Way Too In-Depth Song Review-I Had It In A Drought by E-40 featuring Stresmatic produced by ProHoeZak
Art is not a measurement of the works distance from perfection. It is instead an engagement with personality, one built brick by brick by vivid slices of perception. This is one of the reasons everyone has been so torn on E-40 when no debate should be needed. The hip hop community goes nuts for success… well try on perpetual independence, liquors and other entrepreneurial ventures, as well as twenty four studio albums (Platinum and gold plaques along the way). Those narrow minded evaluators who only look at art through perfections sake…still can’t let the numbers validate 40.
Some of this is the pure oddity of his vocals. On his lengthy projects he throws it all over the place, doing voices and bowing up into a choked whine when he needs to. Some still see machismo in the unbending constancy of monotone. To someone raised on the cold NY accent the first listen of E-40 must sound like a rapping Looney Tunes character.
The bigger issue is the notion of careful perfection. 40 just dropped two more albums (The D-Boy Diary) and they are 22 songs each 44 total. It is a big mess of music with lots of guests and different producers. For the peripheral fan always hunting for the “new classic” this is madness. It doesn’t feel carefully curated (although, how would you know?). This is why I wanted to make a long form defense of the Vallejo giant.
What I love about The D-Boy Diary is that it is better than last year’s Sharp On All 4 Corners. The beats are super exciting but get really weird (much more piano than previously) all the while our narrator is never out of his depth. The weirder it gets the harder he plunges into it. On my favorite song, I Had It In A Drought he starts the third verse cursing out rappers for wearing make-up and suggesting they cut off their crotch and as you reel from the shock of such a proposal, he is already weaving another tale about when he first met his wife “I met this gorgeous broad…she was cute…she played the clarinet at the band revue )” and eventually winds the story up with “realest N_ in it thought I told you, Hella years later and I’m still with my girl from high school.” This isn’t a clear story song. It isn’t dizzying or strategic or full of cool name drops of people you know. It’s a soup of lascivious brags and drug talk, societal concerns, and wistful neighborhood recollections. By the end of the song you can’t help but be struck by how utterly loving that piece for his wife is. He doesn’t call her an angel or use contrived sentiment. He brags about his specific loyalty to her just like he does his connect. E-40 observes all 360 degrees of loyalty and it connects.
I don’t celebrate 40 because he was real friends with Pac or the pure impressive longevity. Lots of people are still around who checked out. The D-Boy Diary is a tangible improvement on what he has been building and that is undeniably the goal, continual progression. A lot of people are just mad that their favorite safe rapper stopped challenging himself and their least favorite rapper, the one with the weird voice, just kept getting better. Now he has new dope music and the accepted savior of yester-year is gone.