With a number of present-day artists finding success by taking the independent route, Vallejo, California rapper E-40 says he was the one who “helped pioneer the independent rap grind.” The West Coast musician spoke on pioneering that particular movement during an interview published in XXL magazine’s Winter 2014 issue.
In addition to being one of the first artists to take the independent route with his career, E-40 explained that he was one of the first in the game to bring “an unorthodox rap style” to his music.
“Well first of all, I helped pioneer the independent rap grind,” E-40 said. “I really started from grassroots, without a handout or anything. There wasn’t one person who put money in my pocket, you know what I’m saying? I funded my own shit…To make a long story short and a short story long, what I did different was I came in the game with an unorthodox rap style. I talked about subject matters that everyone wasn’t talking about. I came with a bunch of slang, I spit real shit that real muthafuckas can feel, you know what I mean? I was the first one talkin’ about triple beam scales and drought season and choppas and AR-15s and all that good shit, I could go on and on forever. First one screaming, ‘You feel me?’ and ‘It’s all good,’ all that shit. Words that people say right now. When you hear a muthafucka say, ‘That shit slap,’ that came from me. E-40 coined that shit in his rap game, you feel me?”
Although E-40’s now 47-years-old, the slang-slinger says Hip Hop will always be a part of his life regardless of how old he is and despite any age cutoffs the genre might have.
“As long as I’m breathing, this is what I do,” he said. “You know, people put rap in a category where there’s an expiration date, an age cutoff. But who wrote that book? Ain’t nobody been around long enough that’s been relevant that can put an expiration date on rap but people like me and Too $hort that’s still relevant. So I’ma stay rapping as long as I got my life, health and strength and I’m in my right mind, you know what I mean? I got somethin’ to say.”
Lastly, E-40 criticized artists who feel they have to be “super hard” in their music. He addressed the matter when asked how he feels his role in Hip Hop has evolved over the years.
“I feel like, man, I’m playing my position,” E-40 said. “Yes, I am an OG, and I accept that to the extreme. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to make it to this age. Some of these youngsters, man, they lookin’ forward to goin’ to the pen, they not plannin’ on livin’ past 25. I don’t know where they get this muthafuckin’ attitude from because they got it good as a muthafucka. We the ones who had it hard. When we was comin’ up, one pair of shoes for the whole fuckin’ school year.
“A lot of these youngstas, they wanna act like they got it super hard—which it is, some of them do, there really is some that do—but a lot of these muthafuckas have it better than they think,” the rapper added. “When you got all your body parts, everything’s functioning, you know what I mean, you in your right mind, you healthy, there’s a lot of people who would love to trade places with you. There’s a lot of people out there that would love to trade places with these youngsters while they sittin’ up here complaining when really they should be grateful.”