Self-made Bay Area legend E-40 has remained consistent, changing the game over the past few decades in a major way. The Vallejo, California rapper responsible for phrases like "fo' shizzle" and "you feel me?" has been in the game since the early '90s becoming one of the pioneering acts from his area on a major label after signing his Sick Wid It imprint to Jive in 1994. Hip Hop has evolved drastically, but "Forty Fonzarelli" has continued to remain relevant working both with new school rappers YG, Problem and IAMSU! on the radio hit "Function," while also collaborating with fellow OG Too Short on a collaborative album that was released last summer.
As he readies his latest 45-track trilogy Block Brochure: Welcome To The Soil Parts 4, 5 & 6 featuring the likes of Rick Ross, Chris Brown, ScHoolboy Q, 2 Chainz and Juicy J, expect to hear more bangers from the Sick Wid It Records founder.
On the set of his "Plush" video at a Canoga Park soundstage, "40 Water" steps away from the glossy, black Rolls Royce surrounded by cameras to sprinkle us with knowledge about his new wine brand, never-released Book Of Slang, and his remarkable ability to drop albums non-stop.
E-40 Details His Creative Methods For "The Block Brochure" Trilogy
HipHopDX: You're releasing the Block Brochure: Welcome To The Soil Parts 4, 5 & 6 on December 10. What direction are you trying to go with on the new album?
E-40: I just wanna keep it right in the pocket of what they been listening to with a new school twist, but keep the old school twist too. You feel me? So I want to make sure it's the right recipe. The right... When you dip your finger in that sauce, the seasoning is perfect.
DX: You collaborated with Big K.R.I.T., ScHoolboy Q and Juicy J. How do you decide who you want to work with?
E-40: You know, a lot of times, we get the beats early. The beat is always first. Us as artists, we like, "This the perfect beat. Do you know who would sound good on here? Big K.R.I.T. and Z-Ro." And I rock with 'em. I got love for 'em, so let's see if they can get on this with me, and that's how it all unfolds.
DX: You've released 10 albums in the past three years...
E-40: Is it 10 or 12? It's 10 solo, and on December 10, it'll be 10 E-40 albums. Then we had the Too Short and E-40 albums—History: Mobb Music and Function Music. That'll be 12 in the last three years.
DX: That's ridiculous. How do you consistently manage to come up with new content and not get writer's block?
E-40: You know what? You gotta grip through it, and you gotta grind through it. It's all mind control. You just say, "I'ma just do what I do." Just be throwed—throwed like you been throwed, and just say some throwed-ass shit that means something, but it's throwed. You know what I mean? [Laughs] That's me.
Why E-40’s “Book Of Slang” With "Murder Dog" Was Never Released
DX: You're known for coming up with the hottest new words, and I read you had the Book Of Slang, but I can't find a copy of it anywhere. Did it ever get released?
E-40: Nah, it never got released.
E-40: There was a lot of talks about it. People still... I done ran into people saying, "40, man, I got your Book Of Slang." I just roll with it, like, "Okay. Fo sho. Fo sho." I'm like, "My bro..." I don't wanna say...
DX: Call you out.
E-40: Yeah, I don't wanna call you out, but nah, I never released it. What I do take from that when they do say, "I got your Book Of Slang?” I have artwork inside my gold—almost platinum album—The Element of Surprise, so I think they probably talking about that, because they'll say, "I got the one with the artwork for the slang dictionary."
DX: It was just a little summary of it, but it wasn't the Book Of Slang.
DX: It was supposed to come out through Murder Dog magazine, right?
E-40: Yup, we did talk about that. How you know about all that?
DX: I'm a fan, man. At the end of the day, I'm a fan. I love Hip Hop.
E-40: That's deep. I love Murder Dog. It's me. It ain't them. As time go by, you think, "These dudes..." They'll take any of your words and turn 'em into some songs and claim it, but that ain't really why I did it. It's just because...I dunno. I just keep wigglin' with it, and I move on. It's good to know that people listen to my slang and use it. I don't make up everything. I'm just a student of the game. I don't bite people, but it's just that I'm around what I'm around. I stay in the loop like a hula-hoop.
DX: So is it ever gonna come out?
E-40: If I do it, it's gonna be an app. That's where it's at, 'cause it's the new school.
DX: Are there any new words we should be incorporating into our vocabulary?
E-40: It's gonna be on the album. The Block Brochure 4, 5, & 6—slappers. Slaps.
DX: So you've got Earl Stevens Selections now. What made you want to have your own wine brand?
E-40: I'm a wine connoisseur. I love wine.
DX: Do you ever go out to Wine Country?
E-40: Yeah, especially when we was young. We used to always be out there. We'd go on the Napa Valley Wine train just tasting wine and buying wine.
DX: I love the wine train. They got the ribs and that little shrimp dish.
E-40: Exactly. The appetizers is something you really look forward to—like the wine train meals.
DX: Yeah, I need to go back out there. It's been a minute.
E-40: For real. It's smooth too [His wife, Tracy, chimes in].
Tracy: It's changed.
DX: Has it?
E-40: It's up to date out there now, and it's real modern. Napa is real cool, and there's a couple of hotels that we rock with. We went to one, and we paid like $1,200 for one night, and we wasn't satisfied with that one. It was spooky.
DX: Oh, it was scary?
E-40: Uhhh, it was considered upscale, but the shower was outside with a tall fence, and I just didn't trust none of it [laughs].
E-40 Declares Himself One Of The Last Seven "Real Ones" Left
DX: You're a living legend. What has been one of the most flattering things a fan has said to you?
E-40: Man, you really wanna know? It's kinda sad, but at the same time, it's a pat on the back. You know, a lot of people come from broken up homes, so a lot of cats—even on Twitter to this day—will say, "Man, 40, believe it or not, you raised me, and you don't even know it." You know, I got uplifting music. All my music ain't just party or shoot 'em up bang, bang. Even when I talk about shoot 'em up bang, bang, I'm just painting a picture. I'm writing a novel, and there's a method to my madness. I'm always saying, "Okay, this is why this happened." I'm not saying, do it. I'm saying, "This cat right here that plowed down that dude ended up suffering the consequences, because he did something that he shouldn't have did when that wasn't the dude that was supposed to be having that." That's just me. Overall, I want people to recognize the real, and I spit the realest. I spit the realest, man. I don't think there'll ever be somebody so animated, creative and can still be accepted by the underserved communities as being one of the real ones and a teacher in Hip Hop. In music, I just wanted to... I don't condone violence. I might talk about it, but like I said, it's always a method behind my madness, and I always be able to explain why this happened to that person or this happened. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but I paint pictures with my raps. Just like actors can be the sweetest people, the humblest dudes, the sweetest young ladies, but in certain movies you'll say, "I hated her in that movie. I hated him. He killed everybody," but really, he could be a big teddy bear. That's what I am. I'm a big teddy bear, but I ain't the one to kill people in the movies in my raps and all that. But anyway, the moral of the story is what you asked me earlier—what was something that meant a lot that talked to these people, and that's it. People say, "40, you raised me. I didn't have my daddy." And this ain't just from the Bay Area or the West Coast. This from all over.
You know where I was at? You want to hear this shit? This was about a month ago…about three weeks ago. I was In Louisville, Kentucky. This Big dude came up to me when we was backstage, and he asked me, "40, what's happening? What's happening, my dude? What's up with the last of the real ones?" I said, "I'm just hanging like wet laundry." He said, "Man, you the last of the real ones. You the last of 'em [laughs]." This is Louisville, Kentucky 'cause I'm an old dude, but they like, "What happened to the last of the real ones? You the last one." There's a few more out there, but I think I’m more righteous overall even as far as the commitment with my wife. We've been married for 22 years, and you know, she's humble. But we've been together for what 28 going on 29 years.
DX: Congratulations. Wow.
E-40: Yeah, high school [laughs]. So basically what I'm saying is, I'm one of the righteous ones. I’m for what's right. Maybe that's what's wrong. I honestly feel like it's only seven real ones left on this earth, and I'm one of 'em. And I say it in my raps. The other six, identify yourselves. There it is.
DX: What's next for Sick Wid It Records?
E-40: Just trying to get my artists to… I'm taking time out of these three albums I just did. It's time for me to focus on them. I'm not saying I never did, but I know that I have the recipe to create songs that could be spread all over the place without going out of my envelope or my jurisdiction, and I know I'm the coach. I'm a composer, and I want to sit in the studio with them. That's what I do, but I want to give them more attention from my sons. I'm always with my sons. They do a lot of producing—Droop-E and Issue—and they rappers. I just wanna be with the other artists, Cousin Fik, Hot, Work Dirty, Laroo, The Click. I just wanna be right there where I can pitch in my opinion, because I think I come with slaps. I made the word “slap.” I'm the rapper that was the first one screaming, “Man, that's a slap right there,” so why not contribute to continue making slaps? There it is.
RELATED: E-40 Deep Water [Interview]