audio review : The Element Of Surprise ( album ) … E-40

audio review : The Element Of Surprise ( album ) ... E-40

E-40 is one of the most entertaining rappers in the game. 2Pac was kind of boring in comparison, but The Element Of Surprise doesn’t match the quality of his double-length magnum opus. 40’s flamboyant wit is better than ever, but the set eventually falters.

Lieutenant Roast-A-Botch; a funny duet with Sylk-E Fyne; Jump My Bone and One More Gen are definite highlights, but most of the other songs on the second half should’ve been cut. That would’ve made this a standard album and probably E-40’s best one yet.

my rating : 3 of 5

1998

audio review : My Ghetto Report Card ( album ) … E-40

audio review : My Ghetto Report Card ( album ) ... E-40

The worst songs here suggest even the most charming rappers need matching beats to keep things interesting. Too much of this album is E-40, now under the wing of Lil Jon, over bare-bones 808-driven breakbeats, which’ll have supporters of San Francisco’s Hyphy movement bobbing their heads in approval while the rest of us long for the days when a new E-40 album basically assured some of the dopest beats the streets have to offer. Those days aren’t long gone. Grit And Grind from just a few years ago gave us Gravity, probably the best beat I’ve ever heard him rap to.

Elsewhere potential bangers are ruined by weak hooks, though E-40 also uses this album to step his lyrical game up. Breakin News had him holding his wit at bay, but for this one, he utilizes metaphors and similes to drop a shitload of quotables. “Old-school vans; doors open; me and my crew,” he says at one point, “We some stoners; we get high like Shaggy from Scooby Doo”. The best songs standout because the quality of the beats and hooks match the quality of those verses. When all’s said and done, sticking to the school Report Card concept, a former B student earns himself another C.

my rating : 3 of 5

2006

audio review : Ain’t Gone Do It | Terms And Conditions ( albums ) … Too Short + E-40

audio review : Ain't Gone Do It | Terms And Conditions ( albums ) ... Too Short + E-40

What’s odd about this project, other than what sounds like an old (2002) E-40 verse on Triple Gold, is that it has two separate titles; one for each rapper; which makes it two separate albums à la Outkast’s Speakerboxxx slash The Love Below. They do go well together; ten songs each and all; but E-40’s half is better.

Tricks, about “lames” who let undeserving hoes take advantage of their money, is one of the best songs on the whole set, mainly due to the wise decision to enhance what would’ve been another weak hook with monologues by the legendary Pimpin Ken. I Stay Up, a Zyah Belle song from Too Short’s half, is another highlight.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

audio review : The Curb Commentator [ Channel 2 ] ( EP ) … E-40

audio review : The Curb Commentator [ Channel 2 ] ( EP ) ... E-40

It’s disappointing to hear E-40 jump on the BLM bandwagon. “Racism is heavy; it still exists,” he complains, but he only focuses on white people, ironically enough, when black people are just as racist. Racism isn’t exclusive to certain races. Neither is violence, but he ignores “black on black crime” to cover “police brutality”, which, in the mind of a black racist, automatically means the white cop is racist when the victim is black. That said, Channel 2 is what Donald Trump would call fake news.

Conceptual disagreements aside, this second Curb Commentator EP is about as decent as the first one if not a little better. The aforementioned race anthems, Black Is Beautiful And The Funk Is Still Pending, are on-point musically. The latter has a weak hook, but the rapper makes up for it by talking during the breaks, which he should do more often. The best song is Born In It, featuring Chippas and Milla, which does have a good chorus. It’s about growing-up in the inner city.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020