E-40: The Ball Street Journal (Album Review)

You would think after sixteen, yes sixteen, years in the game E-40 would garner more respect from the Hip-Hop community. The man helped put the San Francisco Bay area on with his early street corner hustle in the 90’s to bringing his city to a national spotlight with the recent Hyphy movement. Now with ten albums in the stash and tons of his slang forever embedded in the Rap dictionary, E-40 tries to keep his legacy pushing with his new LP The Ball Street Journal (Asylum).

For starters, he establishes his position in his hometown with the aptly titled “The Ambassador”. Produced by Rick Rock, the track’s energy compliments 40’s busy delivery well. Slowing things down to a more Dirty South tempo is “Break Ya Ankles”. Featuring Shawty Lo and Lil John’s signature synthesizers, this snap anthem picks up right where “Snap Yo Fingers” left off.

With just a quick glance at the track listing it is easy to see a heavy amount of features. Unfortunately these guest appearances weigh down the disc and sometimes steer our favorite Ballatician down a generic road. On the lead single “Wake It Up”, Fonzarelli links up with Akon.

Everyone’s favorite Senegalese crooner attempts to pepper the track with enough crossover appeal but the effort is almost a replica of ‘Kon’s current single “Right Now”. More auto tune sabotage is found with the T-Pain assisted “Give Her The Keys”. While these radio friendly efforts are expected, E-Feezy doesn’t make these joints his own, but rather rides the waves of the respective singers.

All is not completely lost as we do get some flashes of classic E-40 in “The Recipe”. With verses from Bun B and Gucci Mane, all three sum up the highs and lows of the drug game. True fans will liken 40’s charismatic performance here to “Rule And Regulations” from Charlie Hustle.

While Ball Street Journal doesn’t recreate the rawness from his slept on 90’s catalog or the commercial magic from its predecessor My Ghetto Report Card, E-40 still serves up a decent listen. Those looking craving that Bay Area Slap step right up.

E-40 Featuring Akon

"Wake It Up"

Wake It Up - E-40

E-40 Featuring Shawty Lo

"Break Ya Ankles"

Break Ya Ankles - E-40 ft. Shawty Lo