Brought to life in 2009 at the merging of members from high-school era graff crew 'LP' and rap duo 'EVOL', EVOLP dropped a series of heavy experimental tracks through to 2012's 'Systems Up, Windows Down' - after which they proceeded to fall off the face of the earth.
That is, until last week, when we received a call from Philly and Lucia, the grassroots geniuses (and K'Rd baes) behind LiT Entertainment. We were placed on speakerphone, the girls explaining they were in the room with Lapse and Sam Slaughter, two thirds of the dormant EVOLP. The boys had a new song, they said, and some fresh pressed visuals to accompany it:
Of course, we asked to watch this video, which led to a brew with the guys to get up to speed on just where and what the hell they'd been incubating on for the last few years. The third piece to the puzzle, Matthew Moore, was unfortunately on the other side of the world fulfilling a dance contract out in Mexico - a little too busy to get in on the beer buzz. It became apparent that this was part of the natural flow of EVLOP; a trio of guys leading uber creative double lives, who've organically grown apart and then back together over the course of the last few years.
Lapse kicked it off eloquently, explaining the evolution underscoring the group's hiatus, “What you care about when you’re 19 is so fucking different to when you’re 25. Especially if you’re three white dudes, like, rapping. You want your content to be fucking real. At 19, everyone has this chip on their shoulder, and they’re angry at everyone, but it turns out, they're actually just fucking angry at themselves. So, it’s cool to just be awake, and still spitting. Because, like, if you see us live, we’re intense. We go hard. We like live, we like yelling. That hasn’t changed in our music." According to Sam, it's a development that's subconsciously matured their vernacular, "We all realised the other day when we were recording, nobody says 'bitch', not even once. The flavour hasn’t changed, we’re still intense, still a little bit out there. But it’s nice to know that with that hiatus we grew, you know?"
Turning up their new song, 'Warped Reality', it's immediately self-evidently woke. Catalysed by Auckland's largest activist movement of recent memory, Sam's bars were scored to a visceral experience at Queen Street's TPPA March, "I was truly inspired by the energy, the speakers. We were hungover, and we were like, 'Nah bro, we just have to go.' So, we went and it was an amazing experience. I was inspired, but I was fucking frustrated. I went home and I wrote this rap."
The video came about with much the same natural momentum - almost obvious in part, given that two thirds of the crew make a living from dancing. The boys had ran into the LiT girls on the street, and with their insane work ethic, Philly and Lucia moved to push the visuals into production asap - Lapse recalls the debauchery on shoot dates, "You could just hear them saying ‘YAS!’ in the background. It was so fun man, it was just two days of mayhem.”
As it turns out, 'Warped Reality' is EVOLP's new tipping point; the ball's rolling, and we can expect an EP before the year's out. Reflecting on their recent creative process in producing their own beats, Sam laughs, "It got to a point where we’d actually loop anything. I was staying with this guy [Lapse] for a couple of days, and I went to the garage and got this drill, and we found this deck of cards - and just played with, looped, the noises we got out of them. We were getting real experimental, and exploring new ways to do shit. That’s one thing that comes across in our music, and, sort of our persona now, is we’ve lost that insecurity."
As Lapse puts it, all they're looking to do is, "Experiment and enjoy it, especially in a time when there’s a fucking formula." EVOLP's music is now the product of reflection, a response to the world, "It’s just about growing up, aye. Hip Hop’s so fucked. It’s nice to know you can still come up with a hard rap, but have something to say - because nobody has something to say anymore. Not comparing us to the one and only Tupac, but there just ain’t any fucking Tupacs anymore, you know?”