Michael Perretta, better known as Evidence is one of the illest rappers in the game, his favourite rapper EV . The interview touches on the Weatherman LP , his production skills, his outlook on the hip hop industry, his love for photography , some of the coldest verses he wrote on Cats and Dogs and his advise to the youth.
Who is Evidence?
Evidence: An extension of Michael Perretta – an alias given to me by Will I Am. My song, “It wasn’t me” kind of explains it in rhyme form, which was fun to do. Will even showed up for the video. Very cool.
You were raised in LA, how would you describe your childhood?
Evidence: I had a fun and youthful childhood. My parents were having drama, but they were good at keeping that kind of stuff away from me. I am an only child, so my Mom always made sure I was having friends over or vice versa. I wasn’t lonely or anything like that when I was young.
What inspired you to start rapping?
Evidence: My environment mostly. People were doing graffiti, break dancing, and rapping at Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier. My friend Ethan Browne told me he liked what I was writing, that gave me inspiration to keep going.
Any specific challenges you faced trying to get recognition?
Evidence: Nothing different than the next person I’m sure. I had an advantage though. I lived next door to QD3 (son of Quincy Jones) where I got to see how rap music and other music in general was produced. It really opened my mind.
From dropping music as one third of The Dilated Peoples to standing solo and dropping your own albums what inspired you to pursue a solo career?
Evidence: We always had plans to do that. We were solo artists before we met. It was just difficult to do under our Capitol Records contract, so I waited until 2006.
What drives you as Evidence?
Evidence: Competition, Jealously, Weed, Creative People, Animals, Avocados, Venice Beach & Photography.
What inspired the album title Cats and Dogs?
Evidence: Heavy Rain. Drastic topics. Nothing really light.
Lets talk about your album cover..Its really out of this world what inspired it?
Evidence: It’s a flip. Animals looking other missing animals while I walk right by blurry. In our world it’s humans looking at other missing humans, while animals walk right by without a care. I’m glad you like it, I think album covers are important.
How has your music transitioned from The Weatherman LP to Cats and Dogs? I remember watching your YouTube videos where you were breaking down track by track off Cats and Dogs and i remember you saying you have some of the best beats ever produced by The Alchemist, how do you compare the production on the two albums?
Evidence: I think they have a common thread, but don’t think I made a sequel. I think it’s it’s own different thing written by the same person. I had a lot of great help both times. Great producers and great people around your sessions can really make it that much more notable when it’s played back. Energy is everything.
On The Weatherman LP you spoke about losing your mum and depression and a number of things you went through what lessons did you draw from that dark period in your life?
Evidence: Time heals in a weird way. I am by no means over that. Coping with that loss has become different, not easier or harder, just different.
Moving onto the red carpet “ I set it off in the sunny distance no days existed my patience led the way until the greatest love listened to me” …Pssssss… …What was going through your mind when you spit that line?
Evidence: I was just trying to paint with words. Seems like people gravitated to that first part of the verse. That makes me happy.
Considering the amount of positive feedback you are getting from the red carpet joint are you planning on shooting a video for the Red Carpet?
Evidence: I doubt it. Some things are just better left to imagination sometimes. I think that song should just remain audio.
On the track to be continued you have a verse that goes like “Cliff hanger ,my life is like I’m scaling a rock” and on the track It wasn’t me you spit the line “About to tell you who i are i came a long way and i still got so far to go, Tee off with this trademark flow after tonight ima let the whole world know, my name is Evidence” Is it just me or is Evidence is truly in his prime?
Evidence: I feel like it. The only thing that says, “No” is the amount of time I have been in the game. Some people are late bloomers and I would like to be an example of that when people talk about getting better as time goes on.
DJ Premier listed Cats and Dogs on number 3 in his top 25 albums of 2011 how did you interpret that?
Evidence: With a lot of humility. That is still hard to process. My baseball coach told me, “Never get too excited when you win, and don’t get too down when you lose.” I do my best to apply that to everything in life except sex.
You also produce beats how long have you been doing that? What software do you use?
Evidence: I have been mixing it up, but mostly still based around my ASR 10 & MPC 2000 XL. I know those the best and don’t really need to look past it. I’m into the sound of the gear, not just how fast it navigates or how many tricks it does. I do appreciate what people having been doing on Abelton Live, Logic & Reason, but I still like the hardware when it comes down to it. I did, ” I Don’t Need Love” on Reason and was pleased with the result. It really doesn’t matter what you use, but how you spill your bong water on your equipment.
How would you describe the state of hip hop at the moment?
Evidence: Same but bigger. Find what you like and let that be that. There are styles for everybody, nobody owns it.
As a person who has gone through a number of setbacks in life what advice would you give to youth who face a lot of obstacles trying to achieve beyond their circumstances?
Evidence: Try to stress as little as possible & hard work pays off eventually.
Your love for photography is it something you have always appreciated? How did that come along?
Evidence: My Mom (Mum) was one of the best Photographers I ever saw. I grew up around a lot of camera’s.
Lastly what advice would you like to give to up and coming musicians
Evidence: Don’t quit your night job.