Matthew Africa, an Oakland-based intellectual property lawyer by day and meticulous DJ by night, just dropped Yay Game, a 40-song mix spanning the career of E-40 in honor of the rapper's three Block Brochure albums coming out on March 27.
The trip through two decades of the Yay Area Ambassador's music reveals a wide variety of rhyming patterns and a penchant for deep storytelling. As 40 famously says on 2002's “Automatic,” he's had to “slow down his spit so you squares can understand it” — and many of the earlier cuts contain dizzying tongue-twisters and ear tornadoes.
“I think because a lot of his recent hits are very club-oriented and hedonistic, people overlook how much wisdom he imparts in his rhymes,” says Africa. “Even when he's rapping about partying or acting bad, there's always an undercurrent of observation, wit and common sense. I mean, I wouldn't recommend anyone getting their life lessons solely from rap music, but you could do a lot worse than lines like, “If you gon' be a fool, be a fool, shit/ Just know when to act a fool and who to act a fool with,” or, “Don't buy an $85,000 car before you buy a house,” or “I ain't gonna kill nothing and I ain't gonna let nothing die.”