ev.jpgAs one-third of Dilated Peoples, Evidence created some of the Left Coast’s most East Coast–friendly concoctions since Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. For his solo debut, The Weatherman LP, Ev stays in the same lane, with some notable improvements. Supported by a bevy of soulful tracks, which complement his patented slow flow, the Cali MC loosens the straps on his backpack to display the heart of a more well-rounded artist.

On the anthemic opener, “I Know,” Evidence showcases his proficiency behind the mixing board as well as in the booth, as the thumpin’ tempo goes well with his tactfully paced words. Frequent collaborator The Alchemist also pulls double duty on the lively “Letyourselfgo,” where he, Evidence and Little Brother’s Phonte ride the beat like a Scores dancer working the pole. Al delivers another gem with the pensive “Chase the Clouds Away,” where Ev reminisces about his mother’s lost battle with cancer (“I seen the sun come down/Reflection on the ground/That’s my mom shining down on me”).

For the most part, Evidence does a good job of masking his drab monotone voice with a solid musical backing, but there are instances where he falters a bit. On the plodding “Perfect Storm,” Sid Roams’ simple production feels like a shaky boat out in a northeaster being steered by a bland hook (“It’s the perfect storm/It felt so warm/’Til the rain came with wind so strong”). Likewise, the Res-featured “Believe in Me” and the aptly titled “Mr. Slow Flow” are too densely packed for listeners with ADD.

Things gets back on course, though, thanks to Jake One, who places the soulful fire under “Down in New York City.” Ev’s Dilated brother DJ Babu lends a helping hand as well, with the pulsating bounce of “Things You Do.” Filling his sails with a surprisingly consistent bed of sound, the forecast for Evidence’s solo career appears to be all clear skies with only a slight chance of rain. —JESÚS TRIVIÑO ALARCÓN