Nathan S. 's avatar

In Defense of a True Hip-Hop Legend, E-40

Posted by Nathan S. on 10/30/12 | Filed under Top Stories, Opinion, E-40
After growing up in Boston, I moved to the Bay Area in 2001, and it didn't take long for me to figure out I wasn't just living in a new city, I was living in a new culture. I remember being in the car with my roommate, a Vallejo native, when "Sprinkle Me" came on the radio - my east coast ass had never heard anything like the flow coming out of the car speakers. "Who's this dude?" I asked my roommate. He turned and looked at me incredulously, like I had just asked, "Who's this Jesus guy I keep hearing about?"

While E-40 hadn't really made it onto the national scene yet, he was the unquestioned godfather of hip-hop in the Bay Area, and as a hip-hop anthropologist I did my best to get caught the fuck up on 40 Water. I won't go through the man's full resume here, you've obviously know how to use the internet, but in short he's been releasing albums since 1993, worked with everyone from Mac Dre to Tupac, mentored and helped put on countless other emcees and, perhaps most importantly, opened his own Fatburger and Wingstop franchises.

Here was someone with more longevity than almost anyone in the game (besides, fittingly, Too $hort), stayed true to his hometown and true to a unique style that never wavered. What more could you want from a rapper?

And yet I'm constantly surprised by the amount of people who openly hate on 40. As always, a large part of that hatred just comes from ignorance, so I wanted to write this article so at the very least some of those people can stop saying stupid shit like, "How'd that guy get on the BET Cypher?"

He got on that BET Cypher because he's as much a part of west coast hip-hop as every other dude at that table, in some cases more so. Part of the problem is simply geographical - there are certain things that only make sense in their own environment, that don't really translate outside of their native soul. That brief period when "hyphy" was hot aside, E-40's just a little too weird for him to blow on a national level for any sustained amount of time (which is exactly why I like him).

So you don't have to like E-40, that shit's not for everyone, but don't call his rhyme style a gimmick (shouldn't we be rewarding dudes who don't sound like anyone else?), and certainly don't dismiss him as a one-hit wonder. The man's a hip-hop legend, give him the respect he deserves.

See Also: Nardwuar Takes On E-40 (a.k.a. Forty Fonzarelli a.k.a E-Fizzle) In His Latest Interview (Video)

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