Say what you will about Earl Stevens, the man has a staying power almost unrivaled in hip-hop. After a whopping 20 years in the game, the emcee known as Charlie Hustle still sounds as inspired as ever; in fact, his flow seems to improve with every passing year. And while he hasn’t put out a classic album since 2002’s Grit and Grind, the Ambassador of the Bay can still be counted on to rip a guest appearance, no matter how ridiculous the song (Alright so maybe he can be a bit too generous with his time.) But the point is, E-40 doesn’t turn down work. True to his mantra of staying “hungry and humble,” the Watter will guest on just about anything, and he always seems to come with his hardest. My Ghetto Report Card may not have succeeded in making him an A-list emcee, but since its release 40 has become a go-t0-guy for B-list remixes—a sort of franchise league pinch-hitter capable of elevating even the most obnoxious records. The following aren’t the only examples of this phenomenon, but they’re the most recent I’m aware of, and on every one 40 steals the show. With only a few exceptions, the other emcees aren’t fit to shine Earl’s shoes (fucking Sean Kingston?) but if 40 feels insulted he never lets on. He simply spits his usual gaso-line, making even the most unlistenable records enjoyable, if only for the duration of his verse.
Shawty Lo — Dey Know (Remix) ft. Young Jeezy, E-40, Plies & Gorilla Zoe
Shawty Lo can go play in traffic, but I gotta admit this beat knocks. Jeezy kills his verse too.
DJ Unk — Show Out (Remix) feat. Soulja Boy, Sean Kingston, Jim Jones & E-40
So many things wrong with this one. With the exception of E-40 this is like the worst lineup imaginable. Next to Kingston and Jim Jones, Soulja Boy actually comes off halfway-decent.
Dorrough Music — Ice Cream Paint Job (Remix) ft. Jermaine Dupri, Soulja Boy, Jim Jones, Slim Thug, E-40 & Rich Boy
I’ll admit to hating the original version of this song, but Dorrough made some good calls on the remix. There’s probably no one more fitted to rapping about candy paint than Slim Thug, and it’s great to hear from JD (where the hell has he been?) as well as the underrated Rich Boy. As for Jim Jones, he must just go around begging cats to jump on their songs. That or he works for free. I sure don’t understand it, because he invariably drags down anything he touches. At least there’s no videos to these joints so we don’t have to look at his dirty ass.
Slim Thug — I Run (West Meets South Remix) ft. Brisco, Nipsey Hussle, Yo Gotti, E-40
E-40 and a bunch of “up-and-coming” cats I could give a fuck about. These dudes are not even close to in 40’s league, but my guess is Snoop wasn’t returning Slim’s calls. Anyway, nice to hear Thugga and E-Bonics on a track together, and Jim Jonsin’s production is pretty epic.