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Evidence Weathers the Storm, Juggling Personal Life and Rap Career

20 years later, Evidence is still putting out quality Hip Hop.

Evidence’s latest LP, Weather or Not, is one of the year’s first great albums. The L.A. indie-rap vet remains as consistent as they come, and his third full-length is 40-minutes of pure, unadulterated boom bap production, textbook in-the-pocket flows and a stream of quick-witted punchlines. However, Ev digs a little deeper on his first solo LP in seven years, as he worked on the project while his girlfriend (and mother of his child) battled cancer.

Weather or Not features the gritty, no-nonsense sound fans have come to expect from the Dilated Peoples emcee over the past 20-plus years. Production on the new LP is handled by Alchemist, DJ Premier, DJ Babu, Nottz and Evidence himself. The album’s final song, “By My Side Too,” shows the West Coast rapper at his most vulnerable and emotional, as he tells the story about discovering his girlfriend had stage three breast cancer shortly after their son was born.

“Rappers aren’t just rappers,” he said during a phone conversation with AAHH. “It’s hard with the career right now. But I just want people to understand, yeah I want to be out there touring, doing what I’m doing. I’m weighing a lot in right now. So if you see me out, know I’m there, and if I’m not, it’s for the right reasons.”

In our interview, Evidence also spoke about balancing his personal life while promoting a new record, his relationship with Rhymesayers Ent. and what keeps him motivated 20 years into his career.

Above Average Hip Hop: Congrats on the new album, how you feeling about it, now that it’s out there for fans to enjoy?

Evidence: I’m pretty relieved it’s out. Sitting on a project, sometimes, making a bunch of videos, getting it all ready, wanted it to come out sooner, but I’m glad I had patience.

AAHH: It’s been nearly seven years since your last solo album, but you’ve done an LP with Alchemist and an album with Dilated Peoples in that time. Did you intentionally step away from your solo career to get back into collaborating with these groups?

E: Yeah man, I started with Dilated then went into Evidence, then Step Brothers is something that was just so fun, then back to Dilated. It’s all in the same thing. I do realize not everyone follows everything.

AAHH: Did you have to change your mindset and approach to writing on these solo projects than when you’re working with these groups?

E: I would say so. A group effort is just a different animal. You got to agree on stuff, and you got to find like-minded things to talk about. With solo, it’s not as much buffer. But you can also fall a lot harder on a solo one, but the success can be greater. So it’s just a different kind of thing.

AAHH: You been in music for well over 20 years now, what keeps you motivated to keep doing what you’re doing?

E: It’s still what I love doing. I’m also a producer, so that kind of gives me an extension a little bit. I can see music through other people’s eyes when I’m working with them, and that gets me inspired. And I’m not the typical writer, where I just wake up and write, so that’s my whole new thing. It’s more like I kinda write when the beat tells me to. So getting in a process of making music everyday for no better reason, is why a lot of raps just happen where, I don’t know, other people put a little more on it. Maybe that’s unintentional, this is what’s happening, this flow sounds natural.

I also feel like I’m a little bit of a late bloomer in the sense that, I still feel like there’s room to go. So maybe some people my age dropping off or whatever, but for me I’m still around Alchemist and a lot of creative people – touring with Atmosphere – will keep you motivated because you just see good is good, wack is wack, and age becomes a secondary thing.

AAHH: You mentioned working with younger artists, you recently put out a project with Domo Genesis. How’d that come about?

E: He was on the last Dilated album we did. He was on Step Brothers’ album too. He did No Idols with Alchemist. So yeah, he’s just been around a lot, since 2012. He’s just a homie. People I’m putting out are just people who been coming through – Defari, Madchild, Domo, Krondon. Trying to make a few placements on some bigger records. People on the album, same thing, everyone came through.

Like I said before Domo just fits into what I do. As far as like, we vibed and kinda like think similar. Age doesn’t come up that much. There’s weed, good music, that’s it (laughs).

AAHH: Was that planned for that project to drop around the same time as Weather or Not?

E: Not that close, we were trying to get it out at the end of the year. But I was also trying to get Weather or Not out at the end of the year. So never happens the way you intend. It was kind of cool the way it lined up. Because I had put out Defari’s album – I didn’t put it out but I produced it – the same way with Domo. Just put it out with tweets and not heavy promotion. Let people find it over a slow burn.

AAHH: You were already established when you signed with Rhymesayers. You’ve now released two solos and two group projects with RSE. What is your relationship like with them? And are you glad you signed with with them instead of self-releasing material?

E: Yeah, I’m happy I did it with them. My business is good with them, to begin with, so that just makes everything else go well. Maybe if I did it myself, maybe I could have a little bit bigger of a split. But what does that mean? I would still have to hire everybody and do everything and end up having less. So it’s a tremendous benefit. It’s not always about like a mathematical split, there’s other things to consider. They’ve really helped me and built me into their structure as far as touring.

AAHH: I feel like with each of your records, there’s always a standout track or two that are very personal that sort of gives fans a very close look at your life. On ‘Cats & Dogs’ it was “I Don’t Need Love,” on the new project it was “By My Side Too.” Are these songs you push yourself to make, or do they sort of come out organically?

E: Yeah so it’s like “I Still Love You” (from The Weatherman LP), these aren’t records I’m performing and promoting, you know. It’s just like what happens when you’re dealing with stuff like this, and you don’t have a label telling you you can or can’t make this type of music, I have the opportunity to. This song “By My Side Too” came as a presentation to her, like listen to what I was making. And she thought I should share it, so I did.

But it’s like, what if I don’t do that? And then, what’s gonna replace it? A song about rap (Laughs)? It just becomes this weird thing. But I don’t want to be like known for selling struggle, or selling pain or sickness, death, I’m not trying to be that. But it’s just inevitable in our life, and close people – my mom and mother of my son – are things that are tough to talk about. Right now, we’re fighting this fight, and she felt having the positivity out there would be good for her. And yeah, who am I to deny that, when I made it for her anyway.

AAHH: Yeah, for sure. It’s definitely one of my favorites on the record and probably one of my favorite songs you’ve done.

E: Thank you. I’m doing a lot more than just having a record out right now, you know. I’m trying, I’m really trying to keep everything strong. It’s a lot out there, you know. Cause it’s like, rappers aren’t just rappers. It’s hard with the career right now. But I just want people to understand, yeah I want to be out there touring, doing what I’m doing. I’m weighing a lot in right now. So if you see me out, know I’m there, and if I’m not, it’s for the right reasons. It’s not just I want to be taking long absences between projects, tours and stuff.

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World Premiere: Bhadwaiz Drops New Single “My Wave”

“When people hear this for the first time, I want them to take notice of what I’m trying to do and what lane I’m in.”

Ohio-based rapper Bhadwaiz likens himself as someone who brings hope to those around him; a shining example that following your dreams can pay off. “All I really wanna do is ride my wave,” he says confidently. Having generated some buzz on the Ohio scene for a minute, his first release of 2018, “My Wave,” is poised to take him to the next level.

“Straight to the point, I want this song to be the anthem for people who want to do their own thing, their way—and without any doubt,” he says. “This song is a mixture of contemporary and traditional hip-hop. When I say that, I mean the production is similar to what you hear today, but the lyrics are what makes the track stand out.”

“When people hear this for the first time, I want them to take notice of what I’m trying to do and what lane I’m in,” he continues. “I want people to appreciate this track in all aspects, and I know they will. I’m very confident if done right; it will be my breakout track, and I can’t wait for what’s in store after this.“

“My Wave” by Bhadwaiz will be available for purchase through iTunes — or whatever streaming network floats your boat. Check out the exclusive premiere, below.

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The Story Behind Skyzoo’s “Honor Amongst Thieves” Outro

If you’ve slept on Skyzoo’s latest LP, In Celebration Of Us, then shame on you. It’s masterpiece centered around equal…

If you’ve slept on Skyzoo’s latest LP, In Celebration Of Us, then shame on you. It’s masterpiece centered around equal parts social injustice and commentary, and — more endearing — fatherhood, and the role it played in his life.

RELATED: Read my review of the album.

One of the more compelling tracks, the outro “Honour Amongst Thieves,” features a lengthy live recording of Skyzoo telling the story of how his Father played a quintessential role in his early life; a story made all the more touching considering he is now a father.

As Skyzoo explains, the story itself just came to him. “It [was told on] a public access network in Brooklyn called BRIC TV. I did a show with some people there,” he said. “They had this segment where it was storytellers … they had people come in to tell a story, any story that they wanted to a crowd. I was invited by a woman named Angela to be on that show. It was me, and a bunch of other people and everyone told their story over the course of like five or 10 minutes.”

As Skyzoo explains, he showed up unprepared. “I had a lot going on, but I promised I would do it. She’s a great person. So, I said, ‘Okay, let me do this,’ he says.

“I kind of didn’t think of a story ahead of time. I was ripping and running a lot. So, when I got there and the clock was ticking. It was like, ‘All right, this guy’s up next.’ I’m thinking: ‘what the hell am I going to talk about?’ And, then, it just came.

“It came to me on the spot. Once I did it, after the applause you hear and everything at the end, [I knew] it came out dope,” he said. “I asked the people at the network for the audio … I knew this would be fly to put on the album.”

Check out the full story, below.

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Kash Doll Drops New Mixtape ‘Brat Mail’

Detroit native Kash Doll has decided to surprise her fans with a special delivery on her birthday. The rapper releases…

Detroit native Kash Doll has decided to surprise her fans with a special delivery on her birthday. The rapper releases new mixtape, Brat Mail.

Kash started taking music seriously while working in the strip club as an exotic dancer. “I never really danced, Kash Doll tells The Fader. “I used to walk across the stage rapping songs, and they used to just throw me all the money.” She started gaining a buzz from her well-received single covering AV’s “Run Me My Money” and her 2015 mixtape, Keisha vs. Kash Doll. The next year, Drake slid in her DM to ask if she would like to perform at his Detroit stop on his Summer Sixteen tour. And Of course, she said yes. Her 2017 smash hit, “For Everybody” is one of my favorite tracks by the rapper. Inspired by Hype Williams’ film, Belly, Kash raps from a side chick and wife’s point of view which racked up over 10 million views via Youtube.

Kash Doll Drops New Mixtape 'Brat Mail'

The nine-track project features guest appearances from Natasha Mosley and Scrilla. Known for making boss moves and flaunting it in her lyrics, Kash reminds us why she’s up next up in the game. “My neck froze, it’s all ice/Put a ring on it, and name it Mr. Nice/His credit score 800, call him Mr. Right,” she raps on “Dancin.”

Her fans, which she calls “Bratz” couldn’t be more thrilled about new music by Kash.

“Today is not only special because of my birthday, but it’s the day my father passed,” says Kash Doll. “Brat Mail is a collection of songs I’ve teased on my socials that my Bratz have been waiting for.

Listen to Brat Mail below.

“For Everybody” video.

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Manny P Makes Debut With Single/Video “Facts” [Interview]

Manny P is an artist to put on your watchlist for the coming months. In the meantime, check out his latest visual, “Facts.”

Rapper Manny P regards himself as molded by the culture of the world, having lived in Los Angeles, New Jersey, Vermont, London, and currently, the Mecca, New York City. “Music has always been apart of my life … since before I was born,” the Mexican rapper tells AAHH. “My mom did a lot of musical theatre back then, so [I] was backstage immersed in all that while still in the womb.

Currently working on his debut album, Manny has been recording music since High School. “My sound kinda goes anywhere from really abstract, highly personal, to turn up raps,” he says. “I don’t stick to one type of beat/sound. One minute I’m on a dark ass lofi beat rapping the whole shit in a real monotone voice, and the next I’m loud and expressive over something more up-tempo.”

“Different beats give me different energies … they put me in different places in my head,” he continues. “All the pieces come together [though] to make up the full picture.”

Manny cites Pro Era head honcho Joey Bada$$ as the reason He started rapping seriously. “I was chilling with some homies real late one school night, and one of them had thrown on ‘Suspect’ from his first mixtape 1999,” he notes. “I penned my first shit to that beat. The verse still sits at the top of my google doc … like 50 pages ago. Through him I learned about pro era, then beast coast, and all that spiritual third eye indigo shit – I used to be on that.”

He recently dropped his official debut single on all streaming services and doesn’t plan on slowing his pace going forward. “I’m working on a lot of music, getting a live set together so I can start doing some more shows, and eventually I’ll have an album,” he says.

Manny P is an artist to put on your watchlist for the coming months. In the meantime, check out his latest visual, “Facts,” a colourfully trippy, and engaging visual feast to accompany the must-bump single. Manny has a clear delivery, and some surprisingly focused bars for new artist. The instrumental has a soulful undertone, dripping with a late 90s southern tinge that seems to get more infectious with each listen.

Add this joint to your playlists!


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