The Ball Street Journal

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Arriving a year later than expected, E-40's 2008 effort has more than enough highlights, but the track list is hopelessly stuffed and scrambled, like someone just turned over the vault and let the two previous years of recordings fall where they may. Oddly enough, The Ball Street Journal begins just like 2006's My Ghetto Report Card, with a Digable Planets sample and a brag track that rightfully declares E-40 the Bay Area's ambassador. Two cuts later and the previous album's "Tell Me When to Go" gets quoted on "Break Ya Ankles," with guest Shawty Low and a production so obviously Lil Jon his name needn't have appeared in the credits. The love of dancehall returns on the particularly good "Hustle" with Turf Talk and R. City, but much less welcome is the resurrection of the "drip" noise which gets looped on "40 Water," making it more like water torture. As far as new ideas, the kooky bassline on "Got Rich Twice" from Droop-E drives both E-40 and Turf Talk to get loose and wild on one of the album's more inspired performances, and "The Recipe" wins thanks to the silly cooking show samples that are bizarrely twisted into instructions for preparing crack cocaine. With so much left to go and a running order that's no help, this is a so-so step back in total, one better left for the Bay Area fanatic and E-40 faithful.

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