E-40 and Too Short lead a massive hip-hop lineup at the Fox in Salinas.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Earl Stevens has almost as many monikers as he does fingers: 40 Water, 40 Belafonte, 40 Fonzarelli, E-Feezy, Charlie Hustle, Mr. Flamboyant, The Ambassador of the Yay, The Ambassador of the Bay and most famously, E-40.
The rapper has been blowing up at an exponential rate over the past 20 years: His MySpace page has more than 15 million hits and his songs have more than 50 million plays.
40’s mainstream success is the direct result of breakthrough lyrical creativity and his ax-to-the-grind work ethic: The 41-year-old tours constantly, has collaborated with just about every West Coast hip-hop artist and has released 14 albums including two recent LPs simultaneously: Revenue Retrievin’: Day Shift and Revenue Retrievin’: Night Shift. Both 19-track LPs feature guest spots from notables like Snoop Dogg, B-Legit, Gucci Mane and longtime colleague, Too Short, also appearing at the Bay Area Bash at the Fox Theater on Saturday.
40’s rhymes are like the blaxploitation movies of the 70s: explicit, and sometimes overtly exaggerated and grotesque scenes of ghetto life. On “Hope I Don’t Go Back,” he raps: “I remember getting’ chased by the cops, had to get my stomach pumped, full of a quarter ounce of rocks/ late afternoon, po-po waitin’ for me outside of Vallejo Kaiser Permanente emergency room with glocks.”
On tunes like “Pray For Me,” 40’s bird’s-eye-view of life in the hood comes closer to what’s really going on: “My kinfolk, baby, momma on welfare, they house is bigger than ours/ Cause they got section eight vouchers, W.I.C. and benefit cards.”
The prolific hip-hop star may be rolling in the dough – probably armed with enough green to never have to work another day in his life – but he has no plans of stopping.
“My mind, body, and fan base are telling me to keep going,” 40 told MOG. “You don’t hear R&B singers retiring.”
When Too Short blasted out of the Oakland scene in the early ’90s, his persona was compared to the lead character in one of the kings of all blaxploitation films, The Mack. Source wrote: “A true mack is able to control both the game and his destiny. Only a handful of rappers have been able to achieve that feat. Too Short is one of them.”
“You better get that cash, old-ass man wanna hit that ass/ Older than your daddy, more like your granny, let his old wrinkled ass get in them panties,” Short rhymes on “Pimpin’ Forver.”
The charismatic rapper has been criticized for overdosing on lyrics that are ultra-violent and misogynistic, and when asked about his crass style he references one of the greatest fiction writers of our generation.
“If Stephen King had to be the characters that he writes about would you like him?” Short told Source. “No. He’s a writer, I’m a writer.”
Keak da Sneak, The Pack, Hoodstarz, San Quinn, Mistah F.A.B., J Blaze, Mistah Rook, Laroo and Jimmy Roses also perform.