The term “legend” is not loosely thrown around in hip-hip and for good reason. There are not many rappers that fit the bill. But E-40, “The Ambassador of the Bay,” is one that definitely does. After 12 albums and 15 years, three gold and one platinum album (one with his group The Click) 40 Water is ready to unleash his patented slang and unforgettable flow to a new generation of fans with his debut album for BME Recordings/Sik Wid It/Reprise, My Ghetto Report Card.
It’s no secret why 40 has remained current, he stays on top of the streets, “I stays woke. “I like to put a new twist to what I do,” says 40. “Every now and then you got to reinvent yourself by getting with these young cats, that way I stay fresh in the game. That’s the secret to my longevity.”
With his latest album My Ghetto Report Card, E-40 once again re-invents himself by introducing the nation to a movement that has been bubbling in his native Bay Area for the past few years - Hyphy. Like Crunk in Atlanta or Screw Music in Houston, Hyphy music is the sonic component of the new Bay Area youth culture.
The energy of the youth created a power so strong that the music coming out of the bay was forced to follow suit, giving the streets a soundtrack to the movement. Hyphy has a dance component, where dancers compete with each other for dominance of the crowd – as displayed by the award-winning Bay Area dance group, The Animaniaks, in E-40’s hit video “Tell Me When To Go.” This ultra-intense form of freestyle dancing is called going dumb. The customary fashion for Hyphy is jeans, white tees, dreads and big sunglasses called “stunna shades.”
Another major component of Hyphy is the car culture. The ride of choice right now in the Bay is the scraper, the classic 4-door American sedan (Buick LaSabres, Park Avenues, et al) with a hood twist. A pimped out scraper is not complete without colored tint, whistling pipes, oversized rims or spinning hubcaps and a stereo system powerful enough to knock pictures off the wall. It’s not just about how the car looks though, being able to gas, brake and dip, do figure 8’s, donuts and ghost ride the whip (driving a car hanging out the door making it appear as if the car is driving itself) is a major part of just how Hyphy Bay youth get.
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