E-40 on the Bay Area, and his legendary hip-hop career
He goes by many names: Forty Fonzarelli, Charlie Hustle, 40-Water or maybe you know him as the Ambassador of the Bay Area. When it comes to Bay Area hip-hop, E-40 quite possibly the greatest of all time.
E-40 was born and raised in the small town of Vallejo, and he has brought the culture of the Bay Area to the world. His distinctive style is overflowing with language — bars stuffed to the gills with words both real and imagined. He’s hip-hop’s king of slang and a stylist without peer.
He’s spent his career at the forefront of independent music, building a rap empire that changed the way music was recorded and sold, in hip-hop and beyond. He is both an artist and a movement.
His distinctiveness has kept him relevant for three decades now, from mob music in the 1990’s to hyphy slaps in the aughts to new music today.
The themes are simple: hustling, street life, a bit of wisdom and a lot of money making. But even now, in his early 50’s he tries to stay humble about his success.
A couple months ago E-40 put out a brand new record with another Bay Area veteran: Too $hort – it’s called Ain’t Gone Do It. We’re taking the time to revisit our conversation with E-40 from 2019.
When he joined us we pulled up some deep cuts from R&B singer Saint Charles, who 40 knows as his Uncle Chuckie. He explains why Chuckie was a huge inspiration for him. E will also take us to the root of his passion for music. Plus, he talked about his college days at Grambling State University.
This interview originally aired in 2019.
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Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.
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