E-40, “I Didn’t Come Up Under Dr. Dre. I Came Up Under E-40.”

So you want to be a successful and respected veteran in the hip-hop game that embodies lyrical dexterity, imaginative creativity and a heart full of gusto and independence? Well, you’re best off taking notes from E-40, one of the few MCs that’s been able to remain relevant and hip for two decades and counting. Whether it’s his penchant for popularizing some of the most creative slang in hip-hop or delivering his distinctive flow over tracks like the hyphy anthem, “Tell Me When to Go,” the Bay Area ambassador is a certified veteran.

After dropping two albums (Revenue Retrievin’: Day Shift and Revenue Retrievin’: Night Shift) on the same day, E-40 spit game to XXLMag.com as he talks about the lack of respect from hip-hop’s new school, his true feelings toward the East Coast and why he deserves a Grammy… or two.

XXLMag.com: Ageism is something that doesn’t often get discussed in hip-hop but many people attest to the idea that hip-hop is a young man’s game. As a veteran, where do you see yourself fitting in the hip-hop landscape today?

E-40: Hip-hop has been around for over 30 years and that’s a long time. It’s like soul music and it’s been around forever. So that’s like saying Stevie Wonder should stop making music. If you’re one of the greats you checked for [and] they still like your music and you rapping just as good, then keep doing it. Some of these youngsters don’t have respect and that’s not classy. You got to respect the seasoned vets ’cause when you a seasoned vet you know more than a rookie and that’s the truth. I respect all the rappers before me like Grandmaster Flash, Run-DMC, Afrika Bambaata and more. That’s how I was raised. So who is it to so say that there is a certain age or point in your life and career when you should stop rapping?

XXLMag.com: Many consider you an underdog. So does that make you concerned about the perseveration and recognition of your legacy?

E-40: I’m not one to knock the next person to make myself look good but it seems like a lot of rap artists do that today. They think the attention will help them. I’m a unique individual in my own lane. So if you a square, goofy, a mark or lame you ain’t gonna catch it. I call myself the greatest game spitter of all time but I also know that a lot agree and a lot don’t. I got a whole coast that rides with me though and a lot in the Midwest and South. There’s a few people on the East Coast that got a lot of game that is woke to this shit. It’s funny to some people but if you come around my parts and say that wack shit you liable to get your top chopped off. Ya smell me, because my coast rides for me.

XXLMag.com: I read in an interview once that you believe the East Coast thinks you’re wack. Do you still feel that way?

E-40: I’m from a hustlin’ era of the ’80s and that’s when hustle was at its best. So I got something in me that a lot of people wish they had. I got the best of both worlds. I got today’s current shit and the ’80s. So if you ain’t never been around it and seen what I spit you gonna think he’s wack. I been in this for 22 years and this is not an accident or gimmick. I’m a real nigga. I ain’t never been no sucker ass nigga. So niggas got it fucked up. They might want to read up on my discography and ask about a muthafucka, ya smell me? I’m not tripping on the East Coast but a lot of niggas think I can’t go but there’s a lot who know a nigga go. I’m one of the pioneers of independent music and sold records without no airplay. I didn’t get a deal from coming up under nobody. No disrespect to Dr. Dre but I didn’t come up under Dr. Dre. I came up under E-40. I didn’t spit a hot 16 to get on.

XXLMag.com: From your point of view what is the state of the West Coast scene? Is there a big underground just waiting to rise to the surface and take over the game?

E-40: We don’t have a BET and MTV and things of that [nature] out here to hear and see the buzz on the West Coast. We got it hard. We only got crossover stations so it’s hard for the new rappers with no urban stations. The closest we got is KMEL and I take my hat off to them ’cause they play our music and they do try. Hopefully the format will change to play more local rappers. In the Midwest, South and East there are a lot of urban stations and they play their local artists. Out here you got to sell your soul and do a different sound so that crossover radio will take heed to you.

XXLMag.com: Hyphy peaked a few years ago thanks in large part to your single, “Tell Me When to Go.” Often when subcultures come to the mainstream they get sugarcoated and the rawness is lost. So in looking back do you think the hyphy movement was sugarcoated in the mainstream?

E-40: I think some of the stuff was sugarcoated but my shit wasn’t sugarcoated. The Bay ain’t just hyphy. The Bay is mobbed out and we got all kinds of different rap styles and folks. We got backpackers, political rappers, folks that rap about bustin’ heads and rappers like myself who do it all. My video for “Tell Me When to Go,” was one of the biggest videos of the year. I should have got nominated for a Grammy for either that or “U and Dat,” or “Snap Yo Fingers.” I ain’t get nominated for that and no VH1 Hip-Hop Honors. That’s what happens when you’re an underdog. At the end of the day I know that my identity is carved in hip-hop history and they will look back and see that I did some of the cleanest shit ever. So I’m wigglin’.

XXLMag.com: It sounds like you want more recognition.

E-40: I think my fans want to see me have it and that’s why I want it but I ain’t tripping too bad. I ain’t never won nothing in my life but money on the dice game or roulette. I been an underdog from the time I came in with an unorthodox rap style but you know what, it’s working for me. I’m making a living and doing something I love to do and I’m respected. My fans don’t consider me a Hollywood muthafucka. I talk about things they want to say but can’t say ’cause they not rappers.

XXLMag.com: P. Diddy, Jay-Z and others get a lot of shine for their business endeavors but you’re also a major entrepreneur with businesses from liquor to restaurants. So what do you think of the criticism that the money and capitalism has poisoned the integrity and social message of much of the hip-hop scene?

E-40: Hip-hop is something a lot of us love to do and something a lot of us do just for the money. I have a passion for it and a whole bunch of people have a passion for rapping and it’s rare to make money from something you like to do. I don’t think those who do it just for the money should be doing hip-hop. —Souleo

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  • Justice4All

    My 1st E-40 song I heard was “Carlos Rossi” and “Outsmart the Po-Po’s”-E-40 is a pioneer man and his music played in my dorm room in the early 90′s on the regulak! He was an independant artist when independant artist was not the norm. Everyone was trying to get signed to a major, and dude came out with the click and ran the game. He had videos and everything off of street sales. That’s the blueprint dude, even if he never wins an award, he is one of the MVP’s of the game, without him, the hustle aspect of rap would not be around.

    • mirror in my pocket

      cuz I practice lookin’ hard

  • daddy

    e 40 is the greatest of all time, man listen to his lyrics on any album, hes super lyrical. when woka floka was talking bout he dont get lyrical, he was right he aint nothing like E40. “i got a million muthafuckas in my organization now which one of yall is down to ride?, “

  • http://TurfDancing.com Jeriel Bey

    YO…..E-40 is not just Rap and Small Business I can say he is also community and that wasn’t talked about….sometimes we all have to go in the low to put things in the high to keep the balance, Meaning that if didnt something wrong in someones eyes just to uplift a bigger cause then that’s choice but its all choice. E-40 took my Myself and other West Oakland Dancer’s who were already making a lot of noise on the dance sceen with a popular dance the Organization The Architeckz put on the Map and E-40 Endorsed called “TURF DANCING”. HE gave us a chance to see and experience life from his eyes gave instruction to life like a Parent and a great business person. So Support his community because it is truly GLOBAL!

    The Architeckz

  • AZ40

    I ain’t the biggest E-40 fan but he got a lot of good songs and he is one of the pioneers of this modern day independent game you gotta respect his hustle

  • Gift

    anybody who can’t see or doesn’t respect charlie hustle’s conglomerate is truly lacking in hip hop knowledge. This dude was one of the ones that gave master p the game on the independent hustle. E-40 is much more than a pioneer. Dude revolutionized the independent hustle, and for that, he definitely deserves recognition. Stay on that TYCOON shit e-fizzle.

  • DownSouth

    I personally think that 40 should definitely be given more credit for the slang he comes up with that other folks get credit for. In A Major Way was my all time fav E-40 al.


    • The Lil Man

      In A Major Way is a classic!


    E-40 You don’t need no iron you already creased!!!!!!! I don’t know of a dud E-40 album, I bump’d everyone of them albums start to finish. Homies used to sell base to that ish @ 4:30 in the morning to them knuckle heads. Thats that wearing the same clothes for 3 days so you don’t miss that paper grit’n music. ALL THE REAL SA-HOBBS SOUND OFF BELOW ME IF YOU UNDER DIG ME!!

  • bylaw99

    E-40 has always been a major figga in the rap game, before Master P blew up, Sic wit it Records was one of the hottest Independent labels around..(outside Rap-a-Lot) this nigga put his whole family on through this rap shit! Much Respect Mailman.



    • Tha whisk

      @heltah sin,Nigga fuck dre,when his fag ass can make a slap 4 a Bay nigga, then im in tha buildin’. but dre dick suckas like u be tha main internet thug/commentators, that come to tha bay and git stripped and a NorthStar helicopter trip to tha trauma center. Yeah, and nigga i came up bumpin gay dre, but as i say fuck u and him/her or whoever got sum shit they wanna git off they chest, faggot ass lame gameless poobie ass bitch nigga!! now whut!! holla!! fag!

  • Carpino

    40 is a bay area legend, he doesnt need awards and all that shit cus the streets know whats good realtalk


    E40 is one who does what a real Ninja from the streets is “supost” to do!!! People Gave tha “Foshizzle My Nizzel” to SNOOP DOGG…..STOP IT PLEASE. E40 and the Yah Area Like Mac Dre 3x’s Krazy Them the First People Who Posted up Real Street Talk on Record CD And Tapes!!! Check the resumes Real Walkie Talkie. Go Back to Mac Dre’s CD’s You”ll hear I’m Hyphy Fo Shizzel listen to 3x’s Krazy B legit The list goes on. Yeah E40 is looked over like a midget amoungst GIANTS. But he’s a GIANT. So


    E40 is one who does what a real Ninja from the streets is “supost” to do!!! People Gave tha “Foshizzle My Nizzel” to SNOOP DOGG…..STOP IT PLEASE. E40 and the Yah Area Like Mac Dre 3x’s Krazy Them the First People Who Posted up Real Street Talk on Record CD And Tapes!!! Check the resumes Real Walkie Talkie. Go Back to Mac Dre’s CD’s You”ll hear I’m Hyphy Fo Shizzel listen to 3x’s Krazy B legit The list goes on. Yeah E40 is looked over like a midget amoungst GIANTS. But he’s a GIANT. So WATER IF YOU SMELLIN THIS….. KEEP CHEWIN WUT YOU CHEWIN P.I.M.P. WE GOT YOU CUTTY

  • Townbis

    I will say this once again. The reason why E-40 has been able to stay relevant all this years is because he’s more than a rapper. He’s a character. And that’s not a diss. All the good rappers who have been able to stay in the game for a long time are all characters. To be a character you have to have charisma. And if there’s one thing 40 has its charisma. Snoop is a character, Jay-Z, Nas, Too Short, Scarface, LL Cool J are all characters. You already know what they about. Snoop is a gangsta that like to smoke weed. Jay-z is the flyest ahead of the tends nigga around, Nas is intellectual thug, Too Short is a mac/pimp, Scareface is the triple OG, LL is the ladies man and E-40 is the #1 game spitter. They all have extremely loyal face bases that grew up on there music. Personally I’ve been listening to 40 for about 18 years. I can’t co-sign for the last couple of album including this one but those mob music albums gives him a pass for as long as he wants.

    I hate to say it but most East Coast cats are game goofy. They be on some other shit but that’s because of the environment the live in. To no fault of there own. It just wasn’t how they were raised. They know the game from there side which is unique to there area. But when the last time you heard of an east coast rapper on some playa, game spitting shit. Last I remember was maybe Big Daddy Kane, Nice-n-smooth. They usually on some grimy, 5% shit. For the most part cats in the South, Midwest and on the West coast know the game so they are able to feel 40 and his style

    • cashvilles don

      thats right he knows wat hes talking about

  • Chris S

    it shows. he sucks

  • Feezy

    E-40 = Legend.

  • The Lil Man

    I agree with the last thing E-40 said,

    “Hip-hop is something a lot of us love to do and something a lot of us do just for the money. I have a passion for it and a whole bunch of people have a passion for rapping and it’s rare to make money from something you like to do. I don’t think those who do it just for the money should be doing hip-hop.”

    I agree, we need more people who just make the music for the love of it, not the for the money in it; I just wish Hip Hop/Rap as a genre wasn’t seen as a gimmick to other people who don’t listen to it.

  • ssh510

    I been a e-40 fan everysince i heard the first time i heard him with in a major way, and a song he did with the click on the tales from the hood soundtrack,u cant get more bayish then mr 40water himself

  • Big Bunk

    @ T0wnbis- the last thing 40 is or will be is a character. i got to hang with this kid on several occasions and we kicked it hard in the streets of Oakland and Vallejo. this man don’t walk around looking like Diddy with bodyguards all around, he walks through the streets with his Clic and all the homies he has brought with him. We drank and smoked in RV’s with folks in SacTown and all over and he finds a way to relate to each and every person. And don’t give him the chance to find out you know his peeps cuz my nigga goes on for decades spittin stories about his peeps. like the man said, read his discography and see what he is really about. check all you can on youtube and the other sites and you will see him kickin like a TRUE HOMIE!!

    Big props to Big Omeezy, Droop-E, D-Shot and Suga Suga!!

  • true-est

    bar none E-40 a real nigga from who’s actually from the hood, all the ppl who hate on his shit numb to his msg and the region he reps..yay deep was my joint back in the day, and for all them east coast haters hatin on the ambassador just peep how tha homie put biggie in line for talkin some shit to some canadian journalist when that nigga came out to sac town you might not like his style but respect the way he carries himself str8 MOBBIN BAY AREA STAND UP!!

  • cashvilles don

    man im from im from that hustler era E-40 is one of the best i put him right there wit pac big jayz nigga i got everything e-40 and the click made we use to go to freak nic back in the day we end up getting rooms in marriot marques we end up next door to e-40 b-legit savage mac dre lil bruce man we met them cause it was late and nobody had wraps those are real niggaz we kicked to sun up ane we from cashville man im talking bout we was like we new each other for years those dudes i got much respect for hes like michealjordan u cant fuck wit him one luv e40 big homie

  • Hussle’s Way

    never been a fan, and wont be. He’s pretty average in my book. There’s TONS of better rappers on the West.

    but I aint here to hate, do your thing

  • East Sider

    E 40 is a G the nigga did songs with pac COme on !!!stopping hatin and give the man what he wants, (2 Grammys) all the Cali girls and real niggas love that dude ….

  • East Sida

    E 40 is a G the nigga did songs with pac COme on !!!stopping hatin and give the man what he wants, (2 Grammys) all the Cali girls and real niggas love that dude ….

  • Townbis


    Brah you missed my point. when I say Character that mean the e-40 is more than just a rapper he represent a persona. That aint a bad thing. That’s a good thing. Shit that’s a great thing. Only the true master in the rap game have been able to do that. and 40 is one of them. I don’t mean character…like he’s fake or a mark. I mean like when you see Al Pacino you think of gangsta flicks. When you think of Eddie Murphy you think of comedy and when you think of 40 you think of Game spitta. You got put in a lot of work to reach that status. A lot of work and constistancy. All the people who have been able to stay up in the rap game have all been able to transfrom themselve into a character. Where there rep preceeds them. You really can’t get any higher than that. reguardless how he is a man.

    I’ve kicked it with 40 a couple of times. At video shoots and shit. i’ve seen how he interacts with folk. And you can tell he’s a good dude. Cuz a lot rap cats are assholes and they aint even done shit. That’s probably why he’s been able to stay around for so long.


    These comments are legit. Usually E-40 topics bring a gang of haters.

    E-40 is relevant in the Bay. He is the Bay. He’s got major collabo’s over the years.

    He’s worked with everyone from Lil Wayne to Kanye West, Ice Cube, Fabolous, Snoop, Game, 2pac, Busta Rhymes, Master P, too Short, Lil Jon, 8 Ball & MJG, DJ Quick, Birdman, Juelz Santana, Gucci, UGK, Mike Jones, T-Pain, Bun B, Lil Scrappy, Juve, Turf talk , Keak da Sneak, Messy Marv, Akon, Shawty Low, Clyde Carson, The Jacka, San Quinn, Crooked I, Jay Felony and a gangload more.

    Yeah….he hasn’t worked with Dr. Dre, Em or Jay Z; but, he put in work with everyone else. Most of Dr. Dre’s camp and Em’s camp don’t release records anyway. So..why work for a boss when you can be your own boss. The Bay Area has a few million people. Not to Mention Sactown or So Cal.

    He made it and He’s still doing it. Much Respect for “40 Water” (which he sells as a drink at Bay Area Liquor Stores).


  • fresh

    i feel e-40 hasn’t the respect that he deserves! to me it is more easy for east coast rappers to get more air play and alot of times they joint”s be hot garbage to me, i have been listening to 40 water since i was 14 to now so now i am glad he is getting his just due, but i must say it has been long overdue

  • Will

    I didn’t and currently don’t like E-40′s music, I tried for a while and couldn’t ever get into it… Never bought an album, downloaded a mixtape, and usually when one of his songs come on, I flip the station. Still after all that, I gotta respect his grind, dude has had the smarts and determination to stay in a game that creates a new artist every 10 minutes. E-40 a real dude, shame I couldn’t enjoy his music, but music taste is subjective, being a stand up nigga ain’t.



  • josecuervo

    Mac Dre over e 40 any dam day……. e40 koo but where was he when mac dre was alive? exactly that nigga e40 try to take sum of mac dre’s credit for creating the hyphy movement….. e40 = sucka…. MAC DRE is waaaaaaaaaaay better….

  • http://americanstreetclothes.com Culpepper

    Ratio of E-40 haters is hella small in the comment section in this post. This shows how much support this nigga got. 40 got the spit and the knock for the street. Dude, just got the music for the soul. Understandz me?

  • Gio

    40s a certified legend and anybody with the lightest bit of game about they hustle has to recognize that. the niggas filthy. i cant understand niggas that dont get down wit a nigga that spits real shit and raps about so many different subject matters. niggas that say hes weak couldnt possibly have came up on down n dirty, federal, in a major way, etc, or something is wrong with they ears, ya game goofy poop butt ass homos!!!!!!!!!!