E-40′s name is nowhere near as big as his resume. Legendary to most, he’s seldom praised for his contributions to hip-hop. Kids may ghost ride the whip nowadays, but Fonzarelli was pushing the Bay area to the forefront when Mark McGwire was a steroid-free slugger for the Oakland A’s. Perhaps not on a major scale, but pushing nonetheless.

While Bay Area success stories have come and gone (Hammer, Digital Underground, Luniz), 40 has kept himself relevant by upgrading his Charlie Hustlenomics and perpetually updating hip-hop’s lexicon with up-to-the-minute slang. Fo shizzle? That’s 40. Scrilla? That’s 40.

With his Ball Street Journal hitting stores next week (11/25), XXLMag.com caught up with 40 Water to discuss his label situation, VH1 Hip-Hop Honors and the death of the hyphy movement.

XXLMag.com: The Ball Street Journal is coming out on your Sick Wid ‘It label, what happened to your deal with Lil Jon’s BME Recordings?

E-40: Contractually, I’m with Lil Jon. Lil Jon got like four songs on my album. That’s my family. BME’s contract was up with Warner. As an artist he’s personally over at Universal Republic. As far as his label, their contract was up. But contractually, BME still gets a piece of the pie. BME is still my family too.

XXL: Too $hort was an honoree at this year’s VH1 Hip-Hop Honors. Being a fellow legend from the Bay Area, it would have made sense for you to take part in that tribute. How did you feel about being excluded?

E-40: I felt bad. I felt like it was disrespectful. They didn’t have to give me a hip-hop honor. $hort been in the game a little bit longer than me, but I have been in the game over 20 years and I’ve seen rappers come and go. I’ve been able to weather the storm all these years, stay current and walk through the game. I just feel like they could have at least have me presenting an award. Even if I didn’t perform one of his songs, they could have at least got in contact with me and say, “40, since that’s your Bay Area folks, ya’ll go way back and ya’ll true legends in the game, we want you to present the award to him.” Do something, participate in it some kind of way. But they didn’t, so I don’t know if I’m on VH1’s radar, or they just don’t know how much impact I’ve had on hip-hop. I just charge it to the microphone and keep it pushing, man.

XXL: It’s unfortunate that you’re not expecting them to give you your own tribute. People from the East Coast, may not know Too $hort’s music like they know Jay-Z’s, but they gotta respect his legend.

E-40: You gotta know it. Honestly, they told me when my potna went up there, to get his award, do his performance and everything, it was crickets in there. And that’s because in the early 90s all up in the West Coast, the South and the Midwest, fucked with $hort tremendously. Short got more platinum and gold albums than most people’s favorite artists. That comes from straight ground work. At the same time, I felt like it was crickets in there because only a few people on the East Coast was open minded back then in the mid 80s to early 90s. Me personally, the next time they honor a hip-hop artist from the West, they should do it on the West Coast. And when they do East Coast, they should do it out that way. That’s my philosophy.

XXL: The hyphy movement seems to have faded, would you say it’s dead?

E-40: First of all, hyphy means a wild dude. It’s the energy of a person. But when you say the hyphy movement, that’s when it involves the side shows, the dance and the cars, just the Bay Area lifestyle. Basically, the lifestyle still goes on. The music scene as far as making repetitive hyphy songs, that still goes down too, but what happened was we’re from the Bay. You gotta realize there’s a lot of angles of the game. You got your backpack rappers, you got your cats that just do straight gangsta shit, nothing but that. They refuse to do anything but that. Then you got your cats that do pimp rap, talking bout broads. It’s player mode shit. One thing about 40, I do it all. I’m one of the few rappers that never moved out of the Bay Area. It ain’t like I’ve been hiding under a rock. I’ve been right here in the thick of it. What I mean by that is, I had the platform and the song ["Tell Me When To Go"]. When I did my [last] album I knew I had to put some hyphy music on there, cause that’s the bay, that’s my home. When I did Ghetto Report Card, I only did two to three hyphy songs out of 18. But the songs that poked out like nipples, were hyphy such as “Tell Me When To Go,” which was a phenomenon. It was the biggest song since “I Got 5 On It” or something. What happened is you had older rappers that couldn’t transform into hyphy, couldn’t transform into a chamillion that could just switch up and do anything like me. Older rappers were hating on the young ones like, “I don’t do that shit.” I was just turmoil, so nobody followed up. We had the opportunity, it was on fire. I tell cats, “Whenever we get the ball back and fumble again…” shiiiit! I’ma continue to do my thing. I’m good. E-40 is straight.

XXL: Any last words?

E-40: Those who are new E-40 spectators, or you can say fans, soon to be fans, or wanna know what I’m about. Just know that I’ve been around for 20 years, but I’m sharper than a porcupine spine and I’m one of the best that ever did it. I’m a unique rapper. I don’t rap like everybody else, so if you’re looking for an innovator, somebody that do what everybody else don’t, you got E-40: a cat that got street credibility, a cat that’s a business man, an intelligent hoodlum and a dude that’s a fixture in this rap game period. I done did a lot for hip-hop. Just do your due diligence and read up on my history. And know that they don’t make them like me and I’m rare like a steak. Everything that your favorite rapper is talking about right now, you can ask them. 40’s already talked about it. -Marvin Brandon

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    I have no harsh words for my nigga E-40 he held me down when I was in a relationship w/ Suga T! I used to bang that thick bitch 2 times per year!!! Oh I got a new mixtape w/ the Clipse talking about how much I used to hustle with them back in 02! I remember I had to put Malice In his place Pusha T was scared Shitless! I remember the “I got it for Cheap” T-Shirts came out. The real story behind that was I was selling janitor shit and this nigga wanted a Mop I told him, “I got it for cheap” and they stole it! I cried for 2 months behind that shit! I then had me and my co-janitors check these bitches! They don’t want it w/ my Crips or my fellow janitors!

  • Enlightened

    Hat off to E-40. That nigga got a real resume and is definitely underestimated. He is definitely to be respected. That’s real legend status



  • just askin

    is a lot of things that have kind of died like hyphy, chopped and screwed, houston, female rappers, canibus, djs gettin a cut on a record, clothing lines. i wonder what trend you jigaboos would like to see come back or at least get a second chance.

  • 619

    The East Coast don’t know shit about Short or 40 Watta, you can tell by the lack of comments. But they put a story up about Jim Jones in some broadway type play and 25 heads comment. Go figure, that’s the East Coast bias in the hip-hop mag game, rather talk about silly fake ass rappers instead of give credit to real legends. I been checkin’ for 40 since the ‘Captain Save A Hoe’, ‘Sprinkle Me’ days, all the way through ‘Leuitenant Roast A Botch’, street classics.

    • tony grand$

      “Tymmah, tymaaaaaaah, fohtay waaaataaaaaah”………..

      • 619

        “Order my eggs over easssssyyyyy,
        At the drive thru hollered at a breezzzyyy”

        • tony grand$

          “That’s a goodlook fa meeee…..its not a goodlook fa yaaawwllll……..”


    Man U have 2 give my man 40-Water his propper’s. I’m about 2 quote him ” He has been doing his thing or “Thizzle” if U R a true 40 water fan. He came from the the ground up. He is one of the few that can say he has all the rights 2 his masters. I’m one of the man’s biggest fans. He is sharper then a porcuppines spines.

    • I AM THE BAY!


      i am glad he cleared it all up tho… Hyphy is not a music genre… its a life style!

      • 619

        The only mafucker we checkin’ for from the bay is Messy Marv.

  • 4real

    no doubt 40 is a legend …but on the real 40 could have made sic wid it a bigger label but he only fucked wid his family but the problem is none of them had talent!droop e did but he cant rap!if he coulda just signed some local artists and got behind them he woulda made sic wid it like baby did cash money! its too bad that when 40 time is up (which it almost is) that he was too selfish to bring people into his camp that had real talent!tons of cats in the bay who had talent coulda got with 40 but if you wasnt in a click then you couldnt get with him!40 water youre 41 years old homeboy time to move on!not hating pimp but the truth is the truth both short and 40 did nothing to keep the bay relevant from a business standpoint of trying to bring the younger generation of cats in with the influence they had and now both are old and gray but who did they really put down?them niggas almost as bad as LL old azz LL helped no one never put nobody on and now his clown azz cant sell 20000 units!

  • c_realla

    We love you 40. Keep inventing the slang for the nation so these NY cats can keep their speech game up big cuzzin. These ninjas are hell tardy and just aint able to do it movin, yadadimean?

    Thats why I never re-newed my subscription to the sauce or xxl. I cant fade these east coast biased magazines. I smell 40 on that hip hop honors tip, I was kinda heated when I saw the crowds lack of reaction when they were doing $horts songs, thats how I knew that garbage was filled in NY. That same crowd went crazy on some Wu-Tang stuff, I can’t even relate to their music. It aint about coast hating, but the only cats who seem to be feelin east coast shit is from the east coast. Seems that those from the Midwest, West, and down South all fux with each other and we will just leave yall New Yuckers to rap about your tall projects, ok son? yo god, is that money?

  • tishan guest

    HURRICANE(but you can call it slurra cane). Co sign on east coast bias towards other genres of music. But its not their fault. Its the media not pushing our music to them, so in turn they can’t scream for shit they nuthin about. But its cool, I listen to everything, so I’m never one sided when it comes to music. WEST WEST YALL

    • tony grand$

      “Strong enuff to start a engine, maaaaaayne!”

  • Asian T.I.

    yo tha bay shit is tight watcha know bout E-40
    even though im from the A-town that hyphy shit is tha shit mang yadda mean..

  • balaramesh

    never a big fan of 40′s music but he been in the game forever on a mainstream record label and did his numbers.

    if anything, the game should pay homage to 40 for all the slang given over the past few years. the new generation will give credit to the snoops and dipset and lil wayne’s when it was actually from 40

  • balaramesh

    as a new yorker, i can say that there was really no mainstream love given to other regions in the 80′s and 90′s.

    therefore, i can kind of say it’s payback since they play relatively no east coast on west coast music in the south.

    it was said to see too short get love during his tribute. but atl gave nas no love during his performance at the bet/ozone hip hop awards this year. the new generation sucks.

    • A

      I second that. That’s why the south is fuckin up the game. Illmatic and the NY state of mind is to complicated for the slow south. I lived in the south so I know. In the 90′s all they’d listen too was r&b, 2 live crew, hammer, all that shake your ass music.


    WHOA! Hold up for a sec. I remember bein in high school and niggas fuckin wit Spice-One,MC Eight,Warren G, hell even Power 99 was playin a group called “The Mexicans”, (which I ended up coppin they first 2 cd’s). Not all east coast cities were biased backed then, trust me outside of NY, the west was being heard. At least in Philly anyway. No Hate in 08′!

  • Sixx

    40 dat nigga!MANE HE Got sayin wild shit just like him.Aint no album more classic than loyatly and betrayal,Charlie Hustle,Game Related,and many more.”Charlie Hustle on it in the fast lane, drivin slow
    with a case of tall cans and some broccoli and a bad-ass hoe
    Squattin four times ga-uh gold Zenith wides and vogues
    Bout snuffin down, right next to me, is the call from the frogs
    Uhh – sound system on bloo-blam-blam
    Puffin on the doobie almost grubbed, dang it burnt in my lap
    Smokin trees with the window up
    Traffic backed up, middle finger up” classic bars lol


    E-FEEZY been doing his thing since N2deep dropped “Back to the Hotel” in 1992. E-40 and B-Legit gained some recognition on that record with the track “V-Town”.

    Since then, its all gravy. He came up in the game by starting his own label, having Jive Ties, and producers like Studio Ton, Sam Bostic, Mike Mosely, Rick Rock gave his the Slump and his own originality.

    His BEATS sound like nobody else.
    His Lyrics are built from the streets.

    I have every album. Cop that shit and listen.

    -East Bay

  • Gerv

    Forty been reppin the Bay harder than almost any rapper out there and he didn’t move away from Cali when he got paid.

  • opm509

    E foety is the whole bay area as for not helpin the bay shit he gave cats chances but majority of them fuct it off the ones that new how to make money went on to start there own shit the bay is all about independents and if u aint know the bidness then well u falls like a virgens panties on prom one thing I will say though Im still wishin foe a new click album
    foety is th truth and the answer anybody says dif then keep waitin for so called ny resurgence cuz it aint happenin

  • http://www.247hh.com/e40 247HH

    YO if you like that check out the new 247HH exclusive mix tape at http://www.247hh.com/e40 you can download it from there.

  • ski

    I moved from Los Angeles up to the Bay Area (Vallejo) back in 88′. When I got here, I heard about some rapper who was spittin’ way outta control. I made sure to find out who this was…..It was E-40 and the CLICK. Their album, Federal, was knockin’ way back then. Ol’ boy is a boss for sure. He even had a clothing store that I used to flip my gear at in high school. He’s down to earth, but a hustla fo’ sho’. Those who don’t know, better recognize….40′s done paid his dues, ten fold!!!!!!!

  • A

    E-40 = Ultimate Whackness !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • c_realla

      does that A stand for ..Asseater?

      • A

        Nah, it stands for AssWrecka.. u good homes!?!

  • Curtis75Black

    Being from the Bronx, New York born in 75, I must say when it comes to Hip Hop I’m pretty open minded when it comes to our music and since moving to the MIA way back you get a different perspective when you have to search for the shit you love but constantly hearing stuff you’ll on any other occasion wouldn’t listen to. On that note I have no issue with 40. He’s constantly done his thing and stayed in his lane with his music and that’s all I can expect from an artist. As far as puttin’ rappers on, Fuck that. NIGGAS LOVE PIGGYBACKIN’ the hot emcee expecting to get an instant record deal. That’s why so many rappers don’t last past a single or a full cd and we’re in such a rut with these wack ass artists. Get your Hard work on and blaze a way for yourself and you’ll take it more serious. This isn’t the block sellin’ crack.

  • latino heat

    40 deserves the utmost respect even if u aren’t a fan of his music. he’s been in the game for years and has a dedicated following. the man has got rich independently, i know he’s been signed to majors most his career but they haven’t pushed him like they did most of there acts. how can u not respect someone like that even if u don’t like there music? who else in hip hop has maintained a steady level of success for as many years as e-40? not jay-z, not puff, not suge, not baby, not master p. not nas, not wu, none of them. he may have never done numbers like these artists but he’s always made the label there money back and pocketed enough for himself. thats why he’s never been dropped by a major. they’ve all had there run, but nobody has had a steady fan base for as long as 40. the man is the poster boy for consistency.

  • eddiesixes

    “slicker than worm sperm”