As Evidence prepared his solo entree for the world, The Weatherman, there were many questions that floated about. Was he separating with Rakaa & Babu for any specific reason? Was this just a one shot deal? Can he do it all by himself? Would this be the a candidate for album of the year when all is said and done? No, not sure, hell yeah and possibly, are the answers respectively. Evidence has made a name for himself as a part of Dilated Peoples, but can he do the same as a solo artist? The Weatherman proves to be one of the better pieces of work thus far in the early part of 2007.
With Evidence’s mother passing away back in 2004, The Weatherman comes with a heavy heart and even heavier lyrical content that’s centered on her memory. Not to mention that this is the first time that Ev has the opportunity to set out on his own with his own beat selection and 16′s that he can claim as his own. There’s so much tension that can be felt on this album. It feels like Evidence made this more of a therapeutic session than just your usual solo romp. “Mr. Slow Flow” is quite reflective of the type of emcee that Evidence is. A menacing bassline coupled with a stewing synthesizer gives an evil backdrop to an ominous Evidence weaving some intricate wordplay. He punches in with the Jake One produced “Down In New York City” and spreads love to the rotten apple Cali style. But when Evidence is at his best is when he speaks from his heart on “Chase The Clouds Away” and the tribute to his late mother on “I Still Love You”. The latter is quite the introspective piece that opens a window to Evidence’s soul and the pain he has dealt with since his loss.
The production is a slow, brooding pit of bottom heavy basslines and menacing scratches. If dark production isn’t your cup of tea, this album won’t be either. Matching Ev’s signature flow, each piece of production is a testament to the mindstate of Evidence throughout the album. With long time collaborator Alchemist chipping in on the album, you know that you are in for something interesting. When “Chase The Clouds Away” belts through with its dutifully chopped vocal sample chanting behind Evidence laying out how his success has finally provided a ray of light in a long life, it’s evident that Evidence put more thought into this album than just spitting a hot verse here and there. Elsewhere, DJ Khalil keeps his stock rising with the brilliant “All Said & Done” as the racing keys chase behind slapping drums as Ev ponders if he will still be relevant when his time is over. And Ev couldn’t forget Babu as he chimes in with the sparse arrangement for “Things You Do”.
The guest list here is something to behold. Matching Ev with a plethora of guests that you may not so much expect to appear is quite a treat. Whether it be Phonte chiming in the hook with a rhyming Alchemist on “Letyourselfgo” or his NC brethren Joe Scudda and Rapper Big Pooh mincing words with Ev and Defari on “NC to CA” there is plenty of dream matchmaking here to keep you intrigued. The one song that may catch everyone off guard is the pairing with Atmosphere’s Slug on “Line of Scrimmage”. It’s one thing to hear Evidence and Slug trade lines like stock options, but listening to Slug drop jewels in between an Alchemist production is definitely something to behold…and damn near worth the price of admission.
The Weatherman is quite an interesting that deserves a few spins for anyone who loves hip hop. Evidence proves that he can stand alone just as powerful as the third of the group that he’s involved in without losing a step. There won’t be any gray clouds hovering over this release.
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