|Recording information: ALC Laboratories, Santa Monica, CA; All This Could Be Yours, San Francisco, CA; Infamous Studios, Queens, NY; Soundproof East, Los Angeles, CA; Soundproof West, Venice, CA; Stophouse Studios, Minneaoplis, MN; The Drug Lab, Los Angeles, CA; The Nebakaneza, Long Island, NY.
|"Mr. Slow Flow" could just as well refer to himself as "Mr. Slow Release Schedule," but the follow-up to Evidence's 2008 effort, The Weatherman LP, is such a well-built slab of indie rap that a four-year wait seems well worth it. This isn't just a statement for fans either, as the stern anchor of Dilated Peoples and his "patented flow" can come off as somewhat "limited" in a solo setting, yet Cats & Dogs is persuasive, beating Weatherman on variety, accessibility, and sharpness in spite of its long track list. A well-chosen and fat guest list certainly helps, with names like Aloe Blacc, Raekwon, Slug, and Prodigy all living up to their lofty reputations, while Evidence firmly remains the spotlight MC, making sure some of the indisputable standouts (the hard-hitting "I Don't Need Love," the dramatic manifesto "To Be Continued...") are solo cuts. Champion production is the final touch as the Alchemist, DJ Premier, and DJ Babu head up this dream team, and for the fan club members craving clues and trivia, there's the story of how Evidence earned his name (which involves will.i.am), plus a missing 13th track along with a clever explanation of why, if you listen close. Devotees might argue that the heavy Weatherman is superior, and they could make a good case, but for the newcomer, Cats & Dogs is a much easier entry point. ~ David Jeffries