E-40 Loves His Son to a Fault

November 18, 2010

Earl Stevens, Jr., aka Droop-E

If there’s anything E-40 can never be accused of, it’s not loving his family enough. Despite being arguably the only talented member of the Stevens Clan, Earl has selflessly promoted a roster full of his kin—from siblings D-Shot and Suga T to cousins B-Legit, Kaveo and Mugzi—throughout his twenty-year career. Anyone checking the credits of 40’s last few albums will have noticed the trend continuing with a new generation, as each new release has included greater participation from his son, producer Droop-E. However, with Earl Jr. not only producing the majority of 40’s current double album, but also serving as co-executive producer on both discs, the trend has officially gone too far: 40 is now guilty of showing his family too much love.

It’s not that Droop-E is a totally hopeless producer. He made a strong showing on Turf Talk’s West Coast Vaccine, and he turns in a couple decent tracks here. On the whole though, his work on Revenue Retrievin’ is totally uninspired; he appears to have very little musical knowledge (chords are almost unheard of in a Droop-E beat), and even at his best never rises above the level of a cheap Rick Rock imitation. The majority of his compositions on 40’s latest (an insanely bloated double release of 19 tracks per disc) consist of 808 claps, heavy bass, and assorted sound effects; though each could be said to “slap,” most could be said to “suck” as well (it’s a credit to E-40 that Revenue Retrievin‘ still manages to be highly entertaining.) But what to say about “Spend the Night?”

Call me crazy, but I can’t imagine the Ballatician accepting a collage of Bjork vocal samples from any producer not also named Stevens. Whether this track works or not is a tough call; the beginning is just as unlistenable as the latter half is strangely hypnotic. What is clear, however, is the fundamental creepiness of a “for the ladies” jam crafted by a father-and-son duo. I mean there are many things I enjoy doing with my father, but bragging about my sexual prowess (or hearing about his) does not make the cut. Of course, Fonzarelli and son clearly overcame any such awkwardness long ago, so that now the proud papa can lace his son’s tracks with verses about killing people, selling drugs, and, on “Undastandz Me,” “stretch[ing] the kiznoochy out like elastic.”

E-40 — “Undastandz Me” (Prod. Droop-E)

No one expects Droop-E to stop producing for his father (that would certainly be a career-killing decision), but I have to wonder how he feels hearing these sorts of things from his old man (who is still married to Droop’s mother, by the way.) Perhaps—even between father and son—game can’t help but recognize game.

You undastandz me?


L.A. Story

October 8, 2009

The upside of being jobless is that you can essentially treat the whole week as a weekend. Meaning that, should you find you need to be in Los Angeles for 30 minutes on a Tuesday (as I did recently), you can make a vacation out of it, using the better part of the work week to take care of business and, more importantly, visit friends and see the sights. You might as well, right? I mean, it’s not like you’re gonna get fired.

I took just such a trip this week, and—a surprisingly brutal Fulbright interview notwithstanding—had a really great time. In between kicking it with my old roomates, beasting on Armenian food with my relatives, and hitting Disneyland (for free) with one of the badder b*tches I know, I had several minor revelations which, compiled, really capture the essence of the entire trip. Here they are, in no particular order, for your reading enjoyment.

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September 19, 2009

E-40 ft. Young Jeezy & B-Legit — “Get Money” (download)

Finally, a lead single worthy of 40’s name. No Akon, no T-Pain, no Lil’ Jon; just a hot track and three hard, uncompromising verses. Jeezy and 40 display a natural chemistry, and B-Legit contributes one of his best verses in years. If the rest of the album stays in this lane, Revenue Retrievin’ could be the E-40 album we’ve all been waiting for. Welcome back, Earl.

Christmas Comes Early This Year

September 10, 2009

So apparently E-40 is dropping a new album in November. In this interview The Ambassador speaks on the new project, his release from Warner Brothers, and what went wrong with The Ball Street Journal (basically the label was buggin.’) That cover says EMI, but I think they’re just handling distribution. From what I could glean from the interview, 40’s now independent, and more power to him. He’s never gonna be a pop rapper anyway. If we’re to believe Fonzarelli, Revenue Retrievin’ will be a return to the mobb sound of old, with no lame attempts at crossing over. Sounds good to me (hell, I even fucks with most of the last album.) The first single is supposedly called “Get Money,” and will feature Young Jeezy and B-Legit (!)

Go cop this when it drops, people; this man does not dissapoint.

Back to School!

August 23, 2009

Today is the first day of school, so for all the youngn’s out there I thought I’d post this classic PSA. “Beats By The Bay Presents: Stay in School” joins together some of the biggest rappers in the Bay Area (and a few I’ve never heard of) for a decidedly conflicted public service announcement. The message coming from a few of these rappers is clearly “Don’t be like me. You know—the ice, the cars, the girls, the life….you don’t want it. STAY IN SCHOOL.” Granted some of these dudes made it through high school (I know 40 even did a couple years of college) but others definitely gave school the middle finger (and, it could be argued, are currently getting paper because of it.) Mugzi makes a good point, though: if you’re gonna get a record deal, you  better know how to read the contract (no looking at it once and then putting your “X” on the bottom!)

Best part of the video has to be when Cellski’s intimidating ass just pops out of nowhere. So weird to hear him saying something positive. Same goes for The Jacka, who has probably the best line of the whole song: “Don’t admire thieves ’cause we don’t admire you.” Way to keep it 100 with them kids, Jack! I hope they can handle the truth!

Hungry and Humble

July 24, 2009

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.

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40 shaved his dreads!

July 15, 2009

And just when they were starting to look tight, too. This is definitely gonna fuel the haters saying he just jumps on trends. Hyphy goes out of style and you just up and shave them shits? Say it ain’t so, Water. On a sidenote, Laroo is a terrible rapper.