E-40’s got one hell of a family thang going on. Like Nelly and the St. Lunatics, there was no way to keep the charismatic and hella fresh E-40 from not breaking out of his group The Click to be a solo star. The difference that’s key is that while Nelly might consider the St. Lunatics to be family in name, for E-40 the ties to his group are blood thick. D-Shot is his brother, Suga T is his sister, B-Legit is his cousin, and all four grew up in the same household. The foursome actually got their start as a group long before E-40 made it big, but this fact is often overlooked by rap’s more fickle and shortsighted fans. E-40 was never trying to upstage his fam, it’s just that his vocal inflection and verbal creativity couldn’t NOT be noticed. When you listen to Click records though, the dynamic that runs through their songs is hard to match. The group expects a dope contribution from each member, and they all put their pimp down over some fat funk tracks that let their Vallejo roots shine.

Unfortunately for The Click it’s the very success of E-40’s solo career that has prevented them from having a more prodigious output as a group. Nonetheless newcomers who only know their names from guest appearances on 40’s albums would do well to check out “The Best of the Click.” It’s only ten tracks and just over forty-five minutes long, but it’s as good as any other shit you’d hear coming out of the Bay back then or today. Things open up hot with the track “Hurricane,” which may still be their biggest crossover hit. I can’t lie, I didn’t even know what the fuck this drink was when I first heard the track, but I knew I wanted to try it. Once I went down to New Orleans and hit Bourbon Street, I found out just why it was worth writing an ode to. Instead of me telling you about it, why don’t we let The Click do it:

E-40: “I’m so to’! Look like my eyes been stiched together like stitches
Ho hopin around wit these bitches, get ya garbage dumped with crickets
But you know me the life of the party, Slurricane Ethel
Too much of me’ll make ya fight ya folks and Dr. Jekyll
Like the other day I gulped too many swallows
Had them niggaz actin BAD at the club with them hollows
Havin them limp dick problems, tryin to get it up
Well oh well, one cup of me’ll have yo’ shit on steel”

B-Legit: “I wakes up in the mornin and I’m seperated
In the bag wit my homies and I sho’ hate it
Grenadine he be trippin cause they don’t respect him
That nigga rum, man that nigga gets dumb
I can’t wait until they mix me
I’m goin in they mouth, down they throat, into they kidneys
Hurricanes havin motherfuckers seein thangs
Courage juice, watch when I get loose”

Yeah, it’s that good, but if you’re under 21 forget that I said that. That’s just one of many classic tracks you’ll find on “The Best of the Click.” I still think “Scandalous” may be the all-time best use of “Computer Love” in hip-hop history. “Captain Save a Hoe” is absolutely fucking TIGHT, and it’s a song that spawned dozens of imitators and sequels. For the hardcore alkies out there, “Let’s Get Drunk” may be the single best ode to intoxication ever written, with it’s hilarious hook “now drink up, let’s get drunk, and throw-up in the car.” That’s not to say every Click song was about sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. “Tired of Being Stepped On” is one of the best protest songs of all time, played out over a slow methodical beat and accopanies by a soulfully crooned hook. The lyrics and the delivery are both powerful:

D-Shot: “Mack D-Shot, brought up by the middle class
I did time for crime cause I was living fast
I spent two on the lockdown in Preston
To hire me is way out the question
Jail cells for a black man’s punishment
Didn’t give a damn cause the other man’s runnin it
Now I’m back on the streets, I gotta compete so
But you can’t beat no case
When you’re trapped in the system
The government, want you to diss them
Now I’m back on the bed, where I once slept on
I’m tired of being stepped on”

It’s all here, from the underground and unrecognized bomb “Family” duet between E-40 and Suga T, to the synth funk and flex of the classic 1995 song “Wolf Tickets” which even Dr. Dre would have to be envious of. Oh and if you don’t know what “sellin wolf tickets” is, that means an empty threat, something that’s bogus. The Click is quick to bust down frauds on their turf, but just as quick to light it up and have some fun with songs like “Say Dat Den” and “I Mean What it Is.” If you’re not up on The Click, this album gives you no more excuses not to be, and if you’re a fan of E-40 but never heard their tracks you owe it to yourself to see the roots of his family tree. They may not get as much of the limelight as he does, but they’re dope in their own right. The Click is legit.

The Click :: The Best of the Click
8Overall Score