Last-Minute Gift Ideas From Bay Area Rappers: Boots Riley's Screenplay and E-40's Sluricane

One of the best things about the Bay Area's rich history in hip-hop is the vast spectrum of styles it encompasses — and there's no more timely illustration of that breadth than two brand-new non-musical items released this month by two veterans of the East Bay scene: The Coup's Boots Riley, whose anti-capitalist stances and revolution-centric lyrics have made his politics known far beyond his native Oakland, and E-40, the Vallejo-born rap godfather who presided over the hyphy movement's ascent to the mainstream in the mid-2000s.

[jump] Boots Riley's screenplay, Sorry To Bother You, has been in the works for much longer than the Coup's 2012 album by the same name — he was telling us about it, and a potential movie in the works, back in 2011.

For now, though, the screenplay has been published in book format as part of McSweeneys Quarterly Issue #48, which is available both online (currently on sale for $19) and in local bookstores like City Lights. Riley describes it as “a surreal dark comedy with magical realism and science fiction, inspired by my time as a telemarketer.” And knowing his music, you can expect a dose of social commentary tucked carefully into the wordplay. 

On the other end of the spectrum: E-40, a longtime entrepreneur, is no stranger to the beverage industry. In 2007, he released a “health drink” called 40 Water that, according to many, tasted like either plastic or Otter Pops or some combination thereof. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he's had a little more luck with alcohol — his wines, under the name Earl Stevens Selections, have received some decent reviews from professionals.

But Sluricane, out this month, is on another level altogether. A “premixed rum cocktail drink with natural flavor” that clocks in at 18 percent ABV, E-40 says it's his take on the classic New Orleans rum drink called the Hurricane (which is also, of course, an E-40 and the Click song from 1995). It's now available at BevMo, on whose website the lone user review gives a nod to that track's lyrics in observing that the drink is “enough to start the engine man! A+++. ”

We haven't tried it yet — but at $21.99 for a fifth of something that looks exactly like Robitussin, we believe you, Sanja V. from Stockton.

So which will it be? The great thing, friends, is that you never have to choose. Know a budding revolutionary? How about a budding alcoholic? (Kidding. Kinda.) Regardless, showing up to a holiday party with a book in one hand and a bottle in the other is never a bad idea.

And hey, if you're going it alone this Christmas, you could do a lot worse — light a fire, curl up at home, and sip your premixed rum cocktail beverage with natural flavor while gaining some class consciousness through theater. You'll be doing the Bay Area proud. 

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