Band of the Day

2012.06.11

Evidence

A Los Angeles-based underground rapper/producer with a downpour of sick beats
Yo dangerous connections, friends are kept separate. Enemies drive 'em off the road, rev the engine.
lyrics from Emergency

A native of Los Angeles, California, Michael Perretta (b. December 10, 1976) is a hip hop artist and producer better known as Evidence. In addition to performing as Evidence, the Puerto Rican/Russian-American rapper is also a member of the rap group Dilated Peoples, and a former graffiti artist. After releasing four albums with Dilated Peoples, and doing outside production work for the likes of the Beastie Boys and Kanye West, Evidence released his debut solo album, The Weatherman LP on ABB Records in 2007. In 2009, Evidence signed a record deal with the Minneapolis-based hip hop label, Rhymesaysers Entertainment, who released his second album (Cats & Dogs) in 2011. It was Evidence's first album to appear on the Billboard 200, charting at number 64. Evidence is currently touring and working on the Untitled “Step Brothers” Project with The Alchemist.

There's no denying that Evidence is one of the hardest-working rappers/producers in the underground hip hop scene. Let's take a look at the evidence (pun most definitely intended). Exhibit A: as a producer, he's done work for the likes of the Beastie Boys, Linkin Park, Swollen Members, Defari, Planet Asia, and even earned a Grammy for co-production on Kanye West's debut album College Dropout. Exhibit B: aside from his work as a producer and performing solo as Evidence, the rapper—whose real name is Michael Perretta—is also a member of the legendary hip hop group, Dilated Peoples. Exhibit C: his 2008 EP The Layover, at ten songs in length, is longer than most indie rock band's full-length albums.

Considering he's from Los Angeles, where the weather is known for being sunny year-round, Evidence seems to be preoccupied with weather. His 2007 debut LP was called The Weatherman, and the theme spills over onto The Layover in songs like “Rain Or Shine.” It starts off with the line, “Let's get it together/no matter the weather,” before some excellent vinyl-scratching comes into play. Produced by DJ Babu, it features samples like “Busta's Lament” by A Tribe Called Quest and “It's All Real” by Pitch Black.

Closing track “The Cold Weather” starts with what sounds like a sample from a vintage British weather report, advising people to bring cloaks and umbrellas if they go outside. Moving away from weather reports is “Don't Hate,” which features West Coast hip hop artist Defari. It's almost like a lesson in music history, sampling from Bettye Swann's 1967 cover of Sam Cooke's 1964 hit, “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

In 2011, Evidence released his second LP, Cats & Dogs (which is a play off the line “it's raining cats and dogs.”) Continuing the theme of weather, opening track “The Liner Notes,” which features Aloe Blacc and is produced by The Alchemist, starts off with two girls having a dialogue about needing to carry an umbrella at all times, because it's going to rain cats and dogs. If you take a closer look at the album's track listing, you'll notice that there's deliberately no thirteenth track—perhaps Evidence is a superstitious man? But superstitious or not, based solely on what Evidence has produced so far, both on his own and as collaborations, there's no reason he should feel like luck isn't on his side. He's accomplished an incredible amount in his career so far, and we can't wait to hear what's next.