E-40 is running behind, giving Ice Cube the perfect opportunity to nickname him “E-40 Minutes Late.” He and Too $hort are anxious to talk about their forthcoming Mount Westmore album, scheduled for a Dec. 9 release.
Formed in 2020 during the early days of the pandemic, Mount Westmore brings together four pillars of West Coast hip-hop—Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Too $hort, and E-40—at a point in their careers where they really have nothing to prove.
Although Snoop Dogg was off shooting a movie (because, of course he was), once E-40 arrived, the talented trifecta emanated the same chemistry in person as they do on their records. Anyone able to get their hands on the metaverse version of their June-released project, Bad MFs, was privy to their effortless banter, comedic storytelling, and top-tier rapping. But Snoop, Cube, 40, $hort, is almost an entirely different iteration, which isn’t surprising considering the volume of material they recorded while putting Mount Westmore together. As Short pointed out, they pumped out 50 songs and have enough music for multiple albums.
“We ain’t dustin’ off nothing,” Short said. “If rap was a sport, I stay in the game. I don’t think there were any cobwebs or anything like that. Every dude was on point. They go. All 50. It was really hard to pick the 16 songs going on the album. We only had to do one verse each. I hate to use the word, but the shit is kinda easy. It ain’t really that hard to do.” Cube added, “And we come from those eras where you had to do a whole album yourself. You wasn’t going to have 30 features. It was just you. ‘Easy’ is the word we use, but we’re so polished in the game that when you break us down to just one verse, one 16 [bars], it do feel like easy money. But you still have to compete with three ferocious MCs who, if you come weak, it’s gonna show. It’s gonna stick out like a sore thumb. It’s easy ‘cause you only have to do one verse, but you still have to come with it.”
On every song Mount Westmore has released, it’s clear they push each other to deliver their best bars—but don’t ask them if it’s “healthy” competition.
“I know 40 is a beast,” Cube said. “I know Snoop is a beast. I know Short can say anything on a record and make it work. He’s magic like that. But stay in your lane with that. You gotta know how to come with it but not do too much, ‘cause if I try to rap in cursive like 40, I will bite my tongue and shit. It is what it is.”
Short, who’d been listening quietly with a smirk on his face, jumped in with a rebuttal and had an alternative take. “You putting it on a little too smooth, really,” he told Cube and 40 with a laugh. “Y’all was trying to gas the shit out of every song and make it very difficult for the other guy. You really, really, really was. Y’all wasn’t just doing it [on record]—you was talking the shit on the group calls about how you gassed the song, so, yeah, it was friendly, but it was still not friendly. It was serious.”
For all of their individual successes—which includes movies, commercials, cannabis ventures, a basketball league, and beverage companies—Mount Westmore has proven to be even more lucrative thanks to various endorsements, sold-out performances, and the metaverse album, which they hope will inspire the next generation of burgeoning entrepreneurs.
“We wanna be an untouchable group and a point in hip hop where you say, ‘Damn, you can aspire and do something greater than yourself,’” Cube said. “I hope sometime in the future, we get a Mount Eastmore and a Mount Southmore, where the giants of that region get together and do a group—not just an album. We not just doing an album. We’re a group, meaning you will see Mount Westmore from now on, in some way shape or form. I think it’s just great. It might not ever be matched. What’s cool, though, is somebody might do it one day.”
Short continued, “We’re just trying to show that, with hip hop, it’s cool to have a good time at this age in your career. We extending the bag ‘cause, no matter what I do with Mount Westmore, l get the same Too $hort offers. Now there’s a new Mount Westmore phone line that’s ringing. The album comes out December 9, but the group has already made millions of dollars. I’ve never been in a situation where I’m making millions before the damn project comes out, so something about the examples we setting is a new template for hip hop… the Voltron monster, the giant robot we created is a cash cow. This is like the best side hustle a n—- can have, for real.”
Too $hort did have one gripe, however, but it had nothing to do with Mount Westmore. Instead, he questioned why hip hop seems to be the only genre that experiences blatant ageism. Now in their 50s, they’ve regularly been dismissed as “too old” to rap.
“We got OGs telling youngsters you can’t really rap or whatever ‘cause the grandparents, the mamas and daddies now don’t really understand it,” Short explained. “It’s the young G’s saying to the old dudes, ‘Man, get out the way, you had your time.’ There’s a lot of ageism that’s been in the air in recent years. We’re setting examples of… literally look at the success, look at the longevity. This is real. This is happening. This could be you. Not only has each person in the group done that, but as a group, we’re gonna continue that legacy to say, ‘Look what age we are. Look at what we’ve already achieved and we’re still going for more, and we’re still having careers.’
“This is no different than rock and roll, no different than the blues, no different than jazz. Artists continued to go on and on, no matter what age they were. If they were breathing and could still perform, they’d perform. So why is hip hop not automatically given that respect? Mount Westmore is an example of how you have a long-ass career on top of your game and nowhere near faltering.”
Cube said, “I hope we are an example to youngsters with a career trying to figure out what they need to do to keep their career healthy. We could take our brand and understand that our fans are the most important to us. We cultivate those fans, and they reward us when we do things outside the box. Snoop has one of the most diverse portfolios out of all of us.
“But it’s an example that if you protect your brand and pay attention to your fan base and know your fan base, when you come along with other ideas and other things, they’ll get behind you. They’ll watch your movies. They’ll go to your sports events. Whatever you got going on, they’ll participate because you’ve always been solid and kept it 1000 percent with them. Hopefully that’s the blueprint that we’re setting for people who come behind us.”
E-40 agreed, saying, “It’s all about leaving your scent on this Earth when you leave. We want to leave a good taste in everybody’s mouth.”
Just like Cube did with the raw, unfiltered gangsta rap of N.W.A in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, he, Too $hort, Snoop Dogg, and E-40 continue to blaze a trail for others to follow.
Short concluded, “This is the equivalent of if The Temptations, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, and the Four Tops all made an album together, after they already went platinum and went around the world. This is amazing.”