Evrlove Blake: All about those Triangles, Circles, and Squares [Article]
Edmonton, AB – On Feb. 28, Edmonton’s own Evrlove Blake (of the Evrlove crew) releases his rookie Triangles, Circles & Squares mixtape. It’s been eight months since Evrlove Blake first told me about his tape. And I’ve been impatiently waiting for it, ever since. Evrlove Blake first flew on to my radar in spring 2013 with his visuals for “Empty Glxss” and “Interpretation.”He teamed up with Evrlove Corey F and Kryple for one video with two sides: the turned-up party anthem that was “Empty Glxss,” and the thought-provoking feelers-inducing “Interpretation.” I was feeling it.
Then there was that time when he decided to put his own spin on Kendrick Lamar’s monstrous “Control” verse. And admittedly, it was the only “Control” response verse that I ended up posting on HipHopCanada. Because it wasn’t even a response to K-Dot. It was a whole new track unto itself: “Artist.” It wasn’t a scenario of, “Oh, let’s take Kendrick’s verse and plug in some new rhymes and sound angry and stuff.” Because most cats were doing that. Blake actually took the time to craft an entirely different flow, and a gnarly set of lyrics, to match. He even brought Corey F into it all. And Corey put this “Verses turn cynical/ Your progression is minimal” line on to the track’s hook. I assume it was intended to poke fun at every single person trying to respond to Kendrick.
“[Evrlove is] more like a brotherhood now; a way of living. Evrliving. Evrlife. Evrdoing something. Forevr chasing what you want to do.” – Evrlove Blake
Anyways, if you’ve been to a hip-hop show in Edmonton, you might already be familiar with the Evrlove crew. They’ve opened up some pretty major events, lately: French Montana, Machine Gun Kelly, Wu-Tang, and more. The crew consists of five members: Evrlove Corey F, Evrlove Artafacts, Evrlove J Oakley, Evrlove Mac, and – of course – our dude, Evrlove Blake. “I was going to call myself Evrlove, to begin with. And then it kind of seemed like more of a brand name. It stood for more than just an individual name,” said Blake. ”It’s more like a brotherhood now; a way of living. Evrliving. Evrlife. Evrdoing something. Forevr chasing what you want to do. You know? Evrlove.”
And the Evrlove guys share this unreal bond. It’s beyond brotherhood— it’s downright culty. But – you know – the fun kind of cult. With lots of Evrlove to go around. “None of us are f*cking killers, or anything like that,” clarifies Blake. He also points out that their crew is founded on a support-system mentality, as opposed to a collaborating-on-every-single-song mentality. “Evrlove isn’t a boy-band, or anything like that,” said Blake. And then he starts laughing. “We’re all individual artists. We all have our own roles.” The Evrlove dudes each pursue their own craft. “Corey [F]‘s just as talented as I am. He hides that sh*t,” said Blake. But the Evrlove squad combines forces as a support network and creativity hub; oh, and they’re one of the freshest YEG-repping squads around.
Anyways, Evrlove just got back from the T-Dot. The went to compete at the 9-0-Nickel’s 10th Annual Urban Festival against 50 other independent artists from all across North America. The sole purpose of the trip was to network. But guess what? Evrlove took home a win, after being judged by greats such as Farley Flex and Organik. “My squad; we rented a vehicle because not all of us could afford to fly out,” begins Blake. “We had a flat tire. Evrlove Artafacts drove off the road at four in the morning.” Blake starts laughing. “You have no idea what we went through to get out there. Everything to stop us from making it there was happening.” But that’s just the thing about Evrlove. They live by the no-man-left-behind code. “There’s lots of other artists who probably could have made that trip, too, that would have given us a run for our money,” said Blake. “But you know what? My team was the team that dedicated and sacrificed to make it happen.”
So let’s get back to the project at-hand: Triangles, Circles & Squares. This rookie tape is not as amateur as Blake would have you believe – it’s 17 tracks long, and covers the entire emotional spectrum: anger, sadness, happiness, pensiveness, gratitude, regret, remorse, confusion, and everything else in between. But only about half of Blake’s recorded songs actually made it on to the project. “I had to cut out songs that I love. And some of the songs on my tape I don’t actually love. I just put them on to show people that I’m well-rounded, and progressing in the diverse lanes,” admits Blake.”I’m not just about that trap sh*t. I’m not just about talking about relationship stuff. [The project] just tells my story.”
So I listened to the project, by the way. And I felt feelers that I didn’t even know I was capable of feeling. It’s kind of like listening to The Weeknd. You just feel something so strongly; and you’re not entirely sure what it is. But it’s some sort of emotion, and it makes you feel. So. Many. Feelings. The tape is also a great introduction to the musicality and mindset that is Evrlove Blake. You know when you go to those really awkward functions and you have to wear those, “Hello, My Name Is…” nametags? This is Blake’s musical nametag; his identity within the scene. Funnily enough, I ended up giving Blake my own label after copping a listen to his project: Dirty South hippy. He seemed to like it.
But I suppose I should clarify what I mean when I say “Dirty South hippy.” Evrlove Blake takes a lot of that trap musical influence and – I don’t even know how, but – he makes it mellow. It’s not frantic. It’s not frenzied. It’s vibed-out. Like a hippy. Who took a detour and ended up down south in a sea of 808 sub-bass kick drums, and double-time BPMs (which all come courtesy of Evrlove’s in-house producer, Graham Smith of Ripshred Recordings, who is now more commonly known as Evrlove Ripshred. Cute.).
Blake admits that one thing that defines his “rookie” status is his overuse of metaphors. “Corey [F] thinks that maybe it’s a way I hide my emotions,“ said Blake. “I touched on [but] didn’t go into super depth about certain things. It leaves me with a lot more material that I need to say.” Oddly enough, while I chopped it up with Blake, my initial impression of him was that he was ambiguous. Overly ambiguous. Elusive. Maybe even a little damaged. It was eerily similar to what I would assume an interview with The Weeknd would be like. Sorry, I don’t mean to be dropping all of these Weeknd parallels. But it’s the closest comparison I can make to give you some context. Evrlove Blake consistently alluded to all of these hardships, and “bad situations,” without disclosing specific details. The intensity of Blake’s feelings were apparent, but the idea of full-disclosure seemed intimidating to Blake. But the dude’s got an entire discography to build from here onwards. So he’s forcing us to get to know him a bit.
After a bit of prodding, Blake opened up to me and we talked about some of the concepts on the tape. For example, the title of the track “Krow” is actually “Work” spelled backwards. Because Blake believes that work ethic is a matter of interpretation. Deep. And then we got into one of his more emotional tracks, “XXIV,” wherein he has 24 hours to save his relationship from failing. Spoiler alert: he couldn’t save it within 24 hours. Instead, he penned a track about it all. And if you want to show some support to the homie, make sure you head over to Hot 107 to vote for “XXIV” as part of the network’s “Hot Factor” program. Blake is vying for a hefty chunk of change and some assistance in getting his name out there on a larger-scale.
I didn’t even bother asking Evrlove Blake about his musical influences. Firstly, because that’s just a boring-ass question. And secondly, because I got the sense that he really isn’t about biting the style of other artists. Blake grew up on hip-hop classics like DMX, Ja Rule, and Eazy-E. “I was always that dude that had that new song on his iPod. All [my] boys were like, ‘You got those new tracks?’” Evrlove Blake also spent some time listening to Kylie Minogue. But his M.O. has always been about the good music. “Rap – to me – doesn’t have its own identity,” said Blake. ” It’s an open genre. People are so in the box.” (Editor’s note: or should we say… the square?) “If someone comes up to me and is like, ‘Yo this is some real rap, right away, they’ve lost all credibility in my mind,” admits Blake. And therein lies the realness of it all. It’s funny because when I chatted with Maestro Fresh Wes a few weeks prior, the Freshter Wester told me something along the same lines: “Good music is good music.” And that is what it’s all about, people. How many times do you find yourself at a hip-hop show where the openers are getting their knickers in a knots over their “real hip-hop”? Yeah, I hate it, too.
So with that all said-and-done, I’m going to throw this out there: Evrlove Blake is one of the freshest MCs coming out of Canada right now. And his Evrlove homies are some of my favourite people ever. These guys might just be the ones to put E-Town on the map. And here’s another spoiler alert: when you download the tape and listen to “All Gold,” you’ll notice that it’s not actually a track about currency aka: C.R.E.A.M aka: cha-ching. It’s a metaphor that speaks to the value Evrlove Blake places on his crew. They’re “All Gold.” They’re his currency and what he works for. And that brings us right back to what it’s all about: those triangles, circles, and squares. “Life’s kind of resolved around triangles, circles, and squares,” said Blake.
“You have people who are scared to change what they want to do. You have people who support and are true [to] your vision and your [visions] are congruent. And then you have your circle: you have people that you can just trust.”
So keep it locked on the release of Triangles, Circles & Squares. It’s coming at you on Friday and we’ll have all the details on that. In the meanwhile, make sure you head over to Hot 107 to vote for “XXIV.”