E-40’s been the face of the Bay Area since jumping onto the scene in the early 1990s, and Mr. Flamboyant has kept a steady hustle in releasing a number of solo projects for the shelves ever since. There’s no question that 40 Water has a strong work ethic, even setting his sights on three more albums set for next year to add to his deep catalog, even after more than 20 years in the game.
After his raucous show in Portland last August alongside his pals B-Legit and Iamsu!, XXL caught up with the Vallejo, CA rap legend, where he spoke about staying consistent and relevant in the game, why he’s dropping a lot of albums at once again, and his thoughts on outsiders paying homage to the Bay. —Eric Diep (@E_Diep)
XXL: You’re in your 40s. Most rappers slow down, but you’ve picked up the pace. How’s hip-hop treating you?
E-40: Hip-hop is treating me fine man. I can’t complain. It’s really my occupation from where I come from. The activities before I entered this rap game, I’m just very grateful to be doing this for 25 years. My first EP, MVP (Most Valuable Players), came out in 1988. Here he is—two thou-wow thirteen—now you feel me? I’m still radioactivated and soil approved, you feel me? That means a lot. No complaints.
What is your motivation to stay relevant and consistent in the game?
You know what? Money is my motivation. Definitely that. It ain’t so much that. I enjoy art. It’s really what I like to do. If I had a billion dollars, brother, I’d still be rapping. And I might throw something on iTunes and I don’t give a fuck of who gon’ buy it. I wouldn’t promote it. I’d just do it myself. I could be 60 years old and bet you there’s somebody 60, 70 years old. I don’t give a fuck. Somebody gonna fuck with it. Especially if I am coming with different shit, but it’s the same remedy. I’m just saying that’s how much I love rap music. I don’t have to rap. I can be to the point where it ain’t about an income thing. But, it is my occupation and I treat it like it’s my occupation.
It’s your 9 to 5.
It really is, so I can’t complain about it. G-O-D. God, man, having my back like a masseuse from day one out the gate. I owe it all to him. I owe it to my family, friends, all my supporters, my fans. It’s all about keeping your eye on the ball. You don’t want to go down looking. You want to at least be swinging.
You are preparing to release The Block Brochure: 4, 5, 6. What’s the idea behind dropping three at the same time?
When you are dealing with three decades worth of music and you are independent, you got the fanbase out there, I’ll be honest, from four years old all the way to 60 something. People listen to rap. Rap came out in the ‘70s. Here we is still kicking. Rap music isn’t going anywhere. It outlasted disco. Remember disco? Disco lasted about ten years. I love disco. Disco is part of rap right now in so many ways. I listen to disco when I am playing Dominos and shit—just for the energy.
I’m not trying to show my age, but I am not in denial. Me and Too $hort always talk about this. Me and Too $hort, we ain’t nothing but some old ass youngsters. That’s all we is. We admit we some old niggas, but we some youngsters too at the same time. We would envy all the youngsters what they want to be when they get older. It’ll come around quick, but no complaints. I am in a happy time. I have so many people pass away and I’m still here. Thank God for everything.