Evidence “Beats” Out Everyone In Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 New Rap & Hip-Hop Albums List

Courtesy: Rhymesayers Entertainment

The old year is almost over, and the new year is nearly here, but before the clock turns midnight, turning 219 to 2019, there’s still some work for Phil’s Picks to do.  That work is some more year-ender list.  The year’s top EPs have been noted already.  Now, today it is on to the year’s top new Rap and Hip-Hop albums.

This has been an interesting year for the worlds of rap and hip-hop, with strong new offerings from the likes of Ice Cube, Evidence, Atmosphere and others.  There have also been some positive surprises from the likes of Mourning (A) BLKstar, Black Eyed Peas (yes, Black Eyed Peas — the group, now a trio again thank goodness, returned to its old school roots on its new album) and Dr. Octagon.

From one to the next, the albums that have been offered rap and hip-hop fans this year has largely been strong.  Keeping that in mind, forming this list was just as difficult as any before or after.

Topping this year’s list is Dilated Peoples emcee Evidence and his new album Weather or Not.  The album, from start to finish is everything that hip-hop and rap purists will appreciate, but musically and lyrically.  It is an old school presentation that is confident in both elements’ presentation.

Next up is fellow veteran emcee Eminem and his new album Kamikaze.  This record is, in this critic’s view, some of his best work to date, hands down.  The fire from his past albums is there, along with a certain maturity, too.  that balance makes for a solid work from start to finish.

Third place belongs, on this list, to Black Eyed Peas’ new album Masters of the Sun: Vol. 1.  As noted previously, this record takes the group, now a trio again, back to the sound that made it a hit during its underground days.  At the same time, the pop sensibility that made the group a hit in the mainstream is there, too.  Lyrically, the songs are their own stylistic rebirth for the group, too.

With 1st – 3rd noted, the rest of the list is fleshed out below.  As always, 15 titles are listed, with the Top 10 being the best while the next five are honorable mentions.  That is not to say that there is anything wrong with those albums.  They are just worth noting.  Now enough rambling.  without any further ado, here is Phil’s PIcks 2018 Top 10 New Rap & Hip-Hop albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW RAP & HIP-HOP ALBUMS

  1. Evidence — Weather or Not
  2. Eminem — Kamikaze
  3. Black Eyed Peas: Masters of the SunVol. 1
  4. Ice Cube — Everythang’s Corrupt
  5. Atmosphere — Mi Vida Local
  6. Mourning [A] BLKstar — The Garner Poems
  7. Dr. Octagon — Moosebumps
  8. Denzel Curry– TA1300
  9. Del & Amp Live — Gate 13
  10. Camp Hope — Micheal
  11. Everlast — Whitey Ford’s House of Pain
  12. dem Atlas — Bad Actress
  13. Four Fists — 6666
  14. Brownout — Fear of a Brown Planet
  15. Cypress Hill — Elephants on Acid

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‘Weather Or Not’ Is More Proof Of Evidence’s Talents, Abilities As A Solo Artist

Courtesy: Rhymesayers Entertainment

Dilated Peoples member Evidence returned this past January with his latest full-length studio recording Weather or Not.  Yes, that is spelled right.  His fifth full-length solo record, it is a solid new effort from the veteran MC that proves another positive effort that his most devout fans will appreciate just as much as hip-hop fans in general.  This is thanks collectively to the beats and rhythms exhibited in each of the record’s 16 songs.  This statement is supported early on in the album’s run in the form of its second entry, ‘Throw It All Away.’  This one will be discussed shortly.  ‘Powder Cocaine’ as bad as it sounds, is actually another important entry to Weather or Not, and will be discussed later.  ‘Bad Publicity’ is one more way in which Weather or Not proves to be another solid effort from Evidence.  Between it, the other noted songs and the rest of this 55-minute record, it becomes clear that the album is not just a solid return for Evidence, but also one of the year’s top new rap/hip-hop records.

Evidence’s new album Weather or Not is a solid new effort from the veteran MC and Dilated People’s member and is also one of this year’s top new rap/hip-hop albums.  That is thanks to beats and lyrical content that are certain to keep listeners fully engaged and entertained from start to finish.  ‘Throw It All Away,’ which comes very early in the album’s run, clearly supports that statement.  The song’s arrangement, which boasts a solid hip-hop beat at its foundation and a flowing keyboard line to boot, does plenty in itself to keep listeners engaged.  The song’s lyrical theme, set against that arrangement, strengthens the song even more.  That’s because lyrically speaking, the song comes across as a statement warning up-and-coming rappers to be more wise with their money.  That is inferred as Evidence raps, “Don’t take fans for granted/Like the money is due.”  It’s such a simple statement, but speaks volumes.  It really is the crux of everything that this song seems to try to get across as he raps, “A player plays what a player’s dealt/And carries baggage like conveyor belts/And never f****** saves his wealth.”  He’s saying here that he’s not a player, but someone who tries to be smart with his money and his experience.  He drives that home even more in the song’s chorus in which he raps, “I got some money/I’m gonna blow it all today/They say, “Michael, don’t throw it all away/And my reply is, “there’s more on the way”/When I said it, I was walking in the rain.”  Whether or not (get it?) he was using the rain as a way to talk about those rainy days is anyone’s guess.  It would be easy to assume that, though.  The mention of him blowing off people trying to warn him about wasting money strengthens the argument for that statement about wise fiscal management even more.  When this is considered alongside the song’s equally engaging musical side, the whole of the song proves entirely entertaining and engaging.  It makes the song just one of so many example of what makes Weather or Not another solid effort overall from Evidence.  ‘Powder Cocaine,’ as bad as the song’s title seems, is actually quite the important addition to the record, too.

‘Powder Cocaine’ is important in part because of its musical arrangement, which obviously does quite a bit of sampling.  The thing is that the sampling in question couples with the song’s beats to make the song’s musical side reason enough in itself to hear this song.  The song’s lyrical content does just as much as its musical content to make this song stand out.  That’s because it, like ‘Throw It All Away,’ seems to send a positive message to listeners, using powder cocaine more as a reference point than a content point so to speak.  That’s inferred as Evidence raps, “I be fine/Like powder cocaine/And that’s a hell of a drug/And that’s a hell of a saying/They need elephant trunks to get it off of the plate/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/I wanna settle for more/I wanna get knocked down so I could settle the score/Better than before/As if that was possible/To shake the demons of my mother in the hospital/Drove to a mansion and wrote this s*** in front of it/’Cause everybody covets the comfort of becoming it (rich)/And that’s a hell of a drug/I caught a hell of a dream/Caught a hell of a bug/F*** irrelevant things/I’ve been moving at the speed of my life/Ignorant to the price/I be fine like powder cocaine.”  When Slug (one of the members of Dilated Peoples’ label mates, Atmosphere, takes over in the second verse, he continues on in similar fashion, noting that he wants to be the best that he can.”  This all in mind, the song’s positive message is clear.  It’s a message of someone wanting to exceed expectations and be better than others who would rather be the opposite of that person.  This is a message that so many listeners would benefit from hearing.  It’s also more proof that not all rap is as bad as some would have people believe.  It also serves even more to show why Weather or Not will weather the storm that is this year’s crop of new hip-hop and rap albums.  Of course it is still not the last of the songs that serves to support that statement.  ‘Bad Publicity’ also serves to show what makes Weather or Not a standout album.

The arrangement at the center of ‘Bad Publicity’ is one of the reasons that this wrong stands out.  A close listen leads one to believe the rapper is sampling Public Enemy as part of its whole.  Of course the beats are the foundation for the song.  They make taking in the song’s lyrical content so easy and enjoyable.  Speaking of that content, Evidence gives people plenty to think about here, too as he raps, “You can still find Ev on the block/Somewhere between a hard place and a rock/My dresser drawer gun under the socks/Nothing fun about shooting one/But summer is hot/Hey young world, Slick Rick is still the ruler/Go follow these dopes, if you broke, to the jeweler (don’t follow these dopes)/I’m an artist/Getting something outta f****** tubas/Real MacGyver making something outta something useless/I’m done with proving myself to people I never met/A new rule in itself/Remind me not to forget/No reinventing my name/I woulda did a long time ago if I wanted fame/Ain’t relying on no claim to fame/Just more bangers/No more strangers/Only Chuck Strangers/the older I get/The less that I speak/I do my dirt/By my lonely I creep.”  This lead verse comes across as a statement of someone who’s comfortable in himself and doesn’t see the need to change for others.  It goes right along with the messages of self-confidence seemingly presented in the prior noted songs, in which Evidence noted he wanted to be the best that he could be.  Evidence’s  longtime friend (and Strong Arm Steady crew member) Krondon builds on that seeming message as he raps in the song’s chorus, “I’ve been living in a bubble/Don’t make me bust yours/You settle for less/I settle the score/Sure as waves at the shore and two add two is four/I’ve been eating all my life and still hungry for more.”  Between that chorus and the positive vibes in the song’s verses (including the second verse, which comes across just as positively as the lead verse), this lyrical content gives listeners just as much to appreciate here as the song’s musical arrangement.  When it is considered along with the overall content of ‘Throw It All Away’ and ‘Powder Cocaine,’ all three songs together go a long way toward showing why Weather or Not is another solid solo entry from Evidence.  They are certainly not the only songs included in this album that prove its strengths.  ‘Wonderful World,’ which comes late in the album’s run is more proof of that strength, both musically and lyrically.  The same applies with ’10,000 Hours,’ ‘Sell Me This Pen’ and ‘What I Need.’  Between those songs, the works more directly discussed here, and the album’s other four songs not noted, the whole of this album proves overall to be a solid offering from Evidence.  It gives listeners plenty to appreciate and talk about both in terms of its music and lyrics.  Keeping this in mind, it would be wrong to ignore Weather or Not as a candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hip-hop/rap albums.  It is that good that it at least deserves consideration for a spot on that list.  Either way, it is a rap/hip-hop album well worth at least one listen, if not more.

Veteran rapper Evidence’s fifth full-length solo studio album Weather Or Not is another strong, solid effort from the Dilated People’s MC.  It is an album that proves from start to finish, to be an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new hip-hop/rap albums.  That is proven through its lyrical and musical content – both alone and together.  Those overall positive lyrical theme and infectious beats will keep listeners entertained and engaged throughout, and agreeing in the end that this record in fact deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hip-hop/rap records.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Weather or Not is available online now along with all of Evidence’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/misterevidence

 

 

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/evidence

 

 

 

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Dilated Peoples’ Fifth Full Length LP Is The First Great Rap Album Of 2014

Courtesy:  Rhymesayers Entertainment/Expansion Team

Courtesy: Rhymesayers Entertainment/Expansion Team

Seven years.  That is how long fans of hip-hop trio Dilated Peoples waited and wondered if the group would ever release a new album or if the group—DJ Babu, Evidence, and Rakaa—had called it a career after the release of its 2006 album 20/20.  Now after that long wait, Dilated Peoples has triumphantly returned with a record that is a viable candidate to be one of the top new rap and hip-hop albums of 2014 in Directors of Photography.  The album is aptly titled, especially considering the fact that this record is the first for the group with new label Rhymesayers Entertainment.  Before signing with Rhymesayers, Dilated Peoples’ had released its previous four albums through Capitol Records going all the way back to its major label debut the Platform (2000).  The significance of the album’s title is linked to the possibility that while signed with Capitol, Babu, Evidence, and Rakaa likely didn’t have the control that they would have liked over the sound and feel of their work.  So much like the Director of Photography has the final say in the look and feel of a movie, TV show or advertisement, so did the group have that same kind of control upon signing with the indie label Rhymesayers.  The end result is an album that was well worth the wait for any long-time Dilated Peoples fan and just as welcome a first listen for those that might be new to the L.A.-based trio’s music.

Director of Photography’s lead single ‘Good as Gone’ is a fitting opener, especially considering that fans waited for this album for seven years.  The song comes across as a defiant, self-assured piece that lets the critics know that the group is back just as strong as ever.  That argument can be made by looking at the song’s first verse in which Rakaa raps, “I was getting buried alive/Heard the dirt hit the coffin top/I barely survived/But I broke through my grave/Ripped the pine box seal apart/Head first yelling, “maggot brain,funkadelic art/Fear is a dark side/Fair-weather friends flock/Hitchcock/sam birds scatter when the end stop.”  He goes on to make note through so much negativity, he didn’t let those fake friends and other naysayers get him down.  As he notes, “took heavy fire/Survived the crash landing/Smiled to walk away from the wreckage/The last man standing.”  Evidence seems to echo that sentiment as he raps in the song’s second verse, “Devise a plan and I execute it/Till I’m undisputed/If the record never stated/I’ve been showing most improvement/At a time when my peers declined/I used it as a booster/Used the dedication as a plus/I ain’t used to losers.”  It comes across in the grand scheme of things as a defiant statement that shows that Dilated Peoples is anything but Good as Gone.  If anything, this first impression from the veteran hip-hop trio  gives fans hope that the group’s fifth full length album won’t be its last.

Babu, Rakaa, and Evidence followed up the success of ‘Good as Gone’ just recently with the release of the second single from Directors of Photography, ‘Show Me The Way (ft. Aloe Blacc).’  This seemingly introspective song presents yet another positive message to listeners as Evidence and Rakaa go back and forth in a sort of call and response late in the song.  Evidence starts the cycle, rapping, “It’s routine/By the beach I rise/First up/I hit the 8$&%/Then I bleach my eyes/then it’s to the drum machine to speak my mind/Tracks like fitted hats/pick a beat m y size.’  Rakaa responds “Energized/On the darkest streets I shine/Saw the light up on the mountain/To the peak I climb/Breathtaking new perspectives on the life I grind/First tear of joy fell/Looking like I’m crying/For just a moment.”  Evidence’s response to Rakaa’s line, “The feeling of being content/Not needing a dollar or a cent/Smile for my mama/Cause she proud/The studio/My headphones loud.”  Rakaa finishes the cycle, rapping, “Bridge builders will connect these crowds/Dedicated on my honor/You can check these vows/That’s purpose/Power to make the powerful nervous/Hard work ain’t easy/But usually ain’t worth it.”  Evidence and Rakaa work together here to make a song that is a very lyrically uplifting piece, and a piece that illustrates even more what makes Directors of Photography well worth the listen.

Directors of Photography serve is a record that any hip-hop and rap fan should hear.  The two singles that the album has spawned so far solidly back up that argument.  If only one more song could be chosen as an example of what makes this album the worthwhile listen that it is, it would have to be the album’s second track ‘Cut My Teeth.’  This song comes across as a no nonsense piece that pays homage to the days before Dilated Peoples broke through and became a household name.  The song’s very first verse makes that clear, as Evidence raps, “I remember how it all began/I used to switch graffiti tips on cans with both hands/No chance/I knew they couldn’t stop this rush/Our bus bench was a stop/And they ain’t stopping the bus.”  He goes on to rap about when he really got into rap and where it would eventually lead to today.  Rakaa follows suit noting the difficulties that he faced growing up and how he overcame them.  He writes in the verse’s closing lines, “Standing at the crossroads/I saw a different world was mine/It was with me all the time/Appreciative, never satisfied/Inspired to climb/Eyes wide/Mid city lit that fire inside.”  While the stories crafted by Evidence and Rakaa are obviously quite personal, it could be argued that the positive ending to each story could serve as inspiration to so many audiences; inspiration not necessarily that everyone will get into the rap game.  Rather, inspiration to overcome any of life’s difficult situations.  Their stories remind listeners that as difficult as things might be at any time in life, it is always possible to make life better.  Just keep that positive drive.  It is that message of inspiration that makes ‘Cut My Teeth’ one more solid example of what makes Directors of Photography well worth the listen and potentially one of the best new rap and hip-hop albums of the year.

Directors of Photography is available now in stores and online.  It can be downloaded direct from iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/directors-of-photography/id888406737.  Audiences can hear these songs and plenty more from the group live as it tours in support of its new album.  Dilated Peoples is scheduled to perform live this Saturday, September 13th at Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union on the campus of San Diego State University.  It will follow up that performance with another live show next Saturday, September 20th at Cervantes’ and The Other Side in Denver, Colorado.  Audiences can check out Dilated Peoples’ current tour schedule online now at http://rhymesayers.com/dilatedpeoples and http://www.facebook.com/dilatedpeoples.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.