Earl Stevens (born November 15, 1967) better known by his stage name E-40, is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and investor from Vallejo, California. He is a founding member of the rap group The Click, and the founder of Sick Wid It Records. He has released over ten albums, appeared on numerous movie soundtracks, and has also done guest appearances on a host of other rap albums. Initially an underground artist, his 1995 solo album In a Major Way opened him up to a wider audience. Beginning in 1998, he began collaborating with more mainstream rappers outside of the Bay Area. He rose to even higher mainstream popularity in 2006 with his single "Tell Me When to Go" which was produced by Lil Jon.
E-40 made his rap debut in 1990, with the EP Let's Side as a member of The Click. The EP was co-produced by Mike Mosley and Al Eaton and was released on Sick Wid It Records, an independent label founded by E-40. In 1992 they released second album, Down and Dirty, and in 1993 E-40 made his solo album debut. Federal, a nine-track LP/14-track CD produced by Studio Ton and released by Sick Wid' It Records in association with SMG (Solar Music Group), a regional distributor. After a talent show at Grambling State University, the emcee and his cousin B-Legit decided to attempt a career in rap. Together, and with his sister Suga-T, they released their 1993 mainstream radio hit Captain Save a Hoe. They moved back to Vallejo and teamed up with D-Shot, E-40's brother, to form the group MVP or Most Valuable Players. E-40's gospel singing uncle (Saint Charles) helped them put out the record. Suga-T was then added to the group to form The Click. Synonymous with Bay Area rap, E-40 garnered a regional following, and eventually a national one, with his flamboyant raps, while his entrepreneurial spirit, embodied by his homegrown record label, Sick Wid' It Records, did much to cultivate a flourishing rap scene to the east of San Francisco Bay, in communities such as Oakland and his native Vallejo. Along with Too Short, Spice 1, and Ant Banks, E-40 was among the first West Coast rappers to sign a major-label deal, penning a deal with Jive Records in 1994, after years of releasing music independently. Thus, six additional solo albums were to follow, beginning with In a Major Way in 1995 as well as remastered versions of E-40's independent Sick Wid It recordings from previous years. In a Major Way was regionally well-received, with guest spots by such rappers as Tupac Shakur and Mac Mall, as well as his son Droop-E. Although having a large following within West Coast, E-40 did not have a large mainstream audience, so only two of his songs released under Jive Records, "1-Luv" featuring Levitti and "Things'll Never Change" featuring Bo-Roc, charted on the Billboard Hot 100. He had been working nearly exclusively with rappers from the Bay Area until 1997, when he released the double disc compilation Southwest Riders featuring exclusively rap acts from the Bay Area and the south. His collaboration with southern rappers continued in 1998, when he was given guest appearances on albums by Southern rappers, including Lost by Eightball, and MP Da Last Don by Master P.
In 2003, E-40 began hosting E-Feezy Radio, a weekly program San Francisco hip-hop radio station KMEL that showcased Bay Area hip hop. KMEL regularly broadcast the program until 2008. After completing a deal with Jive Records he signed with Lil Jon's BME Recordings and Warner Bros. Records. After the signing, he appeared on Lil Jon's single "Snap Yo Fingers", also featuring Sean P of YoungBloodz, which became a hit reaching the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Afterwards, his single "Tell Me When To Go", featuring Oakland rapper Keak Da Sneak, became popular throughout the United States, and E-40 appeared on MTV's Direct Effect and BET's 106 & Park. Publicity for E-40 was achieved through the MTV special My Block: The Bay. He later released "U And Dat" in April 2006, featuring T-Pain and Kandi Girl and produced by Lil Jon. His album My Ghetto Report Card debuted at #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #3 on the Billboard Hot 200 on March 14, 2006. Released through Sick Wid It/BME/Warner Bros. Records, the album was produced by Lil Jon, Rick Rock, and E-40's son, Droop-E. He was also featured on DJ Shadow's new album The Outsider, on a track called Dat's My Part. In 2006, he also appeared on Tech N9ne's Everready: The Religion CD on a track titled Jellysickle. In that same year, he contributed a verse to the official remix of It's Okay (One Blood) by fellow West coast rapper The Game along with 24 other prominent MCs. In 2008, E-40's new album The Ball Street Journal came out, with "Wake it Up" featuring Akon as the lead single. "Got Rich Twice" featuring Turf Talk followed. The album peaked at #42 on the Billboard 200.
In 2009, 40 was featured on the track "Santana DVX" on the album Incredibad from the comedy group The Lonely Island. E-40 is listed in the credits as one of the writers. In the song, E-40 assumes the identity of Carlos Santana and raps about his personalized brand of sparkling white wine.
E-40 was featured on BrokeNCYDE's album I'm Not A Fan, But The Kids Like It! on the song Booty Call.
E-40 was also featured on the song "Kush Is My Cologne" (along with Bun B & Devin The Dude) on Gucci Mane's 2009 album The State vs. Radric Davis.
On March 30, 2010, E-40 released two albums called Revenue Retrievin': Day Shift and Revenue Retrievin': Night Shift. Both include guest appearances from Too Short, Snoop Dogg, Gucci Mane, Bobby V more. They debuted at numbers 47 & 49 respectively on the 200. The first single from the Day Shift album is "Bitch" featuring Too Short. On March 29, 2011, E-40 released two albums called Revenue Retrievin': Overtime Shift and Revenue Retrievin': Graveyard Shift. They include guest spots from Lil Jon, Bun B, Slim Thug, Tech N9ne & more. They both entered on the 200 chart at #'s 42 & 40.
In November 2010, E-40 and Too Short announced that they would release two collaborative album in Summer 2012 entitled History: Mob Music and History: Function Music. E-40 also performed at the Gathering of the Juggalos.
In 2012, E-40 released three solo albums: The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil series 1, 2, and 3, and will release a collaboration album with Too Short. The first single from the second Block Brochure album is "Function" featuring YG, Iamsu! & Problem. It peaked at #21 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, #62 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and #22 on the Rap Songs chart, becoming his most successful single in years. The volumes include Juicy J, 2 Chainz, Tech N9ne, Snoop Dogg, Twista, Kendrick Lamar, Too Short, Brotha Lynch, Andre Nickatina, & T-Pain as guests. They each debuted at #'s 58, 59 & 72 on the Billboard 200, respectively, and the triple album box set that contains all three Block Brochure volumes debuted at #44. History: Function Music debuted at #63 on the 200, while Mob debuted at #72. He made a cameo appearance in the music video for Young Jeezy's song "R.I.P." featuring 2 Chainz in March 2013, and was also featured on the song's official "G-Mix" also featuring Snoop Dogg and Too Short. It was revealed that the 4th, 5th and 6th editions of The Block Brochure would be released exactly one year after the release date of the first three volumes. However, there is no confirmed release date for the three albums, but the artwork for all three volumes and the triple album box set was released on June 12. On May 21, he released the first single from the three albums, "Ripped" featuring Lil Jon. On July 18, he premiered the second single "All My Niggaz" featuring Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q. The song was released to iTunes on August 20, 2013. On August 26, the video for "Off the Block" featuring Stressmatic and J. Banks was released and confirmed to be on the album. On Facebook E-40 has announced that his new albums, The Block Brochure Parts 4, 5, 6 will be released on 12/10/13.
Entrepreneurship and investing
In addition to his career as a musician, E-40 is an entrepreneur and investor who has ventured into other business and investment opportunities. He invested in Microsoft, but he said that he should have invested in Apple. Along with former NFL player Chester McGlockton, E-40 opened a Fatburger franchise in Pleasant Hill, California, which has now been shut down. E-40 recently authored the book, E-40's Book of Slang to be published by Warner Books. He is also a spokesperson for Landy Cognac, and he opened the now-defunct Ambassador's Lounge, a nightclub in Downtown San Jose. On Nov 16th, 2007 it was announced that Stevens signed a franchise agreement with Wingstop Restaurants, Inc. and will open one in Southampton shopping center located in Benicia, California. "I was introduced to Wingstop in Dallas and as soon as I tasted the wings I was hooked. I love the food," said Stevens. "I chose to open in the Bay Area because this is the soil where I was born and raised, and I still live here to this day. People here are going to love these things." In late 2007, E-40 announced a new line of energy drinks called "40 Water."