Most purists probably wouldn't put E-40 in their Top 10. However, when you look at the stats this Bay Area ambassador has chalked up over the course of his storied career, the only folks who can match his hustle are those on the Hall Of Fame ballot.
For over two decades, Earl Stevens has presented notable mainstream hits from his perved-out perspective, never catering to anyone else and using his flamboyant slaungauge and playful personality to set trends along the way. Plus, he's done it with an unwavering independent hustle that has not only stood the test of time, but laid the blueprint for some of the most financially-stable rappers in the game today.
Yet, Forty Water still seems to be an acquired taste for some, meaning we felt it necessary to remind everyone of the impact this rap ballatician continues to leave engraved in the game.
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1. "Captain Save-A-Ho"
After building an independent home in Sick Wid It Records to help break bread with talented friends and family members during the early '90s, Forty Water and his group The Click came up with this bass-heavy dedication to those poor saps who can't resist helpless hood rats. The track would quickly make noise nationwide and give their independent movement the steam needed to keep percolating.
2. "Sprinkle Me"
Alongside his sister and fellow Click member Suga T, the always-laced Vallejo mobster delivered one of the best sibling-based slappers to ever come out of California with this oh-so-funky single.
3. "Dusted & Disgusted"
Another cut from In A Major Way, another memorable gem. This Mike Mosley-produced banger scolds scandalous skanks and features three West Coast hall of famers in their pr-uh-pr-uh-prime.
4. "Player's Ball"
As Charlie Hustle's clout climbed higher by the mid-nineties, he and $hort Dogg decided it was a good time to lace the youngbloods with some stuffing on this Hall Of Game single from 1996.
5. "Some Things Will Never Change"
Showing his diversity over some serenading keys and guitar strings, Earl Stevens set aside the stunting to shine some light on his imperfect background here, letting listeners know they aren't alone in their daily grind.
6. "Hope I Don't Go Back"
Taking us back on another trip down memory lane, Forty mixed sentimental and suave to his get mail from this lead single to his 1998 album, The Element Of Surprise.
7. "Nah, Nah, Nah"
To say the Sick Wid It CEO capitalized by pairing one of Battlecat's best backdrops of all time with an irrefutably great delivery from Nate Dogg for this Loyalty & Betrayal single would be an understatement.
8. "Act A Ass"
In the early to mid-2000s, E-Feezy steadily dropped well-rounded albums that produced both solid singles and under-the-radar album aces. This ode to inebriation from his 2003 LP Breakin' News is one of the latter and continues to justify juvenile tendencies amidst acquaintances to this day.
9. "Tell Me When To Go"
After 15 years of successful independent hustling, the Bay Area staple signed with BME/Warner Bros. in 2005 and reinstated himself in the game with My Ghetto Report Card and this single, which had the entire nation going hyphy and spawned possibly the greatest opening line in hip-hop history: "Jesus Christ had dreads, so shake 'em."
Like the seasoned veteran he is, E-40 dropped this new school slap from his 16th album The Block Brochure: Welcome To The Soil 2 last year and had listeners his kids' age going dumb in the clubs - proving longevity is only possible with persistence and a little bit of collar-poppin.'