As the ninth annual Rock The Bells hip hop festival prepares for a two-day showcase at this Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25 and 26, two Bay Area acts invited to perform won't—or can't.
Despite being part of the first leg of the tour in San Bernadino, Vallejo and Oakland-based rappers E-40 and Too $hort won't be part of the line-up in Mountain View.
In an interview with Fuse TV this past week, E-40 claimed that "for some reason," the City of Mountain View won't let them perform. Other performers at Rock The Bells this weekend include Ice Cube, Wu Tang Clan's Method Man and Redman, Nas, Common, Naughty by Nature and Salt-n-Pepa. During his 22-year career, E-40 has released 17 studio albums, collaborated with Lil Jon, Snoop Dogg, Akon and appeared on numerous television and movies either as himself or a fictional character.
Mountain View Patch caught up with E-40 a little after midnight Saturday over the phone to delve into the subject further. Patch also sent messages for comment to various City of Mountain View officials, and Rock The Bells and Live Nations staff. However due to the late hour, their response will be published as they become available.
Mountain View Patch: Where you on the original line-up for Rock The Bells?
E-40: With Rock The Bells, they called us, and we was like "let's do L.A.," and we did L.A. we did it the other day. But when it came to Mountain View, they told us we couldn't do it...They told us that from the "powers that be" in Mountain View. So I don't know, if it was personally me, or whatever. Personally I've had no issues out there, in Mountain View. You know what I mean? So I don't know. It's hard to figure it out. I can't figure it out.
Patch: So you performed for Rock The Bells in San Bernadino down in L.A.?
Patch: And you are obviously from the Bay Area and would have wanted to perform at Shoreline Amphitheatre, but Mountain View said you couldn't perform?
E-40: I haven't made some money in Mountain View for a long time. Its been a long time. I haven't made some money for a few years now...And I'm pretty much at the point where I want to sue these people—and I'm not the suing type of person. When you are taking food off my family's plate and you don't have no reason, that sh#t pisses me off. You know? Give me a real reason.
Patch: Was it you or your agent who spoke to somebody in Mountain View and who did they speak to?
E-40: No, we didn't speak to no one. We tried to reach out to somebody in Mountain View and they were supposed to call us back, but they just brushed us off. But we were told by the people who run Rock The Bells that the City of Mountain View rejected us from performing. It's the "powers that be."
The people who run Rock The Bells are good people, it's not their fault. They had nothing to do with it. It's Mountain View. We weren't trying to be on all the tours or venues, just San Bernadino and the Bay Area. This is like the third or fourth year in a row with them just rejecting us in Mountain View, especially me. You know what I mean? I'm speaking for E-40 right now.
Patch: So they've never given you a reason?
E-40: No, they've never given me a reason. They can never explain to me what I've done. I've never done anything. I've never had an incident. They've never seen E-40 do anything, anything wrong. E-40 don't even have a jail record. They can't even make anything up. They ain't see me do nothing. You see what I'm say? You know?
Patch: So the people at Rock The Bells told you the city won't let you perform, but has your label, your agent, your manager spoken to the city and gotten direct confirmation?
E-40: For some reason we can't get the main person, whoever is doing this in Mountain View. They give us the run around, they won't let us speak to whomever is the person who's rejecting us.
Patch: This has happened for about three to four years?
Patch: Why do you think that they won't let you perform?
E-40: If I had an answer, I wouldn't be on this phone. I don't have an answer. I don't know what you can do.
Plenty of people want to do interviews with me, but you are right there in Mountain View and can get to the bottom of it. All kinds of people want to do interviews with me about it, but the reason I'm with you is because you are right there in Mountain View. So if you can find out it can be helpful to find out what is the reason.
I mean we only got a couple of venues left. I'm not tripping. I just want to get to the bottom of it so that next year we come around and they don't reject me. They don't come and block my money, and block my fans from seeing me. You see what I'm saying? I'm not even tripping off it. I'm not the money-hungry type of dude, but I am missing money and my fans want to see me. They are pissed about it. There ain't no reason. Give me the real reason for this sh#t.
Patch: If you were to perform in Mountain View and because you are from the area you could have a lot of your fans come see you since it's closer, how much—you say you aren't about the money—but how much do you think you are losing? Are you putting a dollar value? You said at the beginning that you are not putting food on the table for your family. How much could you be losing by not performing here?
E-40: Let me tell you what it is. First of all I'm losing because when you perform at a big venue like that at Rock The Bells or whatever, there are fans. There are people that's not even fans yet that soon could be fans. That's promotions, that's how you bring in new fans. That brings in money right there. You know what I'm saying?
We are talking about payday gigs. I wasn't going to do it for free! They have money on the table for me. So you add that for three years...I'm not going to put a price on what, that's not public knowledge what I get or what they was paying me. The fact is that there is no excuse for me not performing in the City of Mountain View.
My main brand is built around here. This is my soil, the Bay Area. That's what's happening.
Clarification: E-40 wanted Patch to make clear that he never thought the Mountain View Police Department banned him. He did think it was someone else in the city, however.
Would you support a local government's decision to prohibit an artist from performing within its jurisdiction?
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