The Gift Of Gab
The cool uncle of Bay Area rap is in his fifties and still dropping heat. E-40’s 28th—yes, 28th—album is named for his effortless way of inventing elaborate new slang terms. It’s also a testament to his enduring relevance in the rap game without bowing to new trends: The Gift of Gab stays true to the minimalist bounce of Bay hip-hop from the ’80s, even as 40 invites West Coast newcomers like G Perico and Vince Staples into the mix. As always, he drops non sequiturs galore (did you know his favorite soda is Jarritos?), but reality creeps in, too: On Cornel West-sampling closer “When Life Shows Up,” he grapples with mortality after a friend’s funeral.