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 (see "I got the game from my 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.
The "40" in "E-40" was chosen by Earl as a reference to "40s" - 40 ounce bottles of malt liquor. The "E" was simply derived from Earl's first name. His mother gave him this idea.
After the release of The Click's first album, Down and Dirty, E-40's local solo debut was released. E-40 then gained statewide recognitionwith his early EP.
E-40 has released over ten albums, including those with The Click. He has also appeared on numerous movie soundtracks and has guest appearances on a host of other rap albums. His distinctive voice and rapid lyrical delivery have resulted in collaborations with many hip-hop stars from across the country including Ice Cube, Keak Da Sneak, Tupac Shakur, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Mitchy Slick, Brotha Lynch Hung, Too $hort, Twiztid, and Tech N9ne. There are also unreleased tracks with MC Hammer and remixes from MC Hammer's new album Look 3X.
After completing a deal with Jive Records he signed with Lil Jon's BME Recordings and Warner Bros. Records. E-40's single "Tell Me When To Go," featuring Keak Da Sneak, has become popular throughout the United States, and E-40 has appeared on MTV's Direct Effect and BET's 106 & Park. Publicity for E-40 and the greater Hyphy Movement was achieved through the recent MTV feature "My Block: The Bay." He later released "U And Dat" in April 2006, which features T-Pain and Kandi Gurl, and is produced by Lil Jon.
E-40's album My Ghetto Report Card debuted at #1 on the Billboard Rap Album chart (#3 overall) 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 is also featured on DJ Shadow's new album The Outsider, on a track called "Dats 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 including Slim Thug, Jim Jones, Jadakiss, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Fat Joe, Twista and Ja Rule among various others.
E-40 hosts a weekly radio show on San Francisco radio station KMEL. The show focuses on local talent and interviews with celebrities. The show also has a segment called 'Movie Week' where E-40 reviews the week's releases.
He's currently working on his new album currently entitled The Ball Street Journal set to be released in late 2007. He is also set to appear in a recurring role in CSI: Miami.
On the evening of Wednesday, April 11th, E-40 revisted his alma matter, Hogan High, in Vallejo, CA and gave a donation of $12,000.00 to Hogan's drum line after the students performed for him. When asked about the donation, E-40 said he wanted to give the kids a reason to stay in school and especially in band, even though it is not always the coolest place to be.[cite this quote] After listening to the kids and presenting the drum line instructor with the check, E-40 stayed for autographs and pictures with the students and their families. This was a private event for the Hogan drum line community.
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.
For a full discography of albums and singles, see E-40 discography.
1994: The Mail Man
1995: In a Major Way
1996: Tha Hall of Game
1998: The Element of Surprise
1999: Charlie Hustle: The Blueprint of a Self Made Millionaire
2000: Loyalty and Betrayal
2002: The Ballatician: Grit & Grind
2003: Breakin News
2004: The Best of E-40: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
2006: My Ghetto Report Card
2007: The Ball Street Journal
1994: "The Mailman" (featuring The Click)
1994: "Captain Save a Hoe"
1995: "Sprinkle Me" (featuring [uga T)
1995: "1-Luv" (featuring Leviti)
1997: "Things'll Never Change/Rapper's Ball" (featuring Too $hort)
2000: "Nah, Nah..." (featuring Nate Dogg)
2002: "Rep Yo City" (featuring Lil' Jon, Petey Pablo, Bun B & Eightball)
2002: "Automatic" (featuring Kokane & Fabolous)
2003: "Quarterbackin'" (featuring Clipse)
2006: "Tell Me When to Go" (featuring Keak Da Sneak)
2006: "U and Dat" (featuring T-Pain & Kandi Gurl)
2006: "White Gurl" (featuring Juelz Santana & UGK)
2005: "Hustle (Remix)" (MURS featuring E-40, Chingo Bling & John Cena)
2006: "Snap Yo Fingers" (Lil Jon featuring E-40 & Sean Paul of The Youngbloodz)
2006: "Candy (Drippin' Like Water)" (Snoop Dogg featuring E-40, MC Eiht, Goldie Loc, Daz Dillinger & Kurupt)
2006: "Oh Yeah (Work)" (Lil Scrappy featuring E-40 & Sean Paul of the Youngbloodz)
2006: "I Got Chips" (Turf Talk featuring E-40