“It’s all good,” “fo’shezzy, fo’shizzle” and “what’s up pimpin” are all phrases originated by E-40. He also named Hyphy, the San Francisco Bay Area movement Rolling Stone has anointed as the “hot new scene.” With each of his most recent seven albums having reached the R&B/Hip-Hop Top 10, the acclaimed platinum-selling rapmaster now teams with executive producer Lil Jon for My Ghetto Report Card-and Hyphy goes to the head of the class.
Riding on the popularity of the song/video “Tell Me When To Go,” E-40’s latest album also doubles as an introduction of the Bay Area’s burgeoning “Hyphy” movement to a national audience. His constantly evolving slangcabulary and taffy-like vocal style are acquired tastes–especially outside the Yay–but this new album makes smart choices and is one of 40’s most crossover-friendly albums to date. His signature “mob sound” has been stripped down to a minimalist bed of thick bass kicks and catchy hand claps by everyone from Rick Rock (“Yay Area”) to Droop-E (“Sick Wit It II”), even Lil’ Jon (“Tell Me When To Go”). The album can feel a little repetitive at times, but it’s also a sound that plays well in clubs, cars, and earbuds. 40 also opens his door to a host of guests, including local talent like Keak Da Sneak (“Muscle Cars”) and The Federation (“Go Hard or Go Home”), but he wisely collaborates with others like NY’s Juelz Santana and Houston’s UGK (“White Gurl”) as well as R&B crooner T-Pain (“U And Dat”). Will this album have the rest of the nation ghostriding the whip? Give it three months and we’ll see. –Oliver Wang
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