We've spent hours on hours and years on years enjoying the groundbreaking and speaker busting creative output from one of rap's largest musical bloodlines. Apart from his own music, Earl Stevens aka E-40 has brought to the world the sounds of his siblings, The Click members D-Shot and Suga-T, cousins B-Legit and Turf Talk, and more recently we've been blessed with the genius of his eldest son, producer-auteur and rapper Droop-E.
For just over a year though, 40's youngest son ISSUE has humbly, inconspicuously stepped on the scene, never for once using his heritage as a hall pass and never sounding remotely like any of his blood relatives, or any other rapper on the planet for that matter. He released his latest project Moonroof only last week and we've been listening to nothing else since. Read our review here and enjoy this conversation we had with the future of rap on Saturday night.
How old are you? And are you in school?
17 now. Yeah, Junior.
Both your father and older brother are well respected artists, when did you first start making music and do you feel any pressure coming from such a legendary bloodline?
At first I started making beats at age 11, music is really amazing to me and it made me want to make songs for me. I wanted to do something that I like to do and really love keeping the legacy alive. As for the pressure.. 0 pressure, at first I wanted to come to the game with a unknown aura, something that no one has never heard of. But as my twitter got bigger and my name got bigger people started to say "issue is E-40 son and Droop-E younger brother" I mean as long as it starting buzz I like it. I wanted to be different and that's what I'm doing.
Your rapping and production styles are so different to both E-40 and Droop-E's – do you make a conscious effort to differentiate yourself from them?
Honestly, I made my voice lazy on purpose. When I started spearding my music on MySpace and Facebook people thought I sucked and not good at all. I did all of this on purpose, to make my name really mean what it says. People didnt understand what I was doing but I knew exactly what I was doing. Oh yeah for all the people that did hate on me and what not, believe me I will remember you.
Your beats are diverse and highly experimental – I get the impression you listen to a lot of other genres outside of hip-hop right?
I listen to everything. Electronic, Trip-Hop, Rock, Classic Rock, Dub Step.
To be different in music you have to listen to different music. Aphex Twin, Daft Punk, Justice, Pink Floyd and Lil B is mostly what I listen to. I've been listening to Kendrick Lamar and Yelawolf recently, because they are different from the other rappers.
Aside from the production, your style of rapping is really interesting. You don't sound like anyone else out there. It's almost as if you're taking a left turn any time you feel the listener might be expecting where you're going to take the verse next. Do you purposely keep it abstract like that or do you just rap how it comes naturally?
It's real nature, I get a cup of tea and let go through my brain and then it just comes out on the mic. I don't try to be the hardest rapper out there, I just want to be different. Yeah I talk about cars, money, and girls but I do change one thing. I talk about tea instead of drugs.
Anyone who follows you on Twitter knows how much you love tea, especially Arizona Iced Tea. How long have you had this obsession and what are your favourite kinds of tea?
Oh man I LOVE tea, I've been sipping tea since I was little kid. At first tea bag was gross to me when I was a child. Brisk tea was so good to me because I've never had tea that good to me before. I discovered AriZona Iced Tea when I was around 14, I was on it heavy. Im probably the most dedicated AriZona fan. True story: I went to the dentist one day, 2 hours later the doctor told me I had 7 Cavities. He asked "have you been drinking soda or something?" I said "it's the tea brother"
I started to drink tea bag tea because it's the most healthy one, it's the original way of making tea. It's liquid wisdom. As for my favorite flavors..uh probably between Arnold Palmer Pink Lemonade and Sweet Tea
Another obsession of yours seems to be cars – you're particularly enamoured with Mopar, the parts and services arm of Chrysler. What is it about Mopar and cars in general that you're so passionate about.
I LOVE cars lol, I have a Dodge Challenger and a Dodge Viper, I love them because to me, it's better then Ford cars and GM, (but I love GM more than ford) Ford is really overrated. I did like them back in the day but now they suck bull balls. I love Ferrari and Lamborghini because it's showing, sporty, and expensive..don't forget fast. They look amazing like a Italian model.
I can't tell you why I love cars, maybe it started when I was child playing those racing games like Need for speed: Hot Pursuit 2. Lol I have no clue brother.
Do you favour American or foreign?
American cars are like McDonalds and Foreign cars are like a really expensive steak house. Don't get me wrong I love American cars but our economy sucks right now so that's why they can't put that much luxury in the cars. So answer the question. American Cars < Foreign Cars.
Let's talk about Moonroof, your latest mixtape and perhaps your most cohesive work to date. When you listen to it, it really truly feels like your cruising at a low speed down a highway late a night. How did you manage to give it that feel?
Man that's how I pictured it too! I wanted to have a theme like that so people in any car could have that feeling. I wanted people to see I could get really creative without doing drugs. To me I think it's better than the whole "E series" because how much work I putted into it, thank you brother! I really appreciate it!
Thank you for your time, is there anything else you'd like to add or people you'd like to shout out?
It's my pleasure brother, honored to have a interview with you anytime. Shout out to the brothers @K_Finny121 @PMcKee_ @andrewmatson @giorgio_momurda @Schwarz420 and @witchgardens
You can download the three installments in ISSUE's 'E' mixtape series right here. And make sure you grab his latest Moonroof mixtape. You can also read ISSUE's digital book 'The Music Revolution' here.