Underground hip hop blog - best new hip-hop songs, mixtapes, music videos, album reviews, graffiti and urban culture.

Evidence – Cats & Dogs (review)

Evidence-Cats-&-Dogs-album-cover-rhymesayers

I’m by no means a hardcore Dilated Peoples fan. Like many West Coast groups from the late 90s backpacker movement (Blackalicious, Zion-I, Cali Agents, etc.), they’ve always been sort of hit or miss with me. Nonetheless I still have my favorite select songs, and I have always appreciated what groups like Dilated and company have stood for.

Over the years, Evidence has developed a serious reputation. With with his under-rated Weatherman LP from 2007, his place holder EP, The Layover, and his announced signing to Rhymesayers back in 2009, Ev’s sophomore effort became highly anticipated. Like all Dilated releases, Evidence’s latest offering, Cats & Dogs, has some truly fantastic material, but it also has its share of material that will get passed over.

Similar to his first album, much of the production comes courtesy of Ev and long-time affiliate, the Alchemist. Dilated fam members Babu and DJ Revolution also lend a hand to the project. And while Alchemist provides some absolute gems on this album, like “The Liner Notes” and “The Red Carpet,” DJ Premier and Sid Roams arguably steal the show with their productions on “You” and “Well Runs Dry.” And if this cast of talented producers wasn’t enough, heralded emcees like Rakaa, Roc Marciano, Aesop Rock, Raekwon, Ras Kass, Prodigy, and label-head Slug are brought on board as well. All in all, this is quite a dense slab of underground hip hop, to say the least.

As I mentioned, there is truly fine work on Cats & Dogs. Songs like “It Wasn’t Me,” “You,” and “Well Runs Dry” are a testament to how great Evidence can be as a solo artist. In addition to Ev, there are also some exceptional guest appearances. Raekwon and Ras Kass show they can still spit with deadly venom on “The Red Carpet.” Slug and Aesop also come through on the uber-catchy, “Late For the Sky.” Combined that with the production team of Premier, Alc, Sid Roams and Ev and you have the ingredients for a potential classic.

However….unnecessary interludes, a few lukewarm guest performances, and certain out-of-place tracks like “Falling Down” and “Crash” reminds us that Mr. Slow Flow doesn’t need to release an hour-long 17-track (or 20-track deluxe) album to make a statement. When your rhymes are primarily based around the struggle that comes being an underground emcee (despite winning a Grammy), and constant references to the weather, the territory can become well-worn quite quickly. Like most albums released today, Cats & Dogs suffers from overabundance. It seems to be growing plague within Hip Hop. Honestly, there’s enough quality material here for an extremely solid 12 or 13 song record. If anything, “Same Folks” featuring Fashawn should have been included on the physical release. Regardless, overall Cats & Dogs succeeds because it is by far the strongest release from the Dilated camp.

(3.5/5)

  • http://twitter.com/Danceproject190 Danceproject.info

    Evidence! cool!