E-40 New albums reviewed in the N.Y. TIMES

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Apr 19, 2005


“Revenue Retrievin’: Day Shift”; “Revenue Retrievin’: Night Shift”

(Heavy on the Grind/EMI)

The rapper E-40, from Vallejo, Calif., has been around long enough to know what the knocks against him are. “Talking about I be rapping off-track/Some of you square suckers be trying to say E-40’s wack,” he raps on “All I Need,” not on or off the track so much as through it and in spite of it.

One of hip-hop’s great rhythmic innovators, E-40 has spent more than 20 years defying conventional cadences, rapping in croaks and hiccups and slurs and nibbles. At times he’s been at the forefront of Bay Area rap, and at times more of a benevolent uncle. On this pair of albums (packaged and sold separately), his 11th and 12th full-length recordings, he’s both.

These are nimble, versatile albums, though collectively the “Revenue Retrievin’ ” dyad is a more successful act of point-proving than execution: 38 songs of new material are bound to have their share of chaff. But E-40, now 42, is only a few clicks off of his rapping prime, and his ear for bulbous, haunting production has remained intact.

Often he’s hopping from topic to topic in a manner befitting his scattershot flow, but the “Day Shift” album has a few uncommonly strong narrative-driven songs, “The Art of Story Tellin’,” “I’ma Teach Ya How to Sell Dope” and the socially minded “It’s Gotta Get Betta.”

More than half the songs feature guests: the fellow Bay Area rap granddaddy Too Short turns in a handful of strong cameos, Gucci Mane sounds enthused on “Whip It Up,” and numerous regional stars (the Jacka, Dem Hoodstarz, Mistah F.A.B.) take impressive turns, especially Ya Boy and Turf Talk on “Knock ’Em Down Music.”

Turf Talk is E-40’s cousin, but the real family success story is E-40’s son Droop-E, one of the most talented young producers in hip-hop. His beats on these albums are unmistakable: minimal clompers like “Undastandz Me,” “Got It” and “Back in Business” that give his father loads of space to cram words into. “Street credibility, history and longevity/

Father and son chemistry,” E-40 raps on “Got It.”

Droop-E also produced the most glorious outlier track on this pair of albums, “Spend the Night,” which samples Bjork’s “Oceania,” building the beat around snippets of her coos and gurgles and interjecting her yells into the chorus. It’s a clever and worthy match for E-40: one of the few vocalists in any genre who can bend words as he does


Girbaud Shuttle Jeans
Dec 10, 2006
Fuck getting play on local stations, this is a much better look than getting spins in the area where your work is most often bootlegged. I was just wondering, did they make Droop-E the head of the new label because 40 got a contractual obligation or because droop got better credit?
Nov 14, 2002
yea man,42 and still smashin on fools.i wonder how many more albums he plans to drop before he...."retire"....only to drop 5 more after that lol.lyrically he shows no signs of slowing down.
Dec 21, 2006
he can still rap fast as fuck too!!! he slowed his delivery down for a minute, but he picked it back up on dayshift... my personal favorite is "bitch" featuring too short