While the northern part of Cali, known as the Bay Area, doesn’t boast as many mainstream rappers as areas like the South or New York, one think the Yay can boast about is having a legend like E-40 doing his thing for over two decades. 40 Water, also known as the Ambassador of the Bay, has been in the rap game for almost 24 years now, and he has no intention of stopping anytime soon.
Since his days in The Click — alongside his cousin B-Legit, his brother D-Shot, and his sister Suga-T — he has made a name for himself in the rap world, first with his family hip-hop group, and then later, as a solo rap artist. Now in 2011, E-40 and his son Droop-E (who is making his way into the rap scene as both a rapper and a producer — having founded his own independent label, Heavy on the Grind Entertainment) are both working hard to provide their fans both old and new, something good to hear.
As a father, E-40 is proud of his son’s accomplishments and of what is to come. He’s working on a number of projects, including two more Revenue Retrievin’ albums, set for November, as well as the series’ dual releases Overtime Shift and Graveyard Shift dropping this month.
In part 1 of our exclusive interview with E-40, the hip-hop legend discusses upcoming album releases, his experiences with Droop-E in the studio, and why exactly he dropping all these new albums.
BallerStatus.com: What brought about the Revenue Retrievin’ album series? What can your fans expect on the upcoming albums? And how are they different or an extension of your previous two?
E-40: Yeah, it’s just a continuation of Revenue Retrievin’ Day Shift and Night Shift. It all started off as one album at first and I make so much — I stay in the studio, I walk on in there and I just can’t stop. I go full-fledge and I have so many songs that I don’t wanna just sit on, so I’m like “Forget this, man, I’m gonna put this out!” I like my music to be documented, like a pension plan, so your family can eat later on. I don’t knock anybody who does mixtapes or anything — I’ve hosted a couple mixtapes — but I’ve never just did a mixtape and I’m not mad at anybody else who does it. I just can’t throw out a whole bunch of songs, me personally, I can’t. I gotta get official, I gotta get paid. I need the barcode on mine. You know, a lot of times when you do mixtapes, you’re using other people’s music, so you’re not really supposed to sell it unless you get clearances, so I document my sh**. If I’m gonna get a clearance on something, it’s gonna be my real album. I go full-fledge, I go all gas, no break pads (laughs), you feel me?
BallerStatus.com: How did you feel the first two albums in the series were received? Why did you decide to follow-up with another double album release?
E-40: It was well accepted by my fanbase and many more. I’m one of the hardest working dudes in hip-hop. I love being in the studio and I love to record. I have something to say and people need to hear this … my music is therapeutic. People drop four, five mixtapes in a year, why can’t I drop two albums at the same time?
BallerStatus.com: Do you feel so much material effects the quality at all, as opposed to a single album release?
E-40: No, because now-a-days it’s so saturated — there are so many walks of life, there are different lanes to be covered. It’s like a gumbo pot, you gotta mix that thang up. I gotta cater to my old school fanbase and new school fanbase. It’s all fresh music, no old songs … it’s all brand new.
BallerStatus.com: Can we talk album features?
E-40: Oh man, you know, I tried to get people that I really feel. I got T-Pain on there. T-Pain really made history with the song featuring me, him and Candy Girl (Candy) from “Real Housewives Atlanta.” This is a song you wouldn’t think T-Pain could do. He produced the track and he did the hook, but it’s off some West Coast sh**. It ain’t no commercial sh** or none of that. Also, I got a track with Devin the Dude, somebody who’s been in the game a long time, real respected. I also got a track with Slim Thug and Bun B. Of course, I got all my Sick Wid It family, you know, B-Legit, the whole Sick Wid It thang. Got my son Droop-E on that thang. Also, I went ahead and got the Bay Area legends — I got Black C from RBL Posse, I’m bringin’ ’em out.
It’s a tricky situation because with being in this game for so long, there’s only so many genres of music, you know, different styles, different kinds … It’s not no real solution; I think I’ve got a resolution for it ’cause I’ve been doin’ it for a minute and have been successful on the old school and new school with Revenue Retrievin’ Day Shift and Night Shift that I put out a little under 12 months ago. Now I’m right back kind of with the same flavor. To be honest I’m giving them more old school flavor like in the ’90s, updated, with a new school twist. I have the new school flavor, but I have given them the new school flavor, too, because I got a young audience as well, so it’s a tricky situation. I got an old school audience and I got a new school audience. I got some people from the Livewire Camp; I got Philthy Rich, Stevie Joe. I got a lot of people. I got a track that my son and Sam Bostic produced. I got a song with Db Tha General, a youngsta out here in the Bay. There’s a bunch of people on here and it’s not a compilation, but I’m holding down 85% of these albums, I’m on every song. I’m on the hook. My voice is everywhere.
BallerStatus.com: Your son, Droop-E, is a fellow rapper, producer, and also a co-executive producer on your Revenue Retrievin’ albums. What do you think of his musical accomplishments so far from a paternal and fellow artist standpoint?
E-40: This wasn’t by force. It was kind of like he was born in this rap game. Like I said, I’ve been out there almost 24 years. When he was three, three and a half years old, he was on an album that I put out, on a song called “Questions.” He was talking to me on that album and asking me a lot of questions. That album was called Federal, that only sold 100,000 to 150,000 records. It was independent. Then when I got signed to a major label with Jive Records in 1994, he was six years old and he rapped on my platinum album, In A Major Way. The song was called “It’s All Bad,” and he really had eight measures to rap. He really rapped it, and he was only six years old. Then, he was on my gold-selling album, The Hall of Game, when he was nine, and it was just me and him like the other ones. The song was called “Growing Up”, it was just me and Droop-E, and he gassed 16 measures on that. That album went gold.
While he was nine years old, my wife put him in piano, so he’s not Beethoven, but he knows how to read music and he knows the keys. He knows what notes to hit. I got a studio in my house, so he would come down and observe and listen to people like Rick Rock and Bosco and G-Wiz, the engineer, and he gradually worked his way into it. We gave him my old Pro Tools set, it was called Studio 5 I believe. I gave him that, he was working at it and started making beats. So he placed his first song on Mack 10’s compilation album, Ghetto, Gutter & Gangsta — he was 15 on that, that was his first producer credit like he produced a track on there with my cousin. Then, he started producing for a lot of local artists like Mistah FAB and Messy Marv and a whole lot of local artists out here in the Bay. He produced a track on my album, under Sick Wid It, on my gold selling album that was called My Ghetto Report Card. So him and my cousins, him and his first cousin B-Slimm, they did an album called Fedi Fetcher & The Money Stretcher together. They sent that out locally and that did fairly well for independent and new artists. They were making records in high school. He’s hungry and humble. He carries himself real well. He’s well-liked by a lot of people. He “on some real time like Bill Maher” (laughs).
BallerStatus.com: How about passing the torch to your son Droop-E? Is he ready? Can he fill your shoes?
E-40: I’m rare like a steak. There aren’t too many people that can do what I do. I like to call myself a supportive father. As far as running the company [Heavy On The Grind], Droop-E knows how to grind and get it in, and that’s exactly what you have to do in order to succeed in this business.
BallerStatus.com: What are your long-term and short-term goals for the future, as far as your continuing repertoire and your son Droop-E’s growing repertoire are concerned?
E-40: There’s other things I wanna do, just gotta see, I don’t wanna put no bright ideas in nobody’s heads ’cause I have some ideas about the club, you know, a different way of approaching it.
BallerStatus.com: Additional comments?
E-40: March 29th, Revenue Retrievin’ Overtime Shift and Graveyard Shift, and also the other two albums will be available as well in all the stores, every store you go to — Revenue Retrievin’ Day Shift and Night Shift — so just the whole Revenue Retrievin’ series. If you want music that you can play without skipping and just enjoy yourself, and get a few laughs, and have ’em say “Oh man, that sh** is real as f***” … what he just said.