This weekend, E-40 returns to The Observatory to rock with Andre Nickatina. One of the longest tenured and consistent MCs in the game, 40 Water’s been turning out original envelope-pushing and endlessly influential hip-hop for almost a quarter-century. Part of that longevity comes for 40’s willingness to collaborate with so many different names from all over the hip-hop map. While his style’s never been for everybody, he’s hustled more than enough to make sure everyone who can get him does get him. That’s why, in anticipation of this weekend’s show, we’ve decided to sprinkle you with a look back at some of this collaborations you possibly didn’t know existed.
Here are 6 E-40 Collaborations You May Not Know Happened.
E-40 – “Practice Lookin’ Hard” 1993
While longtime 40 fans probably know about his landmark first solo single “Practice Lookin’ Hard,” the source of the sample on the hook may come as a surprise. “I got a mirror in my pocket and I practice lookin’ hard” is a sample of rapper Boots Riley of The Coup from their song “Not Yet Free.” The video also features 40, Boots and 2Pac all chilling together, which 20+ years later is absolutely surreal to see.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard – “Shimmy Shimmy Ya (Bay Area Remix)” 1996
“Shimmy Shimmy Ya” is one of the most memorable rap singles of its era, and like all mid-’90s giant rap hits, it warranted a massive posse cut remix. Somewhat overshadowed by Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It” Remix with Bay Area All Stars from the same era, the “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” remix absolutely slaps, and shows the creativity explosion of 40 and ODB (who have the same birthday) on the same track. Plus, the video’s very 90s overuse of blue screen layering needs to make a comeback.
UGK Featuring B-Legit and E-40 – “The Corruptor’s Execution”
While the soundtrack to the 1999 film The Corruptor is most known for the New York City-wide posse cut “5 Boroughs,” the other collaborations on the album are some pretty great gems. With E-40 and UGK both signed to Jive, it was only a matter of time before they wound up on the same track, and the smooth country rap tune that is “The Corruptor’s Execution” lives up to all expectations. Hearing Bun-B go aggressively in a more E-40ish style shows how these titans of the underground bring out the best in each other.
Limp Bizkit featuring E-40 and 8Ball – “Take A Look Around (Timbaland Remix)” 2001
As the height of Limp Bizkit-fever neared its inevitable descent at the start of the century, an album of remixes named New Old Songs was put out near the end of 2001. A star-studded list of producers and MCs retooled the group’s bigger hits, with a particularly surprising line-up given to the group’s Mission Impossible 2 theme “Take A Look Around.” It features Bay Area legend E-40 joined by Memphis legend 8Ball over a Timbaland beat. It’s amazing this record exists.
Murs featuring E-40, Chingo Bling and John Cena – “H-U-S-T-L-E” Remix 2004
It seems there’s certain years where, if you did a remix, you by law were required to have E-40 on it. 2004 was one of those years. Shortly after appearing on Lyrics Born’s “Callin’ Out” remix, 40 popped up on the remix of the 9th Wonder produced Murs track “H-U-S-T-L-E” along with then-Houston lightning rod Chingo Bling and WWE superstar John Cena. One of the most unique line-ups that emphasizes whichever hip-hop scene you’re from, the hustle unites us.
The Lonely Island featuring E-40 – “Santana DVX” 2009
In another moment of E-40 bringing a surprising number of worlds together, comes his collaboration with hip-hop jokesters The Lonely Island. “Santana DVX” features 40 rapping from the perspective of Carlos Santana upon the release of his own brand of champagne. This was still a few years before 40 released his own line of adult beverages, but correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation. However, collaborations can be linked to causing songs to be fantastic as “Santana DVX” also benefits from being produced by underground hero J-Zone and instrumental innovator Hot Sugar on guitar.