Evidence - Cats & Dogs
Of all the interviews I’ve done, Evidence was one of the hardest. The guy couldn’t be nicer, but it’s difficult to think of hard hitting questions for someone who’s been consistently good for so long. With Cats & Dogs, his second solo album, we get yet another solid release from the Dilated Peoples emcee.
On the album, there are a variety of producers, from usual suspects like The Alchemist, Sid Roams, and Evidence himself, to newcomers like Rahki, Twiz the Beat Pro, and Charli Brown. However, it was his collaboration with DJ Premier on “You,” which was leaked as a single, that let me know that there was nothing to worry about with this album. It features simple-yet-effective sample loops that fit into a great groove. It serves as the perfect backdrop for Evidence’s deliberate rhyme style. Evidence manages to find a good balance in subject matter on the album. He drops some nice battle raps, but also dsicusses social and economic issues, weed, the music industry, and personal matters. It all adds up to a pretty complete portrait of the artist. If you haven't heard Evidence before, Cats & Dogs is a good place to start. You’ll either love everything on the album, or certain styles on the album will resonate more than others, but there won't be anything to hate. Some will love the harder downtempo West Coast beats. Myself, I’m a sucker for a midtempo groove with a nice soul sample, or in the case of “Late For The Sky,” a sped up Jackson Browne sample. The fact that Slug and Aesop Rock drop rhymes on the track doesn’t hurt, either. I think the best marriage of everything that I appreciate about Evidence comes through on the track, “The Red Carpet,” a slower track with a simple bass line and a looped vocal sample. On it, Evidence does a great job discussing how his personal life intersects with larger political and economic problems. Add in some great verses from Raekwon and Rass Kass, and you’ve got one of the strongest songs in Evidence’s career.
Evidence has been at this a long time, and he’s got a great understanding of who he is as an artist. Cats & Dogs is the result of a veteran emcee knowing himself well enough to produce an album that sounds fresh without anything sounding out of place. There’s nothing groundbreaking, but everything works extremely well.