While Dilated Peoples have been on a bit of a hiatus over the last few years, Evidence ventures forth with his second solo LP, Cats & Dogs, the follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut, The Weatherman.
While a skilled producer in his own right, having handled most of the production duties for the Dilated catalog, Ev taps a team of talented producers to craft his latest LP, only lending his skills on the boards to two tracks. Regardless, the team has crafted a unified LP that almost sounds like the work of one producer. Ev has picked a brooding tone for the LP, one that follows him like a gray cloud, right from the onset of the album. The opening track, “Liner Notes” sets the stage, as Ev – backed by Aloe Blacc – exercises his trademarked slow-flow over a cinematic backdrop. This leads into the gorgeous Twiz the Beat Pro produced “Strangers”, a hypnotic head nodder that infects with every bar. The very Cuban Linx-esque “The Red Carpet” taps Raekwon and Ras Kass for a brilliantly executed collabo, thanks to Alchemist’s soulful beat.
As usual, Ev finds another clever “Evidence” vocal sample, as used on “It Wasn’t Me”, which finds him recalling rap crimes, while a vintage classic rock sample suggests the feds don’t have enough “evidence” to convict. The album actually digs into rock samples quite often, as on the folky “I Don’t Need Love”, produced by Ev himself, and later on the posse cut “Late For the Sky”, featuring Aesop Rock and Slug. Speaking of posse cuts, while the addition of Rakaa to bounce off Ev every other verse is missed, there’s no shortage of guest shots on the album to keep things rounded out. The heavy “Fame” keeps upping the ante with added support from Roc Marciano and Prodigy of Mobb Deep, while the icy-cold “Where You From” chills with Lil Fame, Termanology, and, of course, Rakaa. A preview of the upcoming Step Brothers project with Alchemist whets the appetite on “James Hendrix”.
Definitely a different flavor than we’re used to on a standard Dilated LP, Ev’s second solo effort is anything but sunny. The album has a cold, damp, menacing feel to it, this coming from a Weatherman that makes it rain lyrics, not dollar bills. Definitely a lengthy LP at 17 tracks (plus three Itunes bonus cuts), some might find Ev’s latest to be a little too dreary, but what do you expect from an LP called Cats & Dogs?
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