Interview: Evidence

The soloist and founding member of LA underground hip-hop group Dilated Peoples talks to Shariffa Abdulrehman ahead of his May 21 solo show in Prague

Big up the street, word to your brethren's. Evidence, soloist and founding member of hip-hop crew the Dilated Peoples, will bring the noise Thursday, May 21.

Evidence plays his first Prague solo gig at this month's installment of Lucerna Music Bar's Boombox Series, which takes its name -- Slow Flow Boombox -- from Mr. Slow Flow, the first single from his debut solo album The Weatherman LP.

Although one of the most influential LA underground hip-hop groups, Dilated Peoples are recognized mainly for chart hit This Way, a 2004 collaboration with Kanye West.

Evidence attributes their limited mainstream popularity to "lack of funding. Majors have more money to play the games that would allow you in that particular arena. I have no problem with whichever box I land in, or how people view me. I just want to make the best music I possibly can."

Based on previous shows, Evidence will have to work hard to surpass the expectations he's built up performing twice in the Czech Republic already. Local promoter Affro described his 2007 Hip Hop Kemp appearance with Dilated Peoples as "one of the best shows in the Czech Republic ever. When they dropped Worst Comes to Worst to 20,000 people, the place went completely nuts."

Evidence insists Thursday night's show will be "not as much slam-dance energy and more of a personal intimate setting. I might squeeze in a couple Dilated classics. But I think people are in for a nice surprise."

The city of Prague certainly appealed to Evidence: "I felt the vibe in Prague and would love to experience more of the city."

Since Dilated Peoples parted company to pursue solo careers, he has released three albums to date, all of which are being promoted for the upcoming concert: "I am very excited to be returning to promote The Weatherman LP, The Layover EP and Cats & Dogs."

When asked what is forecast for the current album Cats & Dogs he is promoting he replied, "More rain. It's a famous saying meaning heavy downpour. I am very excited for its top-of-2010 release. I feel it will be the best of the three solo albums I plan on dropping."

Through his work with Dilated Peoples, Evidence has been described as The Champion of Hip Hop Culture. However, from his viewpoint, success and ambition are a personal journey. He seeks to carve out a successful lane on his own terms. "Currently I feel I am in route to do just that. How long it takes isn't up to me. It's up to the people. It's up to me to stay focused and constantly push myself as a rapper/producer and musician."

Supporting acts include Fashawn an up-and-coming West Coast MC who has worked with Evidence in the past. "Fash is young, but has an old soul. I am proud to be bringing him to Europe for y'all to check out for the first time."

Local acts include Zverina an energetic MC and freestyler, highly acclaimed DJ Wich, who's been described as the best producer in Eastern Europe, and DJ Tuco and DJ Pufaz.

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