Underrated: "People Might Think [He] Fell Off, But [He's] Still Eating"
Thursday, Feb 16, 2012 12:05AM
[Greatest Love of All: Each week, SOHH asks two entertainment personalities to name who they feel is the most underrated emcee in hip-hop . In light of Valentine's Day week, we are going with hip-hop artists who feel they are the most underrated. After Jim Jones gave himself the title earlier this week, E-40 explains why he deserves the SOHH Underrated crown.]
I have to name myself for SOHH Underrated. I'm the most underrated rapper in the game, in life. I would bet that against anything. My sh*t was 20 years ahead of time.
That's why I'm 20-plus years in this sh*t. See, the thing is, if I wasn't doing my job, I wouldn't be rapping right now. I would be doing something else. I would have been fell off. So to the naked eye, on the whole other side of the globe, when people don't see you on BET or television, people will think you're not doing your thing. I've got the West Coast on lock. You can ask the streets.
Commercial-wise? I'm a little under the radar. So some people might think I fell off, but I'm still eating and I'm eating independently. The whole SOHH Underrated angle comes in because I have such a unique, rap style and a unique voice.
I'm mostly known for my slang, but it's much deeper than that. I started this independent thing. A lot of rappers in the game right now can do what I did. I started off with a thousand tapes, sold them and really blossomed. I kept it going and then the next thing you knew, we were at twenty thousand, thirty thousand, one hundred thousand. It was really grassroots.
I was grinding independently. Even before I signed to Jive Records, I had the biggest bidding war back in 1993, one of the biggest ones available at the time. Every label wanted to get at E-40. I'm not a mad rapper or anything like that, but I feel like I've always been under the radar and underrated.
Maybe if I sold ten million real quick, I wouldn't still be here.
Synonymous with Bay Area rap, E-40 garnered a regional following, and eventually a national one, with his flamboyant raps, while his entrepreneurial spirit, embodied by his homegrown record label, Sick Wid' It Records, did much to cultivate a flourishing rap scene to the east of San Francisco Bay, in communities such as Oakland and his native Vallejo. Along with Too Short, Spice 1, and Ant Banks, E-40 was among the first Bay Area rappers to sign a major-label deal, penning a deal with Jive Records in 1994, after years of releasing music independently, going back as far as 1990.
Check out some E-40 tunes below: