Earl Stevens (born November 15, 1967) best known by his stage name E-40, is a Bay Area rapper, part of the Bay Area rap group The Click and founder of Bay Area hip-hop record label Sick Wid It Records. After the release of The Click's first album Down and Dirty, E-40's local solo debut was released.
E-40 worked almost exclusively with Bay Area rappers until 1997, when he and cousin B-Legit released Southwest Riders, a compilation featuring prominent Bay Area and Southern artists. The album's aim was to bridge the gap between the two regions given their distinct similar sounding rap music . E-40 jumped into the limelight in 1995 with his single "Sprinkle Me" from his album In A Major Way.
Often heralded as his best album, In A Major Way went gold in 1996. Since it's release in 1995, E-40 has released seven more albums with My Ghetto Report Card being his biggest release since In A Major Way. From 2004 to 2008, he hosted a weekly radio program on San Francisco hip-hop station KMEL titled E-Feezy Radio, showcasing Bay Area hip hop music.
After a talent show at Grambling State University, E-40 and his cousin B-Legit decided to attempt a career in rap. They moved back to Vallejo and teamed up with D-Shot, E-40's brother, to form the group Most Valuable Players. E-40's gospel singing uncle (Saint Charles") helped them put out the record. E-40's sister, Suga T, was then added to the group to form The Click.
E-40 has released over ten albums, including those with his group The Click, starting with their four-track EP Let's Side; he has also appeared on numerous movie soundtracks and has guest appearances on a host of other rap albums. The Mail Man. 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 hardcore rappers as 2Pac and Mac Mall.
Although having a large following within the Bay Area and along the West Coast, E-40 did not have a large mainstream audience, so only two of his songs released under Jive, "1-Luv" and "Things'll Never Change", charted on the Billboard Hot 100. He had been working nearly exclusively with rappers from the Bay Area until 1998, when he was given guest appearances on three albums by Southern rappers, including My Homies by Scarface, Lost by Eightball, and MP Da Last Don by Master P.
After completing a deal with Jive Records he signed with Lil Jon's BME Recordings and Warner Bros. Records. His single "Tell Me When To Go," featuring 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 and the greater Hyphy Movement 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 100 on March 14th, 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 2004, E-40 began hosting E-Feezy Radio, a weekly program San Francisco hip-hop radio station KMEL that shwocased Bay Area hip hop. KMEL regularly broadcast the program until 2008.
Recently on November 24, 2008, E-40 released new album "The Ball Street Journal".
E-40 also provided the official anthem for the Major League Soccer team San Jose Earthquakes in 2008.
In addition to record sales E-40 has ventured into other business opportunities. Along with former NFL player Chester McGlockton, E-40 has opened a Fatburger franchise in Pleasant Hill, California. E-40 recently authored the book, E-40's Book of Slang to be published by Warner Books. He also has his own line of liquor called Cloud 9, 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 sex these things." In late 2007, E-40 announced a new line of energy drinks called "40 Water."