Respect due to the estimable Matthew Africa for blending this mix of 40 Fonzarelli jams. For those overwhelmed by 40’s abyssal catalogue, this is a perfect place to start exploring the work of the greatest rappers of all-time. Beyond an ability to stretch his voice into cartoon cadences while rapping at slurricane speed, 40 invented enough slang to keep Rap Genius confused for a generation. Then there is what Danny Brown pointed out in his Narduwar interview: 40 is a philosopher of the hustle. Never trust a drug dealer that doesn’t fuck with 40. Every time I would re-up in college, my weed man would want to talk about nothing but the other Earl. Good people.

Below the jump, Africa’s note and the mix.

However you want to measure it– originality, influence, inventiveness, longevity, personality, skill– E-40 is one of the greatest rappers of all time.

This mix is a tribute to him in the tradition of my previous mixes devoted to DJ Quik, R. Kelly, Gang Starr and Too $hort (the latter with DJ Eleven). If you’ve heard any of them, you know I go all out– meticulously selecting, sequencing and mixing songs to put together the best possible representation of those artists’ music. This mix is no exception.

I chose 40 songs from all eras of E-40’s career, from 1990’s “Let’s Side” to his current single, “Function”. His catalog is so vast and deep that picking just 40 songs to represent him was incredibly tough, but I’ve tried to fit in everything from mob slumpers and album sleepers to radio and club hits. Obviously, there are a lot of other classic songs that could have been on here but aren’t; I picked the ones that to me best embody his work as a whole. Or are just ones I really love.

If you enjoy this, go grab E-40’s three (!) new albums, Block Brochure Volumes 1-3. They are due out this coming Tuesday but you can pre-order them now.

Download: Yay Game – The E-40 Mix by Matthew Africa