24 Songs, 1 Hour 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The late ‘90s marked the pinnacle of the hip-hop double album, but few of those albums had the stunning consistency shown by The Element of Surprise. These 24 songs opened a new era in E-40’s career. While a handful of tracks were contributed by longtime collaborators Ant Banks and Studio Ton, E-40 gives most of Element of Surprise to two up-and-coming Bay producers: Rick Rock and Bosko. Bosko breathes new life into 40’s mob music with several monstrous tracks, including “All Tha Time,” “Money Scheme,” “Doin’ Dirt Bad” and the backwards-running “Jump My Bone.” In the years to come Rick Rock would become 40’s most important collaborator, and together they would formulate the hyphy movement. Rock’s specialty is illuminating heavy tracks with flashes of old-school electro. His productions here push E-40 into even more inventive rhyme schemes, as evidenced by the title track, “Mayhem” and “$999,999 + $1 = a Mealticket.” Even as E-40 breaks new ground, there is something definitive and timeless about The Element of Surprise.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The late ‘90s marked the pinnacle of the hip-hop double album, but few of those albums had the stunning consistency shown by The Element of Surprise. These 24 songs opened a new era in E-40’s career. While a handful of tracks were contributed by longtime collaborators Ant Banks and Studio Ton, E-40 gives most of Element of Surprise to two up-and-coming Bay producers: Rick Rock and Bosko. Bosko breathes new life into 40’s mob music with several monstrous tracks, including “All Tha Time,” “Money Scheme,” “Doin’ Dirt Bad” and the backwards-running “Jump My Bone.” In the years to come Rick Rock would become 40’s most important collaborator, and together they would formulate the hyphy movement. Rock’s specialty is illuminating heavy tracks with flashes of old-school electro. His productions here push E-40 into even more inventive rhyme schemes, as evidenced by the title track, “Mayhem” and “$999,999 + $1 = a Mealticket.” Even as E-40 breaks new ground, there is something definitive and timeless about The Element of Surprise.

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