Meet the man, the legend, the lyricist-- E-40... Aka Fonzerelli, aka 40-water, aka Captain save-a-hoe, aka good ol' Earl Stevens, and so on. VOILA! This man is one of the reasons why I enjoy what I do so thoroughly. He is one of the most humble, accomplished, sincere human beings I have come into contact with.... For serious. I even told the press at his album release event this past week that, "The man is so down to earth, he's below sea level!" ...And it's true. E-40 has been in the game for over 20 years, and he's still going strong with an enormous and faithful fan base. Hailing from Northern Califoolya's Bay Area-- he has been repping the West to the fullest with artists like Too Short also blazing the trail. E-40 is responsible for such classics as, "Sprinkle Me", "Hope I Don't Go Back", "Captain Save-A-Hoe", and the contemporary rap classic, "Hyphy". 40 water and his crew (The Federation) started a wildly popular movement in the Bay called "The Hyphy Movement". The movement became international in late 2005, and made the "crump" dance widely popular. 40's not just known for his rap. He's also widely known for his unique vocabulary, voice, and delivery. 40 went as far as to write his own book filled with his own colloquialisms called, "E-40's Book Of Slang Vol. 1". He is the self proclaimed "king of slanguistics". I had the honor of sitting down and chatting with the rap vet at his album release event at Warner Brothers in NYC...
October 12, 2008
COCOA B: Tell my readers and your fans, in a few short words the news about your exciting new project...
E-40: It's called "The Ballstreet Journal", it IS the solution to the economic crisis-- I'm not gonna say it's your typical E-40 album, because all my albums got blaps. I got mid and up-tempo slaps, slow tempo, I got everything you want in the package, man. It's a big ol' pot of gumbo, with all the flavors, and meats and what-nots. You know, all the ingredients, ya dig? I got something on there for everybody-- "The Ballstreet Journal".
COCOA B: Ok, ok, y'all heard that, so you better go cop that! It is hard. I just had the pleasure of hearing it all the way through myself. And 40 is such a G, that during the stripper song he did with Too Short, an actual STRIPPER came out to do her thing! WHOA. Only in 40's world y'all, I'm telling you! But I digress... So 40, tell me. You are so original. Your style can't be duplicated or imitated, so tell us what inspires your creativity?
E-40: For one thing, when everybody else goes right, I like to go left. That's how I do it. I do what they don't-- because that's what makes an innovator. I put my career on the line for many moons, for many years doing what I do. But eventually, you'll get acknowledged. It's always good to think outside the bun, and I have one of the most unique-- if not THE most unique voices in hip-hop, and when you hear my voice, you will know automatically that that's E-40, ya know? And THAT means a lot to me. And I grew up on cats like Too Short, (although I sound nothing like him)-- but when I was in the traffic, nittin' and grittin' ya dig, I grew up to his music. And he taught a young cat like me how to put my street life into my raps and just put the GAME in it-- you know? I grew up on some cats out of Richmond, CA 3 or 4 x's from Vallejo where I'm from-- by the name of Calvin-T and Magic Mike. You mix that up with some KRS-One, some Ice-T and some Run DMC, and you got an E-40-- nah mean?
COCOA-B: Truly. 40 water and The Federation came hard with the HYPHY MOVEMENT. IN your opinion, is the movement still strong in the BAY, the West, and elsewhere?
E-40: Oh, the Hyphy movement is still strong, you know. It never left. It's always been here, and it was around before the rest of the nation got a dose of it because it's our lifestyle in the Bay area, and it's our culture.
COCOA-B: Yes-- school them 40! Ight, so you've been in the game well over 20 years. What is the key to your longevity?
E-40: The key to my longevity is staying prayed- up-- keeping the faith in the highest, putting 110% into everything, my crew, family support, stayin humble and hungry. You got to be. And you can't be stubborn, you've got to move with the times.... That's what's happening. And of course, you gotta stay groovy. Groovy like a drive-in movie, ya dig?
COCOA-B: (laughter) Oh I dig! I definitely dig, E! That's wassup for real. And your humbleness and humility definitely shines through everything you do. So that's love. So tell me. If E-40 wasn't a famous rapper, what would he be?
E-40: Ain't no tellin, that's what Jack told Helen.
COCOA-B: Woooooow, good answer. You caught me with that one! Ok, boxers, briefs, or boxer-briefs?
E-40: Boxer briefs.
COCOA-B: Platinum or gold?
COCOA-B: Beamer or Mercedes?
COCOA-B: Rihanna or Beyonce?
COCOA-B: Foxy or Lil' Kim?
COCOA-B: McDonald's or Burger King?
E-40: Burger King.
COCOA-B: McCain or Obama (obvious-- but I just had to ask)?
E-40: (intense laughter) OBAMA!
COCOA-B: If you had the power to bring any artist back from the dead right now-- who would it be, and why?
E-40: Tupac Shakur. I say Tupac because I feel like he meant a whole lot to hip hop, he hit it from all sorts of angles of the game from-- uplifting females, uplifting cats that come from nothing-- inner-cities, he had his gangster rap, party-songs, he just had the whole package-- he was solid, so Tupac-- yeah. He would have to be that guy.
COCOA-B: Great answer... now before I let you go. I have one last question for you. What are you about to do after this set? Get low on some mummy-sized burritos???
E-40: (tremendous laughter) I'm not gonna get on no burritos tonight because I still have work to do. Gotta go to Sirius radio and see my man DJ Kay-Slay, and it might make me sleepy, and I might get the munchies and eat up everythang, ya dig? And for all you out there who don't know burritos, we're talking about that broccoli, we talking about that spinach, that lettuce, that "story-tell". Know what I'm talkin bout? VOILA!
COCOA-B: Hahaaaaaaaa, VOILA indeed!
E-40: That's love though Cocoa, I enjoyed this, it was a pleasure, and much love to ya.
COCOA-B: Much love to you too E-- the pleasure was all mine!
*Big shouts to Carlos of Warner Bros, and the legendary DJ RHUMBLE for making this all possible! ONE LOVE HOMIES!*
MAKE SURE YALL COP THAT "BALLSTREET JOURNAL"-- The answer to the economic crisis! And check out me and E straight posin' at the Warner Brother's Offices below: