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Cats & Dogs
Few albums go to such extraordinary lengths to please the listener as Evidence’s brilliant new album.
We’re not going to pretend we weren’t a little concerned. Evidence is signed to Rhymesayers? As in, Minneapolis-emo-rap-wonderland-Rhymesayers? You mean to say, Mr. Slow Flow himself—one of the purest and purist MCs on the planet—is with them now? Don’t get us wrong, we love them both, but that doesn’t sound right at all.
You know what? We’ll eat our words. With a tasty dollop of humble pie. See, Rhymesayers aren’t one of the biggest independents on earth for nothing. They’re smart. So they let Evidence do what he wanted, with only a barely perceptible nudge here and there. And while Ev doesn’t quite top his brilliant solo debut The Weatherman LP, his Rhymesayers opening shot Cats & Dogs is a testament to what clever people with resources can do. It’s better than almost anything you’ll hear this year.
Ev himself is unchanged. His gorgeous, distinctive voice and powerful flow are in-the-pocket-perfect, and his quick-witted observations of life in California are still a joy to listen to. The album is a more complex beast than Weatherman; there’s more soul-searching (including a difficult incident with Kanye West in ‘I Don’t Need Love’), more cheeky metaphors and more wrestling with what it means to be a rap artist in the twenty-first century. But at its core, it’s still a rap album, and a damn good one at that.
Few albums go to such extraordinary lengths to please the listener. Raekwon and Ras Kass on one track? Prodigy and Roc Marciano? A tasteful collabo or two with Alchemist? All the old favourites like Sid Roams and DJ Revolution? And oh, almost as an afterthought: DJ Premier. He pops up on the track ‘You’, which is one of our favourites—along with the quirky Slug-and-Aesop-Rock-assisted Late For The Sky. Aesop even manages to behave himself, keeping his imagery Tourette’s syndrome to a minimum.
There is so little to criticise, and so much to love here, that we genuinely struggled to only give it four out of five. Such as it is, it’s not quite as complete or well-produced as Ev’s debut, so it’s not a perfect score. But this is an album you need to hear: it has power, skill, style and, dare we say it, a sense of whimsy.
words Rob BoffardEvidence: I Don't Need Love