"The Ball Street Journal" is the tenth album from the Vallejo, California rapper E-40. The rapper has been in the game for years, and managed to stay relavent for over 20 years by adapting to the changes in trends which the bay Area of Cali has seen. Most recently, he became amongst the fist to get the House-inspired Hyphy sound into the mainstream, and he continues to do this here, for this 2008 album.
1. "The Ambassador"
To get things going, E-$0 enforces his position at the top of the Bay Area world by labelling himself as "The Ambassador" to it all, he isn't likely to feel the force of any rebellion from saying this, due to his high status amongst all of the those who he represents, so he is able to just flow about how much people look up to him in the West Coast game.
2. "I'm On One"
In a similar way to how "Yay Area", from the 2006 album "My Ghetto Report Card" had a sample of Digable Planets, this one does too, and in this case it has Rick Rock use "9th Wonder" as the basis to the tune. It fits in perfectly with the production which is given as the ad-libs flow to match with exactly how the thizz cut was going.
3. "Break Ya Ankles" (feat. Shawty Lo)
I saw the production to this to be a stripped down version of Lil' Jon's "Snap ya Finagz", froma a couple of years back. It featured E-40 on the remix, and so this one basically has him use the Snap Music beats, with one of the originators of the sub-genre, D4L's Shawty Lo as they come with a club banger for the listeners to dance to.
4. "Got Rich Twice" (feat. Turf Talk)
This one is all about the production. Droop-E did a fantastic job in composing this original work, which perfectly matches what is expected of the Bay Area. he raps aren't really that noticeable here, but I don't think it matters too much where the beats are so hot.
5. "Pain No More" (feat. The Game and Snoop Dogg)
J.R. Rotem take over here, and he seems to be the only person for the job as E returns to his roots in Gangsta Rap b collaborating with the biggest Gs out West, Snoop Dogg and The Game. They rap about the jorurney which their lives have taken, but Snoop seems to go a little off-topic at times (who can test him).
6. "Tell It Like It Is"
'40 reinforces the role which he stating in the opening track for this one, and with thiss superior role over all that came after him, he does what ius sai in the title and basically rips into all of those who he doesn't like. With such a rep, nobody will be able to say any different. However I didn't agree with the words which he had to say concerning "Ringtone rappers", since he collaborated on many occasions with Altanata Snap Music acts who blew up, and in one particular case, the supposed "ringtone rappers, V.I.C. got him on the remix to "Get Silly", and Bun B acted in support of this movement, so its quite two-faced of him to say this.
7. "Give Her the Keys" (feat. T-Pain)
Teddy Pain gets on the production and uses it as a gateway to get his own voice on the cut to feature as a collaboration in a vocal role. I thought it was a strong one for what it does as the pair rap about finally finding a girl who they feel close enough to settle down with and share their wealth with by offering up the keys to a brand new car for them. You don't get many like this, but it worked well here.
8. "Hustle" (feat. Turf Talk and R. City)
R. City, recently found on Ace Hood's debut album ("Gutta"), comes to work with E-40 on this one, and he also gets the hlp of obvious name, Turf talk, as they work on beats whihc grab the attention of a more mainstream crowd, as well as retaining the Hyphy scene too.
9. "Wake It Up" (feat. Akon)
Akon joins '40 here, and together they cme up with a very general Rap/R&B collaboratory track for 2008. However I believe that it went quite well as E-40's raps kept it real, and didn't let it get too Pop (as Akon often forces this change).
10. "40 Water"
Here you have a typical example of the experimental nature of Hyphy Rap. Here the beat is based around a dripping water sound effect, and pounding bass, and it makes the perfect setting for a track which deals with his "40 Water".
11. "Poor Man's Hydraulics"
This is your typical bay Are cut where he takes it to the streets and does one which all the listeners (who happen to be locals) can relate to as they talk of how some will fake having hydraulics on their vehicles. The bassy production is what is expected from the rapper, and others who rep the north of California.
12. "The Recipe" (feat. Bun B and Gucci Mane)
It's rather irresponsible for him to do it, but regardless of what you may think of it, you get the biggest OG's in the game, Bun B and Gucci mane joining '40 as he raps out a step-by-step recipe to cook up crack cocaine. Aside from the ethical issues which it faces, this is a hot joint, and one which shows off Poli Paul's skills at making beats.
13. "Hood Boy"
E-40 hypes himself up on some very typical beats from Raw Smoov, however I wouldn't say that it is a bad thing as the production has been seen to dominate the urban music scene in 2008. It is a strong one, and improves over time.
14. "Earl" (feat. Ice T)
E uses his real name, Earl, to come up with an entire track. It is amazing how he manages to find a tune within his real name, but he gets so much out of what most would see as rather limited for potential in a rap tune. The banging beats from Lil' Jon orce you to enjoy the time spent listening to this track.
15. "Sliding Down the Pole" (feat. Too Short)
This one was just far too predictable for me, when the legendary bay Are duop of E-40 and Too $hort teamed up, it was bound to be a track which is set in a strip club, and to be honest it was just over-played by this point, and didn't offer anything new to listeners. The beats are OK, but nothing worth going out o your way to finding.
16. "I Can Sell It" (feat. Cousin Fik)
Although this one is largely built up upon the most cliched terms which anyone could have come up with, the simplistiy of this one is what makes it so good, and there's no way that I could just sit back when the beats are so lively. 40 likens his great salesman qualities to being good enough to sell things to the bipolar opposites, and I'm sure that you can guess each of the word which he comes out with, but its still nice to hear.
17. "Big Time" (feat. Kevin Cossom)
This one works in a similar way to the lead single, "Wake It Up", as you have him do another collaboration with an R&B act, and the result of it is pretty much the same. I doubt that it would have done as well as a single though as its energy levels are pretty low in comparison.
18. "Alcoholism" (feat. B-Legit)
The Click's B-legit comes to work with E on this one, and together they come up with an Electronica-inspired cut where Rick Rock brings his adlib-driven prodcution which Hyphy revolves around.
19. "Pray for Me" (feat. Bosko, Suga-T and B-Legit)
Altough this track offers variation to the album, I can't really say that I cared too much for this one as Bosko produces and performs soulful vocals on the track. It has '40 slow it down and get emotional to finish it off.
Although this just seems like an updated version of his last album, "My Ghetto Report Card", this is still a decent album from E-40. There's lots in the way of hot Hyphy jams, but I was disappointed by his efforts to reach the mainstream with R&B collabs, which are seen as much in the Pop scene as here.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Ambassador - E-40,
2 I'm on One - E-40,
3 Break Ya Ankles - E-40, , Shawty Lo
4 Got Rich Twice - E-40, , Turf Talk
5 Pain No More - E-40, , Game, Snoop Dogg
6 Tell It Like It Is - E-40,
7 Give Her the Keys - E-40, , T-Pain,
8 Hustle - E-40, , R. City, Turf Talk
9 Wake It Up - Akon, E-40,
10 40 Water - E-40,
11 Poor Man's Hydraulics - E-40,
12 Recipe - Bun B, , E-40, , Gucci Mane
13 Hood Boy - E-40,
14 Earl - E-40, , Ice-T
15 Sliding Down the Pole - E-40, , Too Short
16 I Can Sell It - Cousin Fik, E-40,
17 Big Time - Kevin Cossom, E-40,
18 Alcoholism - B-Legit, , E-40,
19 Pray for Me - B-Legit, , Bosko, E-40, , Suga T,