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The Ball Street Journal (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

Arriving a year later than expected, E-40's 2008 effort has more than enough highlights, but the track list is hopelessly stuffed and scrambled, like someone just turned over the vault and let the two previous years of recordings fall where they may. Oddly enough, The Ball Street Journal begins just like 2006's My Ghetto Report Card, with a Digable Planets sample and a brag track that rightfully declares E-40 the Bay Area's ambassador. Two cuts later and the previous album's "Tell Me When to Go" gets quoted on "Break Ya Ankles," with guest Shawty Low and a production so obviously Lil Jon his name needn't have appeared in the credits. The love of dancehall returns on the particularly good "Hustle" with Turf Talk and R. City, but much less welcome is the resurrection of the "drip" noise which gets looped on "40 Water," making it more like water torture. As far as new ideas, the kooky bassline on "Got Rich Twice" from Droop-E drives both E-40 and Turf Talk to get loose and wild on one of the album's more inspired performances, and "The Recipe" wins thanks to the silly cooking show samples that are bizarrely twisted into instructions for preparing crack cocaine. With so much left to go and a running order that's no help, this is a so-so step back in total, one better left for the Bay Area fanatic and E-40 faithful. [A Circuit City exclusive was also released.]


Born: November 15, 1967 in Vallejo, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Synonymous with Bay Area rap, E-40 garnered a regional following, and eventually a national one, with his flamboyant raps, while his entrepreneurial spirit did much to cultivate a flourishing rap scene in communities such as Oakland and his native Vallejo. E-40 spent years releasing music independently and was among the first Bay Area rappers to sign to a major label. Throughout the '90s and into the following decade, he released a series of widely distributed albums on Jive, and though only 1995's...
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The Ball Street Journal (Deluxe Version), E-40
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