Kyle Ellison waves his finger in the air for slang prostitution

It might have been Kanye playing coach in the video for ‘I Don’t Fuck With You’, but if Big Sean knows what’s good for him he’ll take his advice from the guy in the commentary box. E-40 has stayed fresh throughout three decades, outlived as many sub-genres and was rap’s pre-eminent slang generator long before Donald Glover discovered dial-up. At 46, he’s got 7 years on the combined ages of Rae Sremmurd, yet he still finds the time to drop regular volumes of music alongside a side-hustle bottling Moscato.

To praise 40 for his endurance though is to sell him short, and new single ‘Choices (Yup)’ proves once again that he’s among the most creative doing it. Having never rapped regular and never been successfully mimicked, it should come as no surprise that he still sounds distinct – the challenge is staying inventive and maintaining quality control. Taken from his forthcoming double album – the appropriately titled Sharp on All 4 Corners – ‘Choices’ ticks both of these boxes. The idea is simple enough, making use of a call and response concept to outline what you already knew. Is he sober as a gopher? Nope. High as a rollercoaster? Yup. Softer than a sock? Nope. Solid as a rock? You get the picture.

The thing is, in anyone else’s hands you’d get tired of the formula before the five minutes is through, but 40 knows all the tricks. His voice hops readily up and down the register, he chops and changes the syntax and, when all else fails, he invents a few words (Chi-neat, anyone?).  Dropping music as he does in huge multi-disk bundles probably doesn’t make much business sense, but when it comes to rapping E-40 is still making all the right choices.

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!