With roughly 20 years in the game, E-40’s released over a dozen albums and EPs and had several hit singles.
We recently asked 40-Water to share some memories about a few of the classic songs he’s recorded over the years. Here’s what he had to say:
E-40 “CAPTAIN SAVE A HOE” (1994)
It was a saying around the Bay Area, around ’92-’93 — “That’s captain’ save a ho!” So I just said “We’re gonna make a song called ‘Captain Save A Ho.’ We were at (producer) Studio Tone’s studio, me and the whole Sic-Wid-It camp, and I was like “Man, Tone, come with a heavy a** bassline!” Studio Tone came up with that bassline. Then we were listening to Frankie Smith’s “Double Dutch Bus” and it had that pig latin “izza, kizza…” so my sister Suga T just went into it, that whole “I wanna be saved” bit. We all just took a part in it. I said to Suga “You gonna talk about this from a female perspective, and I’ma talk about it from a male point of view.” And the s**t became a smash. We didn’t even design it to be like that. That’s what I loved about back in the day. We wasn’t just going in and saying “We’re gonna make a radio record!” This became a radio record after it was already big on the streets!
E-40 feat. Suga T “SPRINKLE ME” (1995)
Suga T’s boyfriend always say “I like to sprinkle the kids, man” if you know what I mean. (Laughs) So we were in the studio one day and Mike Mosely, the producer of the track, started humming out this little melody. We would call ourselves “Timers,” so I just started singing “Timer Timer” with that melody. Then the “40 water” just came out. It all came together. We just started gassing! I said “I’m just gonna go crazy with the rap style.” Then Suga came in with some cold s**t with her distinctive voice and we just ate ’em up!
E-40 feat. Mac Mall, Spice 1 and 2Pac “DUSTED & DISGUSTED (1995)
Yes sir! Mike Mosely had laid this beat down and brought over it to me. He said “You’re probably gonna be scared of this beat!” I said “I like a challenge!” So for a couple of days I marinated on it. We ended up going to LA and we went to the studio, me, 2Pac, and my cousin Mac Mall, Mike Mosely, Spice 1, and a few others. We ended up coming with that song. You know one of the things we used to say was instead of “that dude got bodied,” was “that dude got dusted last night!” You know what I’m sayin? “He got dusted and disgusted!”
Suga T and Leviti did the hook when I got back to the Bay. But Pac was with me in the studio. He sat down and said “This s**t bumpin! Give me a pen and paper!” He drank his Henny. We’re in there perkin. Pac rolled up his blunt like he did every five minutes. (laughs) You know how some people chain smoke cigarettes every five minutes? That’s how Pac was with weed, but he’d still be focused! Pac wrote his lyrics in 20 minutes. He wrote it so quick and killed it. That’s one of my classics! We had a good time.
The Click “HURRICANE” (1995)
Me and my cousin B-Legit went to Grambling State University in the fall of ’86 or ’87, and there was this place called The Village. In The Village you could go get your haircut, hamburger spots, liquor stores… In one of the liquor stores they used to serve these slush type drinks called Hurricanes, and since they were in styrofoam cups, we’d take them to class and be perkin’ off Hurricanes! So I f****d with that for a minute, but I didn’t know how to make them on my own.
I was in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and there was this big nightclub, I think it was called PJ’s, one of the biggest night clubs of all time. After the night was over, I told the bartender that we were just hanging out for a minute and that we needed something that’s gonna get us “there.” We were drinking gin and juice all week, and we maxed out on them and we couldn’t get drunk anymore! So the bartender was just like “I got somethin for ya!” (laughs) Dude! She just said “Hold steady” and she whipped somethin up for us. We drunk that s**t and we was drunk within five minutes! We were like “WHAT IS THAT?!!??!” She said, “We call those hurricanes!” I said “WHAT!??!!!” I’d only had it in slushy form, but this time it was in liquid fashion. I said “If you don’t give me the recipe to that…” (laughs) So she gave me the recipe, and ever since then whenever we make music, we’ll go empty a big ass jug of water and put all the ingredients in that m**********r and we’ll go in the studio and make music.
One day we just decided that we needed to do a song called “Hurricane.” Studio Tone came with the bassline, y’know. I put my little part in there, and the whole time I got this certain sound I’m hearing going somethin like “I’m so toooooooore” (sings). Studio Tone was real stubborn and he didn’t wanna f**k with it, but I’d done it so much that it was subliminally in his head. I convinced him to put it in there, ya smell me? That was a big part of the song! Everyone was like “Yeah! That s**t go right there!” Suga T got on the hook and I wrote the lyrics and we made another one of those ones. The album it was on went ahead to sell over 700,000 records. Well past gold!
E-40 feat. Keak Da Sneak “TELL ME WHEN TO GO” (2006)
Now that’s some crazy s**t how that unfolded. I’m out in Atlanta at Stankonia studios with Lil Jon. He had this little program where he’d go in and say “Tomorrow, we’re working on all songs for females. We’ll just make them – hooks, beats and concepts, and fill in the blanks later.” Then he’d say “Thursday we’re working on all up-tempo beats. Friday, we gonna rest. Saturday, we’ll go to breakfast, come to the studio and just make some hard-headed ride-on-a-n***a s**t!” (Laughs)
So on the day we made the uptempo beats, we made the song “Muscle Cars” first. I had the title, then he came with the beat. I heard it and said ” Man, I wanna put Keak Da Sneak on this.” So we called around trying to find Keak. Turned out he was in Atlanta too. I got his a** down to the studio. We partied, drank, then recorded “Muscle Cars.”
Lil Jon was in the mode. He comes with a cold a** drum pattern. (imitates beat) So Dame Fame and Keak, they’re in the hallway and are like “What’s that?” and they just started singing it! “Tell me when to go! Tell me when to go!” Then I just came in and followed them. So Lil Jon’s f*****g around with some samples and he finds “Dumb Girls” by Run DMC so he just puts that “Dumb… dumb… dumb… dumb…” I said “This s**t done came together!”
We laid out the lyrics, and the third verse, no one knows this, we put my cousin Turf Talk on the third verse, but he killed that s**t! But the only thing is, Jon said “We need something else. We gotta take Turf off this and keep him on “Muscle Cars” because this needs a chant, like what Usher did on “Yeah.” I want y’all to talk about everything that y’all do out in the Bay, everything that’s part of the movement y’all got going on.” And I did it! And it became a m***********g smash!
The Lonely Island feat. E-40 “SANTANA DVX” (2008)
(Laughs!) The Saturday Night Live boys! They weren’t in the studio with us when we did it, but they let me know the kind of stuff they wanted me to say, all of it. I just went in and did it. They’re some funny dudes. Very talented. It came out very cool, and it was a lot of exposure for me. That’s one of the things I love about being E-40. I can do anything, dude. I can be Carlos Santana! The song was about an imaginary brand of champagne Carlos Santana came out with. I just stayed on the subject and it came out nice.
E-40 & Too $hort “B***H” (2010)
The song “B***h” was originally made by a young producer by the name of VP. VP made the beat and the whole concept based on Too $hort. He wanted it to go to Too $hort. Then he couldn’t find $hort for awhile. He eventually found $hort and they did the song. The song had been around on a mixtape for awhile, but it didn’t really go far. $hort ended up getting it again and saying “40, I want you on this.” I never knew all this. I just knew the s**t was raw. It was only right that we do it, cuz we the two m***********s that say “B***h!” on a record! So I got on the record. I gotta shout out the Trunk Boyz cuz even though the song was designed for $hort but they put it out on a mixtape first. The response has been tremendous. It’s another one of them ones!