Is E-40 still dropping heat? Yup. Does he plan on slowing down? Nope.
In the past 30 years, a myriad of emcees have come and gone, trends have changed and the music we once shelled out $15-20 for is mostly available for pennies on the dollar. Despite all that, E-40 has sat comfortably atop his throne as the undisputed ambassador of the Bay Area’s indelible hip-hop scene. He further solidified his status with the recent announcement that his 2014 smash single “Choices” was certified gold by the RIAA.
Like his hometown team the Golden State Warriors, E-Feezy keeps collecting trophies thanks to his tireless work ethic and a strong squad in his corner. With a new Beats commercial, a new album on the way later this year and even a new line of his Earl Stevens beverages, 40 is still writing the block brochure on longevity in this rap game.
In an exclusive interview with BET.com, 40 talks about the impact of “Choices,” winning a young man’s game at 48 and, of course, a certain Bay Area NBA Championship contending team.
BET: At a time when people aren’t buying a lot of music, how does it feel to see the support behind “Choices?”
E-40: When I first made the song I knew. I said, "If the world get a hold of this, man it’s got potential to be huge" because it’s not something that everybody is doing. That particular style of music, the flow and the call-and-response. The situation around that song and the things I was saying it was just one of those ones. I was grateful that it went gold in this day and age where gold is very rare and to be 48 years old with a gold record, there’s people half my age that may or may not get one in a lifetime. As a matter of fact, I’m going to Canada on July 2 to perform [“Choices”] with a guy by the name of Sarkodie. He did a cover of “Choices.” I’m almost certain that he’s the biggest rapper in Africa and this is going to be our first time [performing it] together. Africa is going crazy with “Choices” right now.
At 48, what is your secret to staying relevant, especially among the younger generation?
Consistency and hard work. Making sure you think things out. I owe it all to the Almighty God. I’m glad I’m setting an example for the younger generation so in the future they can say, ‘Look how long E-40’s rap career was. Look how long he stayed relevant.’ I’m living proof that there’s no age limit to rapping. You just keep going and if things don’t go according to how you wanted them to go then kick back, relax and just live off what you made and do your thing.
With that being said, even though your grind is always on do you allow yourself to “smell the roses” as they say?
I’m happy with life and I just wanna be an inspiration to the young generation and also the OGs to show them we’re older OGs, but I’ve been relevant in every decade of hip-hop. I’ve seen it all, I done seen the hottest artists that were super big-headed think it was gonna last forever, and I seen ‘em fall all the way down. That’s why you gotta stay humble. Humble yourself cause you never know how it’s gonna go. I always stay humble. I don’t act funny towards nobody. I treat the youngsters right and same with the older cats. I just respect people and mind my business. I don’t got time to worry about what the next man’s pockets are looking like, I gotta worry about what mine are looking like and my family. I’m a family man. I’m everything that an ambassador and a fixture is supposed to be.
You’ve been a fixture courtside at the Warriors games this year, do you talk trash to LeBron since you’re that close?
I never [trash talk] cause I like LeBron. I respect him and I think he’s a great player. As a matter of fact, I ran into LeBron’s mama when he was like three or four years in the league and she’s a fan of my music as well, and I just can’t see myself talking down on that guy. That’s childish. Just because we’re playing them, you gotta respect dude. I don’t heckle nobody on the opposite team cause a lot of times they got love for me so I just root my team on and keep it pushin’. I don’t even bother our players. I don’t do the ‘Hey look at me, I’m here.’ They see me and I might say what’s up but I need them to concentrate on the game. I don’t want them to get sidetracked and miss the ball ‘cause they’re trying to holler at me and show me respect. I don’t want them to do that. They know I’m there and I come to see them play.
(Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)