The Element Of Surprise

The first listen to [B]'The Element Of Surprise'[/B] meets with consternation....

The first listen to 'The Element Of Surprise' meets with consternation. The problem being that E-40 and the English language don't see eye to eye. Everyone knows hip-hop is insular and parochial and there's no reason to think that the rapper is not giving a true picture of life in Vallejo, California, but garbled slang spat out like this can be hard-going.

However, anyone with the perseverance and a good ear will be rewarded with funny, sad tales of drug-dealing, murder threats, sex and all of the ghetto's colourful neighbourhood scenery.

As double LPs go, there's more padding here than a straitjacket, but the one constant is an expansive, burping brand of funk so mired in deep bass sounds and heavy electro beats that it's almost comic. Descriptions of poverty in a new version of The Commodores' 'Zoom' are lent gravitas by the way the track is electronically tampered with, and silly stuff like 'Lieutenant Roast A Botch' is made even more light-hearted by its sprightly backing. But the truth remains that an E-40 dictionary of slang couldn't be more welcome.
5 / 10

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