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Burn Movie Review

Sizzlingly Odd
In his debut feature, writer/director Mike Gan has created a small film that, if there's justice, will attain a cult-like status. "Burn" takes place in the course of one evening and entirely within the confines of a rural, out-of-the-way gas station shop.
It's the kind of place that loners might wander into for a hot cup of coffee at 3am. Obviously this is not a big budget film, but Gan squeezes an awful lot of goodness out of it. Maybe we should call it badness.





E-40 - Practice Makes Paper Music Album Reviews

On his latest double album, the Vallejo vet remains free-flowing, wise, hilarious, and unstoppable.

On record and in conversation, E-40 remains the same—free-flowing, wise, hilarious, and unstoppable. Ever since he emerged from Vallejo, California in the 1980s, he has churned out high-quality albums with ease. And yes, some of the 26 tracks on Practice Makes Paper, his 24th or 26th solo release, depending on how you keep count, are merely average, or at worst, trite. But nothing this man does is half-baked, and the most surprising thing about the latest multi-volume addition to an already-intimidating discography is that most of the songs are actually pretty good.

The sprawling double album is E-40’s follow-up to 2018’s lean, 38-minute The Gift of Gab. While that record kept a laser focus on the funk-influenced sounds 40 does best, Paper is considerably more ambitious, inviting artists from across the map to get hyphy. The guest list is dizzying: There are certified stars like Migos’ Quavo, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, and TDE’s ScHoolboy Q, but also Houston City Council candidate Scarface. The West Coast is well-represented, with G-Eazy, Ty Dolla $ign, Iamsu! from HBK, and the 20-year-old Compton MC Roddy Ricch, but so is Detroit (Tee Grizzley, Payroll Giovanni, and Sada Baby) and New York (Fabolous, Method Man, & A$AP Ferg).

Some of these collaborations bear ripe fruit. Payroll Giovanni’s stone-cold verse on “I Come From The Game” evokes E-40 compadre Too $hort. “Chase the Money,” (produced by... ChaseTheMoney) shows 40 flipping a Migos flow harder than his guest Quavo. On “I Don’t Like Em,” 40 recruits Bay area MCs Cousin Fik & Laroo to channel Chief Keef and Silky Johnson’s love for hating over a trapped-out G-funk beat.

Despite featuring dozens of different producers, the record is remarkably consistent. The most egregious misstep, “1 Question,” is a saccharine Chris Brown/Rick Ross/Jeremih collaboration that never should have been. “Bet You Didn’t Know” could’ve been a cute moment for E-40 to drop knowledge on youngsters were it not plagued by the only beat on the record that makes him sound old.

But it’s 40’s lyrical gifts that make him special. He understands the evolving nature of language and communication like few others, with constantly updated references that connect him with each new generation of rap fans. He fires off hysterical one-liners with aplomb (“Knock his tooth out, make ’em look like a cook at the Waffle House,” from “Another One”) and references his mentions (“Don’t @ Me”) and memes (“Make a hater cry like a Jordan meme,” he raps on “Imma Find Out”) with the same comfort with which he doles out sarcastic financial advice (“Should I buy it off the lot or should I lease and write it off?/Or pay cash like a rapper and watch the value decrease?” he muses on “In the Struggle”).

There have been plenty of legendary MCs who never figured out how to maintain relevance through middle age, awkwardly surfing trends or losing touch with reality completely. But 40 has persevered by staying within himself. “I make sure I don’t outdate myself,” he told Ebro on his Beats 1 show. “I stay within my jurisdiction, and whatnot, but I’m also me.” With dozens of albums under his belt, E-40 has had a lot of practice. It’s rarely perfect, but few others can make it sound as joyful.

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