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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT:WILLIE EVANS JR.

“Willie Evans Jr, Paten Locke and Tough Junkie are the closest thing to Native Tongues since Native Tongues.” -DJ Sarah Love (DJ/BBC DJ/MTV Presenter) on Twitter

“It’s a crew of cats that I mess with hardbody right now from Jacksonville, Florida, these cats are so dope, and this (is) my word, I could not believe they were born and bred in Jacksonville, Florida, I was like, “Yo, what part of New York you from?” They reminded me of where I came from.” -Dres (Black Sheep/Native Tongues) on The Morning Influence Internet Radio Show (10/30/09)

“Don’t monkey with the funky.” –The Alias Brothers (Formerly known as Asamov)

Willie Evans Jr. is the physical manifestation of Hip-Hop and one of the funkiest cats to ever touch a microphone and an MPC. You see, not only will Willie rap circles around your favorite rappers, favorite rapper, he can also craft a beat, so funky that Clyde Stubblefield himself would be proud. The Jacksonville, Florida bred MC/Producer/Visual Artist is at the forefront of a collective of artists that have single handedly managed to put Northeast Florida on the map as a cauldron of Hip-Hop and artistic expression and is now set to show the world that some of the funkiest cats in Hip-Hop call Duval County home. The son of a self taught jazz musician, Willie counts James Brown, Wu Tang Clan, Weird Al Yankovic, Stevie Wonder, Jam Pony Express, DJ Magic Mike, Screamin Jay Hawkins and Geto Boys as some of his favorite artists and influences.

Willie has so far enjoyed a remarkable careers as a solo artist, producer and member of The Alias Brothers (formerly known as Asamov), who in 2005 dropped And Now… a critically acclaimed album that helped earn the group a spot on URB Magazine’s “Next 100 Artists To Watch For” list in 2006. And in the “Indie Beat” section of December, 2005’s issue of Vibe Magazine the quartet was said to have achieved “a feel-good vibe on its debut via soulful beats, vocal harmonies and doses of humor”. Willie’s dual role as MC and Producer along with Therapy aka Paten Locke, played an integral role in shaping the sound of And Now…and establishing Willie as one of the nicest up and coming producers in Hip-Hop. In 2007, Willie released his debut solo album Communication under the Rawkus 50 imprint in conjunction with Hip Hop Hell Records. Communication, a collection of dope beats and rhymes all provided by Willie; with the exception of Slow Adrenaline (Paten Locke), further cemented the MC’s legacy as one of the greatest talents underground Hip-Hop had ever witnessed. An album review on Underground Hip Hop.com stated that, “With a slightly minimalist approach, Willie Evans Jr., reminds you that before you have a message, an image, a network or a staff, you have gotta be funky.” And Communication brings the funk tenfold with smart, quirky lyrics over beats so righteous that it would be impossible for any fan of true school Hip-Hop to resist.

Willie has also done extensive work with legendary Boston MC’s, Mr. Lif and Akrobatik of The Perceptionists having produced the title track and other noteworthy songs on the group’s first album Black Dialogue (Def Jux), which was listed as #37 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Top 50 Albums” list in 2005. In 2007, Willie reunited with The Perceptionist MC’s to release Willie Evans Jr., Mr. Lif and Akrobatik presents Black Mega (The Remixes)(Def Jux), which according to Willie was a “physical manifestation of what I would imagine every beat maker says to themselves at one point or another: ‘Man I could of did something funky with that.’” With Willie, it’s all about the funk, the soul and the rhythm and this is evident every time he touches a microphone or his beat making weapon on choice, the MPC 1000. Most recently, Willie and his Duval cohorts have received major props from legendary Native Tongues member, Dres of Black Sheep, who happened upon the MC’s when they shared a bill with him for a show in Jacksonville. After getting over the fact that Jacksonville was home to so many incredible and authentic MC’s and Producers, Dres kept in contact and chose beats provided by Willie and his music family for his 2009 release, From the Pool of Black Genius. Willie’s lyrical and production style is often said to be reminiscent of the legendary Native Tongues collective and being co-signed by one of its most recognizable members has proven to be an honorable and fruitful relationship.

The list of artists that Willie Evans Jr. has been fortunate enough to work with whether it is touring, shows, or dropping beats and/or verses truly does read like a who’s who of underground and mainstream Hip-Hop. He has toured the US with Chali 2na of Jurassic 5, Mr. Lif, Akrobatik, Jedi Mind Tricks, Gift of Gab, Lyrics Born and more. He’s shared the stage with Wu Tang Clan, Nas, Mos Def, Keith Murray, Rob Roy, Murs, El P., Black Milk, J. Live, Blu, Little Brother, Ghostface Killah, Dead Prez, Whole Wheat Bread, Dillon, Lady Daisey and Batsauce of Heavenly Noise, The Smile Rays and many, many more. Other notable projects that he has worked on have been Mr. Lif’s, I Heard it Today, Tough Junkie’s, Grab What You Can and Dillon & Paten Locke’s Studies in Hunger, to name a few. Willie has also participated in the Rock the Bells Tour, the Paid Dues Festival, Jacksonville’s Conmoto Festival, the Harvest of Hope Festival and has performed every year at Atlanta’s A3C Festival, most recently as a part of High Water Music’s artist showcase.

Willie Evans Jr. is an artist in every sense of the word and takes a proactive approach in showcasing the Hip-Hop community in the Southeast. Staying true to this tenet, he created an online community, The Nerdy South.com to not only illustrate his own endeavors, but to also connect the various Hip-Hop communities in the Southeast to demonstrate a unified front in which everyone could reap the benefits of exposure and success. One notable show that is broadcasted on The Nerdy South.com is The Lyricist Hour in which Willie serves as technician/co-host. He has also performed off Broadway; handling audio and visuals. As well as scoring for plays and The State of the Re:Union, a nationally syndicated public radio show on NPR. And Willie Evans Jr. also makes a good sandwich, great even.

Willie Evans Jr. has recently signed to High Water Music and has plans to release an EP, a visual album and a full-length audio album. His aim is to reach as many listeners as he can and to change the way people currently view the things that spring from Hip-Hop as a commodity as opposed to an art form. And as he continues to record, collaborate and travel the US spreading the good word of the funk, there is no doubt that Willie Evans Jr. will achieve just that.

Willie Evans Jr. recently released another critically acclaimed album titled "Introducin'" in July 2011

WANT TO BE IN THE ARTIST SPOTLIGHT?

Interested in featuring in the Artist Spotlight for K4S Entertainment? Send your submissions to submit@k4sent.com to be considered by our review team.

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