The Bottom Line
Sticking to the formula that made Evidence’s fanbase love him, the California native delivers a timeless, boom bap album that focuses on blessings and curses.
The Rhymesayers member Evidence released his third solo album right as the year 2018 started, almost exactly four years after this second solo album Lord Steppington came out. Evidence has always been a no-nonsense spitter who doesn’t rely on gimmicks, trendy sounds or over-engineered production. Instead, he leans on his message, his self-awareness, and his hip hop roots to deliver the best possible sound for his audience.
The opening track “The Factory” is a banger and Evidence starts us off with his trademark flow. The beat on this makes it near impossible to not bop your head to. Being 43 years old at the time of writing this, Evidence does seem to carry that old-school hip hop sound with him wherever he goes. He isn’t a punchline rapper per se but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to deliver heavy-handed bars (“I got bars like I'm separating groceries / I'm celebrating globally, you're celebrating locally”).
One particular aspect of this album that is done well is the well-placed skits. The album isn’t littered with them and they all build on the narrative the album is laying out. They’re a series of voicemail messages that are left on Mike’s (Evidence’s real name) phone saying that they have some un-repaired speakers that are ready to be recycled. As the album plays out, your mind begins to form an image of a person who is losing grip on life or is falling prey to procrastination.
The Alchemist has appeared on almost all of Evidence’s projects and he always delivers. The pairing is a match in heaven on the track “Powder Cocaine” as Evidence calls on Slug for a guest verse and Catero for some rhythmic vocals. It’s this kind of beat where Evidence shines the most as he raps:
I wanna better myself, they wanna dwell in the pain / I wanna better my health, no umbrella for rain / And that's a hell of a bug, I wanna live in my dreams / Got an ocean in mind, they wanna settle for streams /– Powder Cocaine
Evidence’s monotone, slow flow sounds great over the production on Weather or Not. What’s interesting about it is that it’s somewhat basic but it’s also not boring, at all. Through a combination of the way his voice sounds and the heavy dose of premium beats, it’s difficult to not give the underground hip hop legend your full attention as he raps.
There’s something to be said about keeping it basic and not reaching for double entendres, compound rhymes, and homophones. Evidence’s lyrics are easily understood and they don’t require the listener to work or think deeply about the meaning.
My quiet thoughts at night can turn rowdy / Light bulbs and bright ideas can turn cloudy / Big dreams even if they doubt them / I never wasn't sure if I wasn't sure about them / This is not your thing, this is ours / Gangsters got this thing about flowers / Rappers got this thing about power / Bitter and sour, gossip at the top of every hour /– Jim Dean
It also has a pretty dope video to go along with it.
As the album comes to a close, Evidence gives us “By My Side Too” which is a story about his lady who is going through chemotherapy. A lump was found on her breast as she was breastfeeding their child and you can feel the sadness but also thankfulness in his voice as he says “It turns out she has stage 3 C cancer, and he saved her life man he really did. So you a blessing, my G Love you.”
- The Factory
- Powder Cocaine
- Love Is A Funny Thing
- By My Side Too
There’s not a lot to say about Weather or Not. It is a very solid album with fantastic production from The Alchemist, Evidence himself, and a handful of others. The lyrics are good, powerful, and dark at moments. Even though it’s 56 minutes long, it doesn’t feel like the album drags on or is a chore to listen to. When you press play on any Evidence project, you know what you’re going to get. He’s an underground legend who gave us listeners another complete album from start to finish, we appreciate it.