It’s unquestionable that the Rhymesayers roster outweighs every independent hip-hop label on the planet. Their cast of talent, expanding fan base, and quality of releases all contribute to tipping the scale on competition, and signing Evidence — which was an interesting and beneficial move for both parties — only made the line-up gain more muscle. Essentially, they only make good moves. This release is one of them.
2.) Anti-Sophomore Slump
Cats & Dogs has already exceeded its predecessor The Weatherman in critical praise. Don’t get it twisted either — the celebration of the LP is not by way of the RSE association, but for being a well-balanced and genuinely great hip-hop album. Evidence further proves how he is as much of a solo artist as he is one-third of Dilated Peoples.
I’ve been indifferent towards Al’s work over the past few years, but the producer and now emcee has sparked my interest yet again. With five production credits on Cats & Dogs and one appearance on the mic, Alchemist hits off his long-time collaborator with some of his best work to date.
4.) Guest Appearances
Far too many albums are flawed by featured performers. Fortunately, that doesn’t ring true in this instance. Raekwon and Ras Kass make fashionable appearances on “The Red Carpet,” and Prodigy’s verse on “Fame” almost allowed those ungodly prison letters to flee my memory. The Sid Roams-produced “Late For the Sky” puts Ev together with labelmates Slug and Aesop Rock for one of the album’s defining moments, and on the rugged East-meets-West “Where You Come From?,” the Peoples Dilated team-up with Lil Fame and Termanology. That guy DJ Premier has a couple of good beats on here as well.
By the time I was off the clock on the album’s release date, there wasn’t a CD copy of Cats & Dogs left at any of the Newbury Comics in the Rhode Island area. Within the five minutes I spent flipping through the hip-hop section at Newbury in Warwick, two other heads came through looking to score the album. By my lunch break the following afternoon, the Providence location had already sold out again, but Warwick still had two copies remaining. I called to ask if one could be held until 5:30, and, once I arrived, the girl behind the counter smiled and said the following: “There has almost been bloodshed over that album.” So, with my copy, I dipped, happily and safely.
6.) Chris Faraone
In a seven sentence review, Faraone can flex more of a vocabulary than I ever will during the existence of The Echo Chamber Blog. His worthy four-for-four star rating and review of Cats & Dogs can be read and then re-read over onThe Phoenix website.
a.) …I said to.
b.) …you couldn’t give even two reasons to buy the last album you illegally downloaded.
c.) …if Das Racist outsells Cats & Dogs, I’ll give up on hip-hop, music in general, and all of humanity.
d.) …I’d like to hear what you think.
e.) …Evidence – “Epilogue”
Now get out your wallet.