NEW YORK — Call it hyphy on the Hudson.
"We in New York showing New York how the Bay Area does it," Lil Jon proclaimed recently at the legendary Electric Lady Studios, where he was hosting a listening party for his label BME's latest signing, E-40.
"We just acting a rectum!" corrected 40, using his own unique slang and getting hyphy with some friends from "Cali-fool-ya." If the late Mac Dre, also a Bay Area rap icon, had been there, even he couldn't have mustered up a "thizz face" (think 3rd Base's gas face) — not with all the soul food, hot new hip-hop and the bevy of strippers provided by Lil Jon.
"They have this thing in the Bay called the hyphy movement, and we're bringing 40's album to New York since this is the capital of press, of rap, of television, of everything," explained Jon (see "Hyphy: Crunk, Northern California-Style"). "Everything starts from New York. If it don't break in New York, then it won't be worldwide."
The King of Crunk produced E-40's current smash, the hyphy anthem "Tell Me When to Go," and E-40 said people shouldn't be surprised — after all, crunk and hyphy are cousins.
"My boy Too Short and Jon are [very close]," said E-40. "We stayed in contact. I been in a few of [Jon's] videos. We did one of the coldest songs about the South, 'Rep Yo City,' on my Grit and Grind album. Then we did 'Anybody Can Get It' [on my next album.]"
"When we did 'Rep Yo City,' we saw the label 40 was on wasn't marketing and promoting him correctly," Jon interjected. "We just stayed in contact when he got off the label. He said, 'Let's do something.' I said, 'OK.' "
"This dude just don't do crunk music, he does it all," 40 said. "He does R&B, he gets on the hip-hop backpack. He know how to do it all. The boy is dummy. All the blaps he did for me. He did it right in front of my tall can face."
"That means I did all the beats while he was sitting right there," a smiling Jon translated. "That's another thing you gotta learn, when you pick up 40's My Ghetto Report Card album, get your notepad, 'cause you gonna learn a lot of lingo."
E-40 said the title of his upcoming release refers to the fact that he never "did nothing foul in the game." 40 said his credentials are "straight A's across the board."
Mike Jones, UGK, Too Short and T-Pain are among his guests on the project, due March 14.
Now that 40's LP is done, Lil Jon can start working more heavily on his own upcoming LP, Crunk Rock — especially since Jon and TVT Records have resolved their financial strife. Earlier this year, he said he would never record for them again.
"Me and TVT was going through our thing and I hadn't been on no records," Jon said, explaining how Crunk Rock's first single, "Snap Ya Fingers," came about. 40 and the Young Bloodz's Sean Paul also appear on the track. "We was working on 40's record when I came up with the hook almost instantly. I just put [the song] out in the streets, 'cause they hadn't heard me in awhile. The record took off almost immediately. Just off the Internet, the record was at 1,000 spins. That helped us close the deal [with TVT] because the record got so hot. It showed me my fans want to hear some more of me.
"[The song] is basically talking about what's going on in the clubs of the A," Jon added. "Everybody snappin', rockin', taking it easy, having a good time."
Jon isn't revealing the lineup for his album just yet, but he said plenty of industry friends will be present and to expect a classic. Crunk Rock doesn't have a release date set yet.
You'll see a lot more of E-40 and the Bay Area hip-hop scene on "My Block: The Bay," airing Sunday at 2 p.m. and Monday at 5 p.m. on MTV2, and Thursday, March 16 at 11 p.m. on MTV.