What’s up, Fonzariggerdale?
The legendary E-40 Fonzarelli will go down in history for three reasons. First, he, along with Too $hort, is one of the first independent rap moguls, scoring a multi-million-dollar major label deal for his Sick-Wid-It imprint way before the No Limits and the Cash Moneys. Second, he’s the originator of that super-fast offbeat flow. Don’t front: You heard him on the “I Got Five On It” remix and you didn’t know what the hell was going on. It’s funny because the only other cats that I can think of who flow like him are some of the Anticon dudes (closet fans, perhaps). Third and most important contribution to hip hop: the lingo. E-40 is the slang master. All that “H-to-the-Izzo, fo’ shizzle my nizzle” stuff wouldn’t be conceivable without him. With almost every rapper borrowing pages from his book of slang, the man with the trademark Kangol and accountant glasses has every right to refer to himself in the third person.
All right, 40, so you got any new words for us?
I go through this every interview: Everybody wants words, right? Well, one of them is like one of the hottest things out right now: “oh boy.” Ask Cam’ron, he’ll tell you. He probably won’t tell the world, but he knows what’s happening. I’m trippin’ because I had a song called “Na Na” that was recorded in 1999, and on that particular song I say “oh boy” like 16 times. It ain’t no big deal, though. Cam did a good job with his track, but it’s no secret that “oh boy” is from right here, you know, E-40-Fonzariggerdale.
Oh, so you’re not Fonzarelli anymore?
Nah, it’s Fonzariggerdale now, pimp soup. E-40-Fonzarigggerdale the ballatician up outta Vallejo Califoolya if you run up they just might do ya.
So let’s start with the obvious: you coined the phrase “fo’ shizzle,” right?
I was the first one who put it out there real tough in 1996 on my song “Rappers Ball.” We were saying “fo’ sheezy,” and “fo’ shizzle.” I told Jay-Z after he used it on his record, I said, “That’s a Bay Area word, man.” That’s from the land where they pop they collars and jack they slacks. Then I took it to “fo’ shiggedy”, to “fo’ shiggadough” and now “fo’ shiggadale,” that’s the newest. You know, it don’t stop. 75% of the words I made up. Even before this rap game my ear’s always been to the street. I’ve been making up slang words since the first grade, you smell me? I stay coming with something to keep the game interesting. I tell ’em the rap game without 40 is like old folks without bingo.
What else did you come up with? Give me words that we might not directly associate with you.
“You feel me” — that’s straight from me. You can put a stamp on that. Do you know how many words came from “you feel me”? Like “I’m not feeling that” or “I’m feeling her.” All that shit was created in 1991-1992. Now I took it to “you smell me.” Also, you know the word “playboy”? I was the first rapper to put that out there as a regular street terminology, such as “What’s up, playboy?” And there’s the word “pimpin,” too, like as in “What’s up, pimpin?” — that’s me. Then we took it to “What’s up, pimp?” What’s up pimp soup? What’s up pimp juice? What’s up pimperoni?” You know, “pimpalufagus?” and “what’s up pimptation?” We just keep it moving. Plus you got that whole “pop ya collar” shit. I’m the first rapper ever popping his collar. When you observe me in my new video, when I’m giving Fabolous the no-fingerprints-backwards-handshake and then I pop my collar, you can see how professional it is and you can tell that it’s not a fluke or a gimmick. It’s not a fad, the way I do it is so original.
So how do you react to everybody appropriating your slang?
It hurts. It don’t hurt when it’s somebody like you that uses it or when it’s normal people, but when rappers use it and don’t pay homage it hurts. I ain’t trying to start no motherfucking rap wars, though. That’s a waste of time. I just charge it to the microphone and let the game deal with it. See I’m rare like a steak but I’m not into beefing. I’d rather shoot that to the left. I’m a grown man now. I’m a boss. I’m a fixture and I’m not a motherfuckin’ donut. I’m in a class by myself like a kid having a detention. My lyrics poke out like nipples.
So it’s all good in the end.
It’s all good, dude. That’s another one of my expressions. I was the first cat that ever put that on wax. I had a song back in 1992 talking about “It’s all good.” Then my partner Theo who used to work for 92.3 The Beat in LA started saying “You know it’s all good” on the radio and everybody took it back to their soils like that was the new Cali word. But that’s a regular word form the Bay Area. I was just the first one who put it out there as a rapper, you smell me? I take full responsibility for that word. After that we started saying “It’s all gravy” and now we got “It’s all gravity.” See the thing is with slang, it depends on who’s saying it. Some people be game-goofy and words don’t sound right coming out of their mouthpiece. But whenever E-40 says something it’s just solidified. It’s like you have the authorization to use that word because it’s going to be a ghetto word to say. Trust me, I’m a have the whole world saying “It’s all gravity.”
E-40 the ballatician’s new album
Grit & Grind
is out now Sick-Wid-It/Jive.