E-40 Says Nobody Tells Stories In Hip-Hop Anymore
What’s it like doing a track with your son? Do you see yourself in him?
It’s funny because it’s really kind of routine because I’m used to it. My son Droop-E was on a platinum album. He recorded it when he was five years old. But he ended up saying, “I spit game I told you this / I spit game like a solider / tell them fools I told you this / The rap kingpin giant, six-year-old vocalist.” That song was called “It’s All Bad.” He spit eight measures on that, this boy six years old. He did it when he was five. This ain’t no “lost in the sauce” song. This is on a platinum album, In A Major Way, which the people said is my best album ever.
Droop-E is a talented dude. Not only can he rap, he can do beats. The sound that we hearing right now in the West Coast, he played a part of it as well—that ratchet, hyphy, heavy baseline, all that stuff. It’s always good to work with your son. And for him to even rock with me, I’m older. I love when the youngsters rock with me. I can relate to them. It’s not me trying too hard for me to be fitting in. A lot of people might think that. But when I was a youngster I always chopped it up with OGs. I promised myself, I’m not going to be no goofy, wearing-my-pants-way-up-here type of dude. That’s not me. I’m awake.
Do you ever see yourself retiring?
The cold part about it is, I love money, but I just love rap. I feel like the game needs me. I feel like The Bay needs me. I feel like California needs me. I still cover every corner of the game. I’m sharp on all four corners. You’ve got to have a balance like, “Okay, yeah, I turn up in the clubs, but over here it’s a message in my music.” To uplift, to be a voice of the people, [give] hope to the people and tell them, “Hey, you can do it.” I was this dude too. I got them heartfelt songs that would make a killer cry. Then I can do punch lines and metaphors. I can rap with the best of them. I can sound just like any rapper if I wanted to. But I choose to be me and have a unique style with my patterns and say what everybody don’t. Somebody might say this word; I want to say this word. [There’s] nothing wrong with it, it’s just me being different. Those who don’t like me, they don’t have to like me. Hopefully one day they’ll adjust.
Do you feel like you have to be in the game until you see someone who can hold your spot down?
I’m not even tripping about no torch or nothing. I just want to play my position as an OG. To be an ambassador and a great OG and a mentor it’s other things that go with being just a dude with a great song at a time. You got to have experience to deal with everything.
With all the shit I’ve been through, so many different eras of music. I went through the baseball bats and 40 oz era. And through the mob music and G-Funk era. And the South era where I rapped with a lot of the Southern rappers. I’m not a local rapper, I’m global. Going through the hyphy movement, now they calling it ratchet. I’m everything. I’m a well packaged rapper. It’s also the way you carry yourself, too. You can’t be goofy. You can’t be making diss songs just to be dissing them, creating controversy and all that. I never did no controversy thing to stay on. I’m not going to do this all my life. Is there an expiration date on how old you got be before you retire? [Laughs] I don’t know.
I’m 46. I tell them age ain’t nothing but mind over matter; you don’t mind, it don’t matter. I rap circles around these fools and spit some real knowledge and some game behind it. It ain’t just got to be punch lines and metaphors; I really paint pictures with my rhymes where you can visualize it. I know too much. Can’t any rapper teach me anything. All they can teach me is about the latest fashion, probably. I was the first rapper talking about choppers, triple beam scales, drought season. I got the foundation down for the streets.
Where do you think rap is right now?
Ain’t nobody telling stories no more. A lot of people are scared to do pain raps, it’s always punchlines. That’s cool, I do punchlines and I talk about the struggle. I talk about everything. I’m not dissing the young rappers. I’m just saying when I came in the game, I was up against some serious competition. I survived it all, some of the greatest rappers ever. I could have got lost in the sauce but I kept my head above quicksand. Lasted through the late ’80s, the ’90s, the 2000s, and here I am.