Whether E-40 is your flavor or not, one must look at him as an essential innovator. Between his ability to evolve with times and set slang precedents, the Vallejo veteran has held stardom for an unwavering 15 years. He returns with a duel offering (similar to Nelly’s Sweat and Suit) in attempts to further his trend setting status. With 38 tracks of material, E-40’s not short on material since leaving Warner Brothers for EMI. Revenue Retrieving should be seen as one project – a double album delivered at twice the cost.
The Night Shift album bangs from the jump with “Over the Stove.” Though it’s easy to argue that the content is a bit redundant to his previous catalog, 40 does his best to sell the updated dope-boy record with 2010 style. On the second of these two discs, he brings along a cast of contributing artists. “Cant’ Stop The Boss” sees 40 alongside fellow west coast OG’s Snoop Dogg and Too Short over Jazze Pha production. On “Trained to Go,” the Sick Wid It Records CEO gives a platform for lesser-known artists Laroo, The DBz, and Mac Shawn. All emcees do their part but the forgettable hook makes the song one of the least impressive features on the album.
While the production on the album is clearly superior to Day Shift, the content is not. “Wet” sounds as awkward as its name implies, and “Stilettos and Jeans” sees 40 reaching for an audience with a questionable-sounding track. Between songs like these scattered throughout Night Shift and way to many guest features, the nocturnal half of this double album lacks an identity. At times it feels like a mixtape with each contributing artist going for theirs and then a track or two later the entire focus of the project shifts. 40 never sounds out of his comfort zone, and is capable of flowing over any track in multiple styles. But without an identity, Night Shift seems stuck in no man’s land. 40 does his best to make it entertaining, but the listener isn’t left with the cohensiveness found on Federal or My Ghetto Report Card.
A complaint lobbied against many double albums is that there are too many filler tracks. The same rains true with Revenue Retrieving series. Cut down into one project the album would have been close to on par with The Ball Street Journal. As two, it’ll get lost in the midst of a growing E-40 catalog. As The Click front-man ages, he continually proves that he belongs and though Revenue Retrieving doesn’t do anything to suggest otherwise, it ultimately will be outshined by other gems in the emcee’s chain.