E-40 Speaks on His Early-Career Influences

The Bay-Area legend performed at the Recording Academy’s “Salute to 50 Years of Hip Hop” concert, slated to air on YouTube Sunday.

E-40 is doing some career reflecting while also celebrating Hip-Hop’s 50th birthday.

The Bay-Area rap legend recently spoke with GQ about some of the high and low points of his career, including the people who made a big impact on his career decades ago. E-40, whose name is Earl Stevens, performed at the Recording Academy’s “Salute to 50 Years of Hip Hop” concert at Inglewood’s YouTube Theater in early November; the concert is slated to air this Sunday.

He described to GQ how significant Too Short and those around him were in his development.

“Oh, hell yeah. Of course Too Short, but he’s known. But there was another guy with Too Short named Freddy B that rapped with Too Short when he was younger—it was Too Short and Freddy B,” E-40 said when asked if anyone inspired him who hasn’t gotten their due.

“You could say some dudes out of Richmond named Calvin T and Magic Mike. Them dudes, man…incredible. The only thing that stopped them was, when you’re from the trenches, when you’re caught up in the system, the jailhouse, it can slow everything up for you.”

E-40 To Have Vallejo, California Street Named After Him

E-40 To Have Vallejo, California Street Named After Him

E-40 also explained his relationship with Master P when he attended Grambling State University in Louisiana.

“We was very ambitious, we was eager to learn,” he described. “He watched how I got down, but he had his own thing as well; he had brothers that rapped, my brother and sister rapped—he had Silkk and C-Murder, I had Suga-T and D-Shot, my cousin B-Legit; I had my son Droop-E, he had Lil Romeo, you understand me? 

We were just going by faith, trying to learn, trying to get it figured out. We was doing independent music with no handouts or nothing. We made a way out of no way.”

Read the full GQ interview here.

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