E-40/ interview by black dog bone

E-40/ interview by black dog bone photos by/ marcus hanschen

Did you think The Click and E-40 would blow up the way you're blowing up right now?


I always knew that we was going to prosper in any kind of way, if it wasn't Rap it could be something else. I always have been into things and I always have been on that level to the point where I always thought I was going to be somebody. So I pretty much felt we was going to blow up, and I'm not flamboasting. I'ts just on my scrilla. I didn't know how long it's going to take, but it jumped.


Where did you get that push to do what you're doing?


My family, I was born like that. My family always pushed me and always gave me self-esteem, a test of fortitude. My mother was into music, my father was into music, and we was raised in the church which a lot of people was who are in the industry. No matter how hard you is you're from the church background. Most of the people in the Bay, their family comes from back South and they don't do nothing but church. Anyway I was inspired by my family--that's who showed me that I can do anything. Also within myself too I felt that I could do almost anything.


Your family came from the South to Vallejo?


They come from Louisiana. It goes back to my grandfather. My grandfather was in the navy or the army, and I guess he had a job out here. A lot of people came to Mare Island, which is a navel base, and so a lot of people came out to Vallejo from back South. That's where's my roots is, so that's how that jumped off.


It's just spittin some game, E-40 basically doing his way of free stylin--ain't nobody else's. That's E-40 at his best. It's just the bumble and it'll be some shit that'll sound like a gorilla trying to get up out your trunk. Just imagine the gorilla stuck in your trunk and you won't let him out and he's just boom, boom. It's like that.


What were you doing before you started The Click?


Dipping and dabbing. I always have been into music, ever since I was a little kid. I played the drums when I was in school and I have always been a creative person. I always have been popular.


I've heard that from the beginning you were a wild kid doing all kinds of crazy stuff in school and at home.


You can hear it in my raps. I like putting comedy into my lyrics. And I'm not the only rapper--it's a lot of them. That's what it takes, speak the real and put shit that's going to make fools dig that shit-- something to listen to, something that ain't your typical everyday average style. Talk about something that fools want to hear, cause I know what I like to hear. I be my own A&R person. That's what it is, I'm just showing within me. I'm not a comedian, but I like people laughing--I like to keep people laughing, and at the same time show the realness behind me, because I am a serious brother. I'm a very serious brother all the way around.



Your first single, "1 Luv," how did that song come about?


That was my idea. "1 Luv" is a word that can go back as far as Bob Marley. It's basically penitentiary talk on my behalf. One love is love for my folks, one love is I'm there, one love is you there, one love is from the heart. So I defined it as I knew it in my "1 Luv" video.


With "1 Luv" you're taking it to another level and you've got to be really strong to show that side of life. A lot of folks don't want to show that side--love for your people.


I'm not trying to sound like some kind of Black leader, but on that same token I'm just telling the truth. I remember everybody want to shoot 'em up bang, bang. When I was raised we had to knuckle up and throw them things. I'd fight you with the gypseyness. Put down your pillsbury cause a sucker will kill you--a twelve year old, he don't even gotta be bad. He ain't got to be no big ass motherfucker. He could be a little kid trying to earn some stripes. When I was raised we had to knuckle up, we would fare out our anger by thumping instead of taking a brother's soul, his life, taking a brother's wind from him man. A lot of times people don't even know who they having dinner with. I'm very brilliant, I looks out for things. First all the real gangsters are dead. Any motherfucker can bleed, unless you some kind of alien--I don't mean alien as somebody that ain't from my soil, but I mean alien as a motherfucker from Mars or something. Cause humans is bleedin man.


back in the days when I was dipping and dabbing as a young guy I was influenced by maybe four rappers that I can say confirmly. one was Too Short up out of Oakland, another one was Freddy B up out of Oakland, another was Calvin T and Magic Mike up out of Richmond. Magic Mike was ahead of his time and Calvin T. I was in the ye game and the folks that I used to be cool with used to come out here from Rich Town or from Oakland, they'd bring a Too Short tape or a Magic Mike tape. That used to feed me early in the morning while I'm trying to get my scrilla on, they feeding me.


Do you think things will change in the hoods? What do you see for the future for Black people in America?


Killing ain't going to never stop. It can be tamed, because for a minute, all the way back to '83 till now, I felt the dope game wasn't never going to slow down. And you know the dope game, the penelopes done put that to a stop. Operation "sell that drug" shit's come down lately man. I mean there's motherfuckers in the game of course--you do what you've got to do. I'm not going to knock nobody's hustle. That's just like Rap, and Rap ain't going to stop. I don't think the hot ones and fools putting the M's up in their belts, I don't think that's going to stop. All we can do is try to take our scrilla and put it into something positive so that we can prosper and show the White man we not no ignorant motherfuckers. The White man, they sneaky. A White man could be on the corner, in the alley or something, with a tore up ass beard and all tore up and shit and then go cut his hair, put on a suit and tie and get a job with the gypseyness. But a Black man, if he did that it's a whole other story. He's just a brother off the streets that just went and got him a suit and tie, but he's still ghetto.


We can play they game, we can take the scrilla that we make, no matter how we get it, and change it into something positive, that's on the scrilla. I mean it's like this: there's a lot of brilliant motherfuckers out there man that's got A-1 brains, and what I mean by that is top notch brains. The one thing in the whole world that you ever need being a human motherfuckin being is to have common sense. If you've got common sense you going to prosper, you going to go a long ways. But if you ain't got no common sense you're not going to expand, you're going to be at a standstill, you're going to be caked up on the same ye spot forever. And it don't have to be ye spot, it can be anywhere. Common sense tells you what to do--if you see some hardheads in the party, and they flashing they straps, common sense tell you to get up out of there before the mothefuckers be acting wild. That's just life.


How did you come up with your Rap style, rapping fast over slow beats, the Mob style?


Back in the days when I was dipping and dabbing as a young guy I was influenced by maybe four rappers that I can say confirmly. one was Too Short up out of Oakland, another one was Freddy B up out of Oakland, another was Calvin T and Magic Mike up out of Richmond. Magic Mike was ahead of his time and Calvin T. I was in the ye game and the folks that I used to be cool with used to come out here from Rich Town or from Oakland, they'd bring a Too Short tape or a Magic Mike tape. That used to feed me early in the morning while I'm trying to get my scrilla on, they feeding me. I ain't thinking about rapping, I was into other things. So then like '85 hit, we bullshittin. Another person that influenced me was U.T.F.O. Kango from U.T.F.O. KRS-1, all them styles is me. Too Short, Calvin T and Magic Mike, Kango from U.T.F.O. and K.R.S-1 is in E-40 all in one. Plus E-40 got character and always had like slang words, and always have had game. Because if you ain't from that '84-'85 era, you ain't where I'm at now, as far as game oriented situation. You ain't knowing. That so far as the game that's being spit on the tapes written now as we speak. So basically that style, it jumped off like that. This is what I do and I'm gonna do it to the best of my ability.


To the Black man and to the White man. But mainly my folks, mainly my race. My race is the most important to me. I'm not trying to persuade nobody to go kill nobody, but I'm just getting them in a better mood than what they be in. If they hear a E-40 tape they into it.


You were one of the first to run your own independent label, and you have taken it to a whole other level. What's the secret to your success?


We're back to common sense. Common sense tell me that's there's scrilla in this Rap game. I got my first check from City Hall Records, which is a distribution company. I think on our first check we sold 2,000 cassettes. What did we get? What's 2,000 times $3.50? I think my first check was like 7 or $8,000, and it wasn't just me--it was The Click. I was like, "shit, this is a lot of scrilla!" The "Down and Dirty" tape, it was a message to the Bay Area, that was the foundation for the whole Bay Area to do what they doing now. It set if off. That motherfucker wasn't no peanut and it extended some. There was scrilla to be made, it showed a lot of motherfuckers man you can do this shit, come with the right product, you can do this shit. So that's what did it man. I done have my ups and downs man, I had been broke before the real way. Nobody stuck behind me but my family. And then so as far as me being in the game, I couldn't tell a motherfucker that I was broke cause I always carried myself well. I never was towed down once I got in the ye game and then after. Before that, when I was a kid, we had things, but we didn't have top notch things. Like a motherfucker might have a Members Only jacket that was jumpin off back in the days, I might have a spin off from Members Only, it was a lower notch. A motherfucker might be eating Top Ramen noodles with a nice brand name on it, I'd be eating the generic brand with the yellow package. So that's the way it happened back in the days. Anyways, back to far more relevate terms, this whole thing could of took to a whole other level and it's like you've got to have faith from within, you can't just give up. I have been knocked because my style was so far ahead of its time. I have been knocked so many times, but since that "Down and Dirty" tape ain't nobody ever say no shit to me as far as knockin me--never. Not one motherfucker done said, "E-40 your shit is weak." All I get is good compliments. I acknowledge that to the fullest and I'm grateful that I've been given the gift to spit.


When did "Down and Dirty" come out?


That was in 1992, that's when it was released. The album was done in '91.


Is Jive going to re-release the Sick Wid' It catalogue?


Yeah, we're clearing samples right now. We've got the "Down and Dirty" coming out after samples clear. We got B-Legit "The Savage." We got E-40 "Federal." We got Suga T's "Its All Good." We got D-Shot "The Shot Caller," which is out right now with the Jive Logo. Little Bruce is out with the Jive logo, and Celly Cell is out with the Jive logo. E-40 "The Mail Man" is out with the Jive logo, it's got a bonus track "Ballin Outa Control," which a lot of people ain't heard. If you ain't heard about it you need to go fetch it cause it's telling the real.

It's E-40 at its best, when you hear it I'm pretty sure you'll dig it. I got E-40 "In A Major Way" out in February. Be on the look out cause it ain't going to be no peanut. It's 16 songs--13 tight ones and three interludes--and it ain't no peanut man.


"In A Major Way" I would say is going to go Platinum.


I hope so. I mean it's Platinum material. I'm 99.9% sure that it's going to go Platinum. The label is behind me to the upmost. We just big-timin' man, we timin' man.


You can hear it in my raps. I like putting comedy into my lyrics. And I'm not the only rapper--it's a lot of them. That's what it takes, speak the real and put shit that's going to make fools dig that shit-- something to listen to, something that ain't your typical everyday average style. Talk about something that fools want to hear, cause I know what I like to hear.


Who did the production on "In A Major Way"?


Studio Tone did five tracks: he did the song called "1-Luv," he did a song called "Bootsee," he did a song called "H.I. Double L." he did a song called "Dhey Ain't No," broken English "they didn't know," but we say "dhey ain't no" like that. He did a song called "Spittin' On The Microphone." I've got two production folks up out of Seattle, one name is Funk Daddy. He did a track for me called "Fed X," he did another track for me called "It's All Bad," and he did another song called "Sideways." Funk Daddy, he raps too, he's a producer and a rapper, so he produced them three tracks for me. Some other folks up out of Seattle called Winetime Productions--Kevin Gardner and Samuel Redwine--they did a song called "Smoke 'n' Drank," which is on my album. It's the Bumble too, all of them the Bumble. Also Mike Mosley, he did previous productions for us before. Studio Tone was the main motherfucker that we as fucking with, I just ventured out and got some other people just to add different flavor--all these folks is Mob. Mike Mosley did a song called "Sprinkle Me," he did a song called "Dusted 'N' Disgusted," he did a song called "Bump Da Bumble," he did "Into," the beginning to "In A Major Way." It's just letting the motherfuckers know the recipe--this Huricane Ethal shit we'd be fucking with. It's a drink and it's the situation, you understand. It's a drink we drink called Hurricane Ethal. It's got Bacardy Dark, Bacardy Light, Grenadine, pineapple juice and Tripple Sec. You put it all in one big ass motherfuckin empty container of Arrowhead water and you got yourself some fuckin Hurricane Ethal. It's a devastating drink so parental advisory is suggested. We got the Ethal as far as it's like gasoline--it looks like gasoline once it's in that empty container or that Arrowhead water jug.




What about the song "Da Bumble"?


It's just spittin some game, E-40 basically doing his way of free stylin--ain't nobody else's. That's E-40 at his best. It's just the bumble and it'll be some shit that'll sound like a gorilla trying to get up out your trunk. Just imagine the gorilla stuck in your trunk and you won't let him out and he's just boom, boom. It's like that.


Some of the images that you use in your raps like mosquitoes buzzing and screen doors slamming, are real unusual. Does that come from living in Vallejo?


Basically, I done seen it all living in Vallejo. We didn't come from a poor ass family, but we was raised from a single parent. My father and my mother divorced, we always seen the worst, we didn't have it like the kids got it now. Back in my days a motherfucker might have a Green Machine, which is a contemporary go-cart, but it was sold in stores. We might have a big wheel, but the new thing that came out was Green Machines. We had we always had, mom always had for us, but we didn't have top-notch shit like them other motherfuckers. But I'm grateful, and that made me a strong person not to have everything that I wanted. I done been through it man, I'm not trying to act like I'm super hardcore ghetto, wild wild wild, but I know this shit and I've been in it and I must speak on that.


The album is going to be a different flavor from your last solo album, "Federal"?


This album right here is way different from anything that I've ever done in my life. This album is on Super unleaded. The first album will always be the nucleus, the bomb. I feel this is just as good as "Federal." Of course your first album to you and other people is going to be the bump, but this is E-40 at its bestest. It ain't nothing but game orientated slang shit, and game orientated situations that a motherfucker can feel and say, "I've done been through this shit before, I know what that nigga be talking about that. That motherfucker lacing me with all kind of shit. It goes on and on and on, man. I mean the shit is on super unleaded man, I can't take nothing away from that young Black man, you know he's just water."


When I was raised we had to knuckle up, we would fare out our anger by thumping instead of taking a brother's soul, his life, taking a brother's wind from him man. A lot of times people don't even know who they having dinner with. I'm very brilliant, I looks out for things. First all the real gangsters are dead. Any motherfucker can bleed, unless you some kind of alien--I don't mean alien as somebody that ain't from my soil, but I mean alien as a motherfucker from Mars or something. Cause humans is bleedin man.


A lot of industry people right now are looking at Vallejo. Do you think Vallejo is about to go major?


Vallejo always has been a town with talent, no matter if it's Rap, R&B, sports, whatever the case may be. There's so many motherfuckers up out of Vallejo on the Super Slush that been though some shit, they got some shit. And Vallejo is just a talented town, its just like you might as well say it, Baby Compton. Vallejo's real, a lot of motherfuckers know about Vallejo, I believe that we're one of the biggest inspirations in Vallejo since ConFunkShun as far as putting the motherfucker on the map. Now we're able to reach out to more audiences and more fans and more people, so I would say E-40 and The Click is top-notch up out of Vallejo. But in Vallejo I do see a lot of motherfuckers coming up out of the V doin what they got to do to get their scrilla, and I can't take nothing away from them motherfucker's hustle.


How is it when you go to the East Coast and Los Angeles, how do you get treated?


I ain't really had no problems with nobody from New York. I ain't seeing them playa hating against the motherfucker or nothing when I stepped into the joint, the few times that I been to New York--like 3 or 4 times. All they say is, "I've been reading about you, I can dig your style." New York is a trip, I'm not trying to take nothing away from New York. I don't see no big time ass sales that I've accumulated in New York. But on that same token I know that they know about the motherfucker--that's the important thing. If they know a motherfucker's real on the scrilla, that's what'll dig off in the motherfuckin membrane. The thing about this whole situation, this West Coast/East Coast thing, I really dislike the fact that West Coast will take in East Coast Rap all day long. West Coast disc jockies will bump the fuck out of a East Coast song to the fullest. But on the East Coast a West Coast rapper--if you ain't mainstream, if you ain't no top-notch ass to the fullest motherfucker that's on MTV type rapper--they not going to play you at all, playboy. That's the thing about it, it's a trip. I'm not saying as far as niggaz in the ghetto, not out my way, we bumps a few motherfuckers from the East Coast--we select them real well. We feel that they real, the ones that we play to the fullest. But those that we see on tv--those we see on the Rap City--we're not inspired by every last one of them. We just don't get deep off into what they spit. We try our best to figure it out and we retrospect all game, so we be hungry for game, we like to be fed. Don't tell me shit that I already know, I want to hear something new. If you ain't talking about something that I ain't knowing about, I don't even want to buy your tape. I want to hear something that's gonna get me in a good-ass mood. When I wake up in the morning I can bump this damn tape on my way to school or on my way to work or on my way to the track, something that I can go to sleep on and just bump all night while I'm falling asleep man. Like that motherfuckin E-40 "In A Major Way" shit, like that.


How do you feel about signing with Jive?


Jive? I'm gonna see what their machinery is about. So far shit look good, I feel good about it. Jive seems like the label that can do some good things for a motherfucker. And for sure I'm gonna go gold, at least. At the same time, I'm paid, I mean they broke me off something cool. I'm not the only one they broke off, they broke off with my whole Sick Wid' It mosse. B-Legit is half owner Sick Wid' It, D-Shot, Suga T, the whole Click. It's like we got our own little thing, it's not just me. If I'm paid everybody's paid. That's going to give leeway for everybody in my organization. I always said I was a millionaire even when I had $10 in my pocket because I knew I had the capabilities of doing it. It don't matter, I'm just running with what I do, and I'm just not rapping because of the scrilla. I'm rappin also because I've got messages to send to fools.


I ain't thinking about rapping, I was into other things. So then like '85 hit, we bullshittin. Another person that influenced me was U.T.F.O. Kango from U.T.F.O. KRS-1, all them styles is me. Too Short, Calvin T and Magic Mike, Kango from U.T.F.O. and K.R.S-1 is in E-40 all in one. Plus E-40 got character and always had like slang words, and always have had game. Because if you ain't from that '84-'85 era, you ain't where I'm at now, as far as game oriented situation. You ain't knowing.


To the Black man?


To the Black man and to the White man. But mainly my folks, mainly my race. My race is the most important to me. I'm not trying to persuade nobody to go kill nobody, but I'm just getting them in a better mood than what they be in. If they hear a E-40 tape they into it.


But don't you think that there's more to it than the brothers killing each other?


There is more to it.


We see ourselves in the negative. Like if you go to see a film like Lion King, in that the bad lion is the Black one--kids going to see it and think the dark person is the negative--and the female lion got blue eyes, and kids say heh that's the good one.


I can dig that because as I was growing up I always prayed to a White Jesus, and that's because the White man has programmed this in our head that Jesus was White. All the cartoons that we had to see with Jesus of Nazareth and then Moses and all this, we always felt that he was White. They come from Egypt which is Africa. So how the hell you going to be White? Make them Philippino or Arab or something, don't just say they White. I'm getting adjusted to when I pray, I pray to a Black Jesus. Since I been woke to this for a few years now I know that my Lord is Black. But I do understand what your saying--the Black guy is always the bad guy or the slave in the movies. These motherfuckin movies is a big influence on these kids, and everybody trying to blame the shit on Rap man. Rap is just some shit that can tell you what's going on, but movies can show you how to make a detonator. Movies can show you how to go up into a motherfuckin police station with a fully automatic Tommy and spray up everything. Movies can show you how to stand behind a motherfuckin van at night and wait for a lady to get up out of corporate business and rape her. Rap ain't talking about that. Rap's speaking the real. You would want your kids to listen to most of this Rap on the strength that if they sleep to it they gonna want to go experience the shit. And you can't hide this Rap shit from them--if one of they homeboys go get a tape, if you 13-17, if he got a tape and you don't let him buy it, "you can't listen to that," what they gonna do is go get them a double cassette thing and they going to dub it. And they going to hide it, you ain't never gonna never see that thing because they going to have it up under their mattress. You'll never find that tape because they going to be slicking some shit, they gonna be listening to it while you at work or while you over at your best friend's house playing dominos. They gonna be listening to that Rap shit trying to get woke to this ghetto shit instead of this suburban shit. I understand what you're saying, you're trying to tell me that the shit that we see is always the Black man is always the bad guy. What I'm saying, as far as my music, I'm trying to reach out to everybody. I hate how Blacks be clowning Blacks on all them talk shows. That's one of the statements that I say on one of my raps. Blacks be clowning Blacks on all them talk shows, Whites be clowning Whites too, but we can be better than that. Let them do the ignorant shit. Anyway they're the biggest drug dealers going, and I'm not no prejudice motherfucker. I'm just saying, that's just how it goes man. They the biggest drug dealers going. Say I was a drug dealer, what the fuck am I gonna do? Go to Peru or Columbia to get some ye? Man I ain't got that type of knowledge. I'm gonna get it from the corporate office. All the sneaky hustlers use the brothers to sprinkle it on out there. I suggest that motherfuckers take their scrilla and get up in this business, this Rap shit. Let's do that right now man because sooner of later shit gonna stop.


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