E-40

The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil, Pt. 2

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Much in the same way he released his 11th and 12th albums in 2010, and his 13th and 14th albums in 2011, E-40's 15th, 16th, and 17th albums were all released on the same day. That may look prolific, but The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil 1, 2, or 3 -- or the three-CD set that boxes them all -- is proof that almost every E-40 mixtape you've seen is a bootleg and that in 2011, "getting paid" is at the top of the rapper's list. The second volume, like the first, seems to start mid-mixtape as the off-kilter "I'm Laced" ignores the massiveness of the project. It just doesn't feel big enough as an opener, but the glorious backseat number, "Tryna Get It" with Twista and T-Pain does, and two numbers later, it's like the old-school returned with a full clip as Spice 1 and Celly Cel join for the superior gangster number "The Other Day Ago." Minimal bass and scrappy attitude turn "Function" into a five-star pusher anthem, while "Zombie" finds Tech N9ne's love of monsters and E-40's endless bag of slang-filled punch lines combining for that special brand of horror hyphy that was explored on 2011's great Revenue Retrievin': Graveyard Shift. Speaking of which, when compared to the Revenue Retrievin' onslaught, which was sorted into thematic sets (Day, Night, etc.), these unwieldy Block Brochures come off as a hyphy data dump, leaving all executive production up to the listener.

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