In early 2018, Evidence released his fourth solo project, Weather Or Not. Featuring Styles P, Alchemist, Rapsody, and his Dilated Peoples cohorts Rakaa and DJ Babu (among others), the Rhymesayers release closes out a nearly 11-year-old album series from Mr. Slow Flow.
On a Midtown Manhattan hotel terrace, Evidence caught up with Ambrosia For Heads’ Editor-In-Chief Jake Paine. The pair discuss the end of the weather series, how social media can cause the fall of superheroes and some of the personal struggles Ev' dealt with during the making of his third solo album.
Ev', who has rapped about being childless for much of his career (including the line "no son but I fathered this verse" on first video single "Throw It All Away") in fact welcomed the birth of a son during the making of Weather Or Not, and the momentous impact can be heard throughout his album, most noteworthy as two-year-old Enzo Perretta delivers the sign off of the record.
But, it wasn’t all happiness and sunshine, as the MC/producer (and photographer) went from the “Highest high to the lowest low,” when while breastfeeding, the mother of his child discovered she had stage 3 breast cancer. Dealing with treatment while sheltering his son from the affects has added another layer of personal growth to an already evolutionary project.
Ev' mentions that he didn’t necessarily want his partner’s health problems to become a focal point, but he also admits that Rap is his therapy, albeit a very public version. “The reward of being an open book is way more tremendous. There’s a bigger purpose to it.” He says. Evidence recently produced entire projects by Defari (who guests on W.O.N.), Odd Future's Domo Genesis, Swollen Members' Madchild, and L.A. Symphony's Cookbook. In the conversation, he says that all of these beats (some of his best) were created while staying home and caring for his family.
Evidence has used art for therapy at other points in his career. Previously, Evidence dedicated "I Still Love You" on 2007's The Weatherman LP to his late mother, actress and photographer, Jana Taylor.
As one of the early adopters of Instagram and a prolific social media user in general, Evidence knows the power that the platforms can have on the fans. Reflecting on his own come up, pre-social media, he ponders if his impression of his heroes would have changed. In the DJ Premier-produced video single "10,000 Hours," Evidence raps, "I don't wanna see my fans broke or be bitter / And I don't wanna see my heroes slangin' verses on their Twitter."
Asked about that line, Evidence chuckles and suggests it has raised some eyebrows. He says, “I wonder, the rappers I loved in that era, if I had social media at that time, would I have loved them as much?” He adds, speaking on how normal your mentors can seem, “They’re not the superheroes I thought there were.” For Evidence, between albums, he posted his photography on I.G. and declined to discuss music. As Weather Or Not grew nearer to release, the Dilated MC grew more open to talking about the most renowned facet of his art.
This album represents a juncture in a decorated solo career. “I don’t wanna have to do the 'Weatherman' thing anymore. I feel like I capped that off well. Let’s dead that, and move on to a question mark," he admits.
What's ahead for the Dilated Step Brother will reveal itself in time. However, he just dropped off one of the first great albums of 2018.