E-40 has had a huge impact on Hip Hop — especially as far as West Coast rap is concerned — and, as a so-called “elder statesman” of the genre, he’s taken some time to reflect on that impact while discussing Hip Hop’s 50th birthday.
“When I came out with “Ghetto Report Card,” I was 37, 38 years old,” he told The New York Times on Tuesday (July 18). “My whole career was just revived. It was amazing. I was part of the crunk movement and the hyphy movement at the same time. “U and Dat,” “Snap Yo Fingers” and so on. We had the South and the West Coast.”
He continued: “Imagine if there was streaming back then when we had “Tell Me When to Go,” “Bitch,” “Choices.” We would be diamond on each one of those records. I put new life into the West Coast in 2006. And that’s no ifs, ands or buts. Can’t nobody say I didn’t, with the help of Lil Jon. And it’s never stopped since then.”
“That’s my role — they call me the Ambassador of the Bay. And I don’t know nobody else there that represents it like me,” he concluded.
The New York Times interviewed several rappers for its “50 Rappers, 50 Stories” piece including 50 Cent, who shared the origin story of why he decided to start wearing baby oil early on in his career, admitting that it had a lot to do with Juvenile.
“When there’s no plan B, you looking at everything and saying, ‘I gotta figure out what’s gonna work or what’s not gonna work,’” Fif recalled of his early rap career strategies. “There’s points where you’re laughing at a guy and then you look and it’s not funny no more.”
He continued: “Like Juvenile. We would laugh at him on 400 Degreez. He was standing in front of the yellow Corvette and he had like a little bit too much baby oil on. He was shiny. We’re laughing like, this [expletive] is country. And when them numbers came back, listen, I said, ‘Get me some baby oil!”
“I remember The Source gave ‘Illmatic’ five mics [a perfect score],” Em said. “I already knew I liked Nas from ‘Live at the Barbeque’ with Main Source, because his verse on that is one of the most classic verses in Hip Hop of all time. But I was, like, ‘Five mics, though? Let me see what this is.’
“And when I put it on, ‘And be prosperous/ Though we live dangerous/ Cops could just arrest me/ Blamin’ us/ We’re held like hostages.’ He was going in and outside of the rhyme scheme, internal rhymes. That album had me in a slump, too. I know the album front to back.”