Dilated Peoples’ Evidence: Career and What’s Next? | Unlearning One-Year Later
The Unlearning single recently dropped by one of my all-time favorite hip hop artists, Evidence. Damn. Maybe I’m being hyperbolic, but since we’re in the mood of shutting shit down… Let’s shut down any other song of the year competitions for 2020.
Evidence’s new single Unlearning is an instant classic that will get us through even the darkest days of quarantine. For real though, two minutes and fifty-six seconds of pure uncut hip hop essence. In the accompanied video Ev brings listeners directly into the lab of the artist.
If anything, the “Stay Home Stay Safe era” in America has provided us with some rewarding hip-hop moments. The RZA and DJ Premier battle on IGTV channel Verzuz was something for the pantheon of historical hip-hop moments. The closing scene of an Ozark binge introduced me to the latest fire from Run the Jewels. The foundation of Ooh La La was dope enough but then they go and add Greg Nice and Primo! My brain exploded. This was my front runner for song of the year until…
Unlearning by Evidence
For those who don’t know, Michael Perretta (more commonly known as Evidence) is a multi-fascinated artist from sunny Venice, California. He’s a producer, emcee, photographer, and member of the Good Dad Gang by all accounts. And one-third of the legendary Dilated Peoples crew. More recently, he’s been releasing music on Rhymesayers (an independent label that is an institution in their own right). In 2018, his LP Weather or Not was awarded album of the year by readers of internet hip hop crier, Ambrosia for Heads.
Despite being well established, Evidence continues to evolve as an artist on his latest track Unlearning. While the sound is familiar, Evidence continues to raise the level of intensity and transparency in his music. The beat, produced by Graymatter, is an ethereal soundscape that encapsulates’s Evidence unscripted natural slow flow. Evidence is typically more structured in his verses. With Unlearning he tests the boundaries and pushes the limits by displaying versatility in his flow.
The Unlearning Video
The video for the song brings us into what appears to be Evidence’s lab. The natural smoke-filled lighting spans the field of vision. The viewer is placed directly on the studio couch to listen to the under-construction works of the musical mastermind. The slightly cluttered and claustrophobic feel provides a pleasant reprieve from the indulgence of excess in the genre over the years. In a moment of true appreciation, Evidence expresses “To throw it all away, you gotta know what you got”.
Evidence: Weather or Not
Weather or Not is the third independent album by American rapper and producer Evidence. The album was released on January 26, 2018 by Rhymesayers Entertainment. Several record producers handled the production, including Alchemist, Budgie, DJ Babu, DJ Premier, Nottz, Samiyam, Twiz the Beat Pro, and Evidence himself.
Full Album of “Weather or Not”
0:00 – The Factory [prod. Twiz The Beat Pro]
2:58 – Throw It All Away [prod. Alchemist]
5:55 – Powder Cocaine (feat. Slug & Catero)
[prod. Alchemist] 8:52 – Jim Dean [prod. Nottz]
12:55 – Weather or Not [prod. Babu]
16:59 – Moving Too Fast (feat. Catero) [prod. Evidence]
18:32 – Runners (faet. Defari) [prod. Evidence]
21:59 – Bad Publicity (feat. Krondon) [prod. Nottz]
26:18 – Rain Drops [prod. Twiz The Beat Pro]
29:32 – Sell Me This Pen (feat. Alchemist & Mach Hommy) [prod. Alchemist]
33:26 – Love Is a Funny Thing (feat. Styles P, Rapsody & Khrysis) [prod. Alchemist]
38:12 – 10,000 Hours [prod. DJ Premier]
41:04 – What I Need [prod. Evidence]
44:58 – To Make a Long Story Longer (feat. Jonwayne) [prod. Samiyam]
49:11 – Wonderful World (feat. Rakaa) [prod. Budgie]
52:46 – Be My Side Too [prod. Budgie]
Evidence and Dilated Peoples
After meeting QD3, Evidence teamed up with the Rakaa to form Dilated Peoples. After the success of their 1997 single “Third Degree” b/w “Confidence” and “Global Dynamics” on ABB Records – and the addition of DJ Babu to the group a year late, the group quickly became a fixture on the hip hop tour circuit. They expected their success would help their solo projects.
Through his excellent work with Dilated Peoples, Evidence became a renowned celebrity of hip-hop culture. “This is for people who get what I do,” said Evidence. “If I’m going to come out independently and have the freedom to do what I want, there’s no better way to represent. I want to be a leader and carve out a new path.”
Biggest Hits of Dilated People
Dilated Peoples – Worst Comes To Worst
Dilated Peoples – Back Again
Anyone who has followed Evidence’s career recognizes his commitment to further his craft (which was already dope 20 years ago). However, it’s not about being dope for Evidence. He lives in it as the video displays. He’s not someone rapping on a beat he made, but the epitome of workhorse hip hop culture on a track.
I first heard Evidence on the classic compilation Defenders of the Underworld which included Work the Angles remix. I was instantly intrigued by the tight structure, lyrics, beats, and cuts by the perfectly balanced trio of Rakaa Iriscience, Evidence, and DJ Babu. Dilated Peoples not only hit hard and intelligent, but they also innovated and smoked a lot of weed! As a result, I always felt a connection with their music as an aspiring producer/emcee and of course, a weed head.
The deep cut Years In The Making has always been one of my favorite tracks off legendary LP The Platform. This track primarily featured Evidence detailing the history of himself as an artist, how he connected with Rakaa, and the early history of Dilated Peoples. In this song, Evidence reveals that he is more than just another rapper. His roots of graffiti and learning to make beats from his neighbor QD3 helped fill in the puzzle. He also noted “when you look how I do, most cats won’t say they feel ya” which humbled him but did not destroy his confidence or his artistic integrity. Something that astute fans and introverted creatives everywhere can appreciate.
Looking into Evidence
Evidence has an overflow of punchlines on Dilated tracks. However, sometimes it’s easy to overlook the introspection of who creates art that is like a “clock with no hands” (or an hourglass with no sand). While Dilated Peoples remains in the pantheon of legendary hip hop crews, one wonders if the solo work of Evidence is now eclipsing their apex?
Fans have been blessed with a more transparent side of Ev in his recent solo projects. Starting with the release of The Weatherman LP, Evidence starts to unravel the intricacies that have made him one of the most captivating personalities in hip hop. On his first Rhymesayers release, Cats and Dogs, he brings us closer with tracks like I Don’t Need Love and When the Well Runs Dry. By the time side, A of Weather or Not was flipped, Evidence had dropped the anvil on us with heavy insight into his mind and emotions (p.s. fuck you right here if you think this is emo-rap). On Unlearning, Evidence makes it clear this is not a continuation of the Weather or Not schematics, “this its own shit”.
Evidence has never been one to lose sight of who he is on a track. He is a genuine article. His authenticity is unparalleled in the game. In 2018 he told Billboard, “There probably is a lot of shedding of the skin, I feel like me for the first time.” Fans should be excited that Evidence is growing to let us all in. Unlearning is a strong lesson in tearing down preconceived notions that can box us in.
The Weatherman highlights the importance of community in this song. One thing that is always important in the community is connecting with people. Forming a bond within the community is important for trust, respect, and our collective well-being. Evidence embodies this sense of community on Unlearning by connecting with listeners like never before. And overt the past year since Unlearning, Ev has surprise dropped 3 other singles. Now we just wait for the full-length LP to drop…
Rhymesayers is the best indie hip-hop label. Quannum Projects is a close second. Not up for debate.