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 car-thumping production that E-40 has been blessed with for My Ghetto Report Card and Ball Street Journal are seemingly absent from Day Shift. Hard hitting drums feel hallow without a dope bassline in the first track “Back in Business.” This is a trend throughout the disc with E-40 attacking tracks without the proper accompaniment. Clever vocal samples aside, 40 is left on an island with only his voice, phrasing and content to survive.
As always, Earl Stevens’ flow is unique. He demonstrates a rare ability to switch styles effortlessly and come across genuine in each effort. “Whip it Up” featuring Gucci Mane sees 40 matching the Brick Squad head’s flow and eventually stealing the show. It’s a catchy effort that 40 always seems to come up with to grab the attention of mainstream America without coming across as a follower.
Unfortunately the rest of the Day Shift fails to match the intensity of “Whip it Up.” “Duck” features poor production and an uninspiring effort from 40 while “The Art of Storytelling” doesn’t live up to the bill or its namesake. “The Weed Man” sounds as cliché as the name, while “Dem Boyz” has a classic 40 sound without bringing anything new to the table. Throughout the project, E-40’s determination to create new words hurts the content of the work. Some of the words are laughable and do their jobs while others just provide head-scratching moments for the listener. The album finishes with a stellar soulful cut, “It’s Gotta Get Betta.” E-40 connects with his audience with empathetic lyrics. The self-made millionaire demonstrates that he indeed isn’t far away from his humble beginnings.
Sadly, the so-so production and a scattered-brained E-40 fail on Day Shift. The album never even teeters on the verge of being what The Ball Street Journal was, and sadly 40’s insistence on slang creation takes away from the good music he’s capable of making.