E-40 (born Earl Stevens, November 15, 1967) is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and investor from Vallejo, California. He is a member of the rap group The Click, and the founder of Sick Wid It Records.
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 a second album, “Down and Dirty,” and in 1993 E-40 made his solo album debut. That album, “Federal,” was 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 E-40 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. 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.
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 2Pac 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, and only two of his songs released under Jive Records, “1-Luv” featuring Levitti and “Things'll Never Change” featuring Bo-Roc, entered the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.
E-40 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.
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 Oakland rapper Keak Da Sneak, became popular throughout the United States. He later released “U And Dat” in April 2006, featuring T-Pain and Kandi Girl and produced by Lil Jon.
His 2006 album “My Ghetto Report Card” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #3 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. 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. E-40 was also featured on DJ Shadow's 2006 album “The Outsider,” on a track called “Dat's My Part.”
In 2006, he appeared on Tech N9ne's album “Everready: The Religion” 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 album “The Ball Street Journal” came out, with “Wake it Up” featuring Akon as the lead single. The second single “Got Rich Twice” featuring Turf Talk followed and the album peaked at #42 on the Billboard 200. In 2009, E-40 was featured on the track “Santana DVX” on the album “Incredibad” from the comedy group The Lonely Island. E-40 was 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.
He released two new albums at the end of March 2010 entitled “Revenue Retrievin': Day Shift” and “Revenue Retrievin': Night Shift.” They debuted at #49 and #47 respectively on the Billboard 200. In March 2011, E-40 again simultaneously released two albums called “Revenue Retrievin': Overtime Shift” and “Revenue Retrievin': Graveyard Shift.” They included guest spots from Lil Jon, Bun B, Slim Thug, Tech N9ne and others. They entered the Billboard 200 chart at #42 and #40.
In November 2012, E-40 and Too Short released two albums, “History: Function Music” and “History: Mob Music.” Guests appearing on the albums included Knotch, B-Legit, Kurupt, Beeda Weeda, Rankin Scroo, Tyga, Cousin Fik, Knotch, Travis Porter, Young Chu, Turf Talk, Wiz Khalifa, Sugafree, Jeremih, Dolla Will, Decadez, Wifey, DJ Upgrade, Ice Cube and Stressmatic.