Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Evidence - "Cats & Dogs"

Evidence - Cats & Dogs
Label: Rhymesayers Entertainment
Release Date: September 27, 2011

"L.A. made him, L.A. grazed him and L.A. saved him"

I've got to hand it to Rhymesayers: they're more than just that little rap label from Minnesota. Whether they're scooping up Freeway from Philly or Evidence from L.A., Rhymesayers Entertainment is a fitting home for some of the game's most underappreciated/overlooked emcees. With Cats & Dogs, Dilated Peoples member Evidence looks to mark his territory. A follow-up to 2007's The Weatherman LP, Cats & Dogs is a step up from its predecessor, with Ev sounding hungrier than ever - yet at the same time buoyant and free-spirited. With The Alchemist handling the lion's share of the album's production work - along with highlights from Sid Roams, Evidence himself, Charli Brown and the legendary DJ Premier - Cats & Dogs boasts a well-balanced selection of hard-hitting backpack rap beats (or at least whatever my conception of "backpack rap" happens to be in 2011).

Evidence delivers an equally-efficient performance throughout the LP and enlists some scout-picked collaboration partners along the way. Every beat on this album knocks; every emcee comes correct (Raekwon! Prodigy! Roc Marciano! Termanology! Much more!!!). Obviously I'm partial to some songs more than others, but try as I may to point out any filler on this album and... well, I just can't do it. I've listened to hundreds of albums this year (no kidding), and it's safe to say that Cats & Dogs has dethroned Watch the Throne The Book of David for my top spot of 2011. So far.

^ Ev's newest video, with a cameo by will.i.am