E-40, Too Short & K-Ci Sprinkled Game In 1996 That Holds True In 2016 (Video)

In 1996, E-40’s movement was going strong. 40 Water had successfully launched The Click, established his Sick Wid It Records imprint, and had carved out a respectable solo career. In the year before his third album, the Vallejo, California MC made high-profile appearances on platinum albums by Tupac and Coolio. The regional star was further breaking into the elite echelons of the mainstream—and he refused to change.

Third LP Tha Hall Of Game was E-40 pivoting from the corner to the mansion, the perfect transition to match his own sales and profile boost. Earl Stevens’ first Top 5 chart appearance still included appearances by his Click family, ‘Pac, and even veterans such as Kokane, Above The Law’s Cold 187um, and Spice 1.

First single’s B-side was a critical vehicle for Tha Hall. “Things’ll Never Change” would be an insightful precursor to the posthumously-released Tupac song two years later. However, the street Bruce Hornsby homage would ultimately yield to a merging of the Bay area giants. On “Rapper’s Ball,” 40 teamed with Too Short, a fellow 1980s Hip-Hop alum—and the pioneer to the North California movement. Joined by Jodeci’s K-Ci Hailey, the two lead MCs rapped as they had since the beginning—big on slang, pimp talk, and clowning wanna-be rappers for their spending, posturing, and trying too damn hard. With Ant Banks on the beat, the standout moment would be a precursor to T.W.D.Y. (The Whole Damn Yay) years before.

Approaching a really difficult 10 years for Bay area Hip-Hop, 40 Fonz’ and Short Dawg were balling. The pair would sustain the hardships ahead, and work even closer together in 2010s, with a proven chemistry, despite different styles.

Related: E-40 Makes A Clever Yet Simple G-Code Anthem, Assisted By The Whole Industry (Video)