The Mail Man

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Originally issued on the indie Sick Wid It label, E-40's The Mail Man EP was blown up into a near-album when the Jive label picked it up, added two tracks to it, and began introducing the West Coast slang king to hip-hop fans outside the Bay Area. The timing was right, too, because here the witty and hard rapper is coming into his own and nailing down the quick style that would make him a legend. He sounds ready to rise above of the bargain beats that producer Studio Ton was able to afford at the time, but the loose and homegrown feel of the EP has a streetwise charm that wouldn't be heard again once Jive began footing the bill. "Neva Broke" and "Bring the Yellow Tape" make for a killer, lowdown opening ten minutes and the great singles "Captain Save a Hoe" and the title track are both Bay classics, although the Jive bonus remix of "Captain" sounds unfortunately thinner. The other bonus cut, "Ballin' Out of Control," is much better with hand-clapping funk, spacy electro, and E-40's quirky style all coming together in perfect harmony.

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