Layovers can be horrible. There’s tons of waiting and that can be rough for the impatient. But breaks can also be a great way to relax, think and enjoy the leisure. For Evidence [click to read], this Layover comes in the form of his new EP and it encompasses the title in a manner that befits the experience. It’s a break between albums and a time to appreciate the rain and shine of life.
Off the jump, Evidence sets a tone reminiscent of his Weatherman LP. The production is spotless as ever, thanks in part to the assistance of veteran DJ Premier go-to-man for engineering/mixing, Eddie Sancho. Khrysis [click to read] unleashes death tones (“For Whom the Bell Tolls” [click to listen]) and DJ Babu [click to read] provides the best of what made Dilated Peoples so loved (“Rain or Shine”). Ev‘s Step Brother, The Alchemist, drops his smooth head bangers (“So Fresh,” “To Be Determined” and “The Far Left”) while simultaneously building anticipation for their upcoming joint project. Sid Roams add a Detox of a beat (“Solitary Confinement”) and Evidence assists himself with ill samples (“Don’t Hate”) and the piano laden closer (“The Cold Weather”). Impeccable sound and great contributions combine for a solid production team effort.
The help comes in other ways, also. will.i.am [click to read], Phonte [click to read] and the scene stealing Blu [click to read] drop verses to match the haunting bell chimes on the instrumental (“For Whom the Bell Tolls”). Defari gives no reason to hate (“Don’t Hate”) and The Alchemist gets into the booth to match flows with Fashawn [click to read ] (“The Far Left”). Elzhi [click to read] and Aloe Blacc (“To Be Determined”) add their touches to enhance an already impressive roster of guests. But, when Ev spits solo, there’s still much to praise. When alone on “Solitary Confinement,” he finds time to explain his dream to escape from pain and “The Cold Weather” shows his displeasure with the state of Hip Hop. Later, he boldly faces the loss of his mother on “Rain or Shine” with meditative rhymes.
“Nothing ever really went wrong/ Until the one that raised me was the one that’s gone/ It’s funny how strength comes in different forms/ Some embrace they faith, others weather storms/ Others tell themselves that the pain moves on/ I saw the clouds move in, and when it did, they poured/ I push away the pain/ It’s the sun and the rain/ Rain or shine, I got my umbrella/ I said there’s none better/ I’ma see you again/ It’s worth to listen. A woman’s worth is worth everything.”
Even the harshest critic of Mr. Slow Flow‘s unhurried delivery can understand that the combination of ill rhymes and beats is hard to critique. With low miscues and few flaws, the album draws from pain and joy to create a balanced EP. It may not be a classic, but there isn’t much to gripe on here. Whereas layovers can usually be dreadful, as we established earlier, this one manages to be an enjoyable one.