the whole album.
It’s on his longtime friend and collaborator, The Alchemist-produced tracks where he stands out the most though, more times than not. Which is quite appropriate since Al also was a co-executive producer of the album as well. This being very evident on lead single, Throw It All Away. Where the emcee chronicles with such great imagery and imagination how money can be blown fast when you don’t have much money to your name. This is especially shown on the clever chorus where Ev raps/sings, “I got some money, I’mma blow it all today. They say, ‘Michael don’t throw it all away.’ And my reply was, ‘There’s more on the way.’ When I said it, I was walking in the rain.” The impressive bars and slow flow of Evidence on the opening verse where he once again references weather showing this too. The psychedelic vibes of the drums and chants on the sample-loop based, Powder Cocaine, showing what diverse metaphors Ev and Atmosphere’s Slug deliver on the very nostalgic standout track.
Don’t sleep on always-in-demand, but still underrated producer Nottz contributions as well. Especially the very hard-hitting banger, Jim Dean. Where Evidence’s signature slow flow matches up really well with the hard-hitting bassline and nice sample-based loop. As he even raps this great verse on the topic in part of his second verse. “I went from slow flow to never the same flow. Cause doing part two’s not the reason I came for. Until then I ate the end of the rainbow. But still the pot of gold as real as the game shows.” Evidence then starts to run into problems around the title track or so. Where there is about two or three straight tracks. The Catero featured interlude included. Which could’ve been trimmed from the album completely. The very key-laden Nottz-produced banger, Bad Publicity featuring fellow Westcoast emcee, Krondon, yet another very standout track. Which really shows why Ev is among the mecca of true-core Hip-Hop right now.
As the album transitions into the second half, Evidence starts to get very deep and reflective on the very emotional, Twiz the Beat Pro-produced, Rain Drops. Where Twiz actually recreates a rainy day in his production that really helps listeners transport into the stormy scene that inspires Ev’s very deep and reflective mood on the track. Before perfectly seguing into the very gritty The Alchemist-produced, Sell Me This Pen. Where over the dusty drums of the gritty production, featured guest Mach Hommy gives arguably the best guest verse on the whole album.
On the very fresh DJ Premier-produced, 10,000 Hours, Preemo laces him with very vintage scratching and vocal samples that really allow Evidence to explain how he’s been able to last decades in an industry that spits out new artists just as fast as it churns them out. On the last four tracks, he also continues to give very reflectively emotional efforts. But it’s on the very soulfully monotone Jonwayne featured, To Make A Long Story Short and very touching heartstring-pulling closing track, By My Side, where Evidence really gives his all and are easily the best two tracks on the whole album.
A very overall great purist piece of traditional pure Hip-Hop that just misses being a classic, but has the willpower to still be on most Top Hip-Hop albums of the Year lists by the end of the year. While also showing why Westcoast Hip-Hop is currently at the forefront of Hip-Hop.