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E-40 at Velvet Jones

The Bay Area Rapper Delivered Two Shows on Thursday Night

San Francisco rapper E-40 (left) played two packed, back-to-back shows at Velvet Jones last Thursday night.
Jen Woo

Cool hip-hop lyrics and adrenaline-pumping beats filtered through Velvet Jones on Thursday night, triggering an indomitable “hyphy” dance-off among the crowd that had to be controlled by security a number of times. San Francisco rapper E-40 brought lyrical fire to the stage with his fresh, graphic verses about drugs, cars, money, and life. Known for coining new slang dialect and the fluid, bass-thumping music that’s now analogous with the Bay Area, E-40’s innovations are one of the hip-hop industry’s most steadfast success stories. Performing an array of old school songs, as well as new tracks off his albums Revenue Retrievin’, Day Shift, and the yet-to-be-released Night Shift, E-40 created an almost uncontrollable mania as only he could.

Though Thursday’s first of two performances, an early, 18+ show, did not present a very memorable lineup, the later 21+ gig was plenty promising, thanks to a lot of talented opening acts. Giving a particularly impressive performance was Black Resume, a group of four young breakout rappers from San Diego. The group seized the crowd with a relentlessly powerful delivery, showcasing a variety of club-worthy bangers. Offering an intensely passionate, raw, and imaginative flavor to the rap game, Black Resume is bringing back that explicit, organic fervor that mainstream music has begun to lose sight of. The group exhibits a strong lyrical style and catchy hip-hop beats with a hint of punk flair that offers an original, yet ridiculously catchy finesse that is bound to draw large-scale interest.

When E-40 took the stage, the deafening roar of the crowd could no doubt be heard from the street. Calling on fans for participation and reaching out to touch admirers’ hands, the rapper was able to create a sense of intimacy in the club that drove fans wild. With a smooth, casual swagger, he gave a fierce performance of the time-honored “Da Bumble” and mainstream hits, including “Muscle Cars,” “Sliding Down the Pole,” and “Tell Me When to Go.” Listeners got a taste of his upcoming album with “Bitch Feat,” which offered an enticing look into what I’m sure will be another hugely successful album.

A lyrical stylist, E-40 has revolutionized the rap game and proven his aptitude through versatility. His fusion of O.G. Style with conventional, current trends has created a resolute, irreplaceable edge that is no doubt paving the way for future hip-hop generations.

By the end of the show, the audience was in a state of hysteria, screaming and scrambling to get closer and on stage, some even disregarding security and jumping into the limelight to steal a quick dance with E. To say that Santa Barbarans are dying to have 40 Water back for another show would be a definite understatement.

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