Evidence The Weatherman LP

When setting out on one’s own, it helps to have both fire and water, a tent and sleeping bag, pigeon and stick, and, when it comes to rap, both lyrical and production skills. In the case of Evidence and his departure from Dilated Peoples, survival seems likely, if a tad boring. Lyrically, Ev is in that nice mental space between money thug and hot topic preacher, someone who doesn’t need to wallop you over the head with his point, whether it’s getting really old school with Planet Asia on "A Moment in Time,” lining up punches with Slug on "Line of Scrimmage” or talking about his dead moms on the surprisingly touching "I Still Love You.” The problem is in his monotone flow, which is like a boring Mobb Deep or some shit, and it causes this to be an album you can’t listen to all the way through. The production is tight of course, from Ev himself to Alchemist kicking in some solid-ish tracks, but there are no real bangers and some too-obvious jacks ("Everybody’s talking bout the good old days, the good old days…”) that just sort of annoy. This needs more fire, less water, less stick, more pigeon. (ABB)