“They pull their guns out, they’re screaming to get out of the car: ‘Hands up!’ They have both sides of Sunset blocked up. There’s a helicopter,” he says. “Here I am with my boss and one of the biggest artists of all time and they make us lay face-down on the street. Redman’s pissed off, Kevin’s looking at me, I don’t know what to do.”
After the police searched the car, checked Evans’ license and put the three African-American men in handcuffs, one of the officers, who was Black, recognized Redman and Liles and they were free to go. Turns out, Evans says, someone from the club spread a false rumor they had a gun in the car.
“We were scared to death. I thought I was going to lose my job,” says Evans, who left Def Jam for Capitol Music Group in 2018 and, Tuesday, was promoted to executive vp urban promotion. “I worked with the wildest of the wildest artists ever: Redman and Method Man, DMX, Ja Rule. They loved running around with me and I had a red carpet rolled out wherever we went.”
Evans, who started his career working on music videos at a casting company in LA, signed on as a Def Jam promotion executive in 1998, working records by Jay-Z, Rihanna, Rick Ross, Mariah Carey and others. At Capitol, 20 singles that he has worked on have hit No. 1 on various charts, including eight by Lil Baby on Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, plus others by City Girls, Offset, Queen Naija, Kem and Ne-Yo. Radio promotions may be changing, as broadcast giants like iHeartMedia and Entercom streamline their staffs with more centralized content and fewer regional DJs and programmers. RCA and Interscope have cut top promo execs in recent weeks, but Evans’ red-carpet approach to stars’ promotional appearances remains the same.
“A lot of stations have had to cut back and are doing business a little differently,” he says. “At Capitol, we’re still the same amount of people we’ve had since I’ve been here. It’s been a good run and I’m encouraged by the new talent we’re signing and the artists we’re developing.”