In a press release from Grambling State University, multi-platinum recording artist, actor, and entrepreneur, Earl “E-40” Stevens expanded his philanthropic reach with a $100,000 donation to GSU.
The funds will benefit the Music department, the World Famed Tiger Marching Band, and the upkeep of the newly installed recording studio, which has been named in his honor with signage unveiled during a ceremony held Friday at the Conrad P. Hutchinson Performing Arts Building.
“I just wanted to make a contribution to my school, Grambling State University, so I talked to the Doc (GSU Band Director Dr. Nikole Roebuck) and she said, ‘Let’s see what we can do,’ and this was what I came up with,” Stevens said as he unveiled the $100,000 check to the Grambling University Foundation. “I feel good about it, too. I feel really good. God is great.”
The Vallejo, California, native has firmly solidified his status as a living hip-hop legend, having released several multiplatinum and gold studio albums, mixtapes, collaborations, and hit singles, including “U and Dat,” “Tell Me When To Go,” “Choices (Yup),”and“Function,”among countless others.
As a solo artist, E-40 holds the record for most solo album entries on the Billboard 200 charts by a hip-hop artist (32) and has collaborated with fellow heavyweights such as 2pac, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, Big Sean and many more. He is also part of the hip-hop supergroup Mount Westmore that is comprised of himself, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and Too $hort that was profiled in the New York Times. As an actor, E-40 has shined in select roles, most notably starring alongside Jamie Foxx in“The Jamie Foxx Show.”
“E-40 has used his success as a recording artist to create an entrepreneurial empire,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “We are so grateful that he is giving back to his alma mater in such a substantial way. Our current and future students will benefit from his investment in our state-of-the-art student recording studio.”
GSU Vice President for University Advancement and Innovation Melanie Jones expressed her thanks for Stevens’ return and donation to the university.
“Grambling State is incredibly grateful for Mr. Stevens’ appearance at the university and especially his donation,” Jones said. “It’s gifts like this from our alumni and supporters that are the driving force that keep the university moving forward and creating bigger and better futures for our students.”
As she introduced Stevens, Roebuck talked about their first interactions with each other.
“This is a very special occasion for us,” Roebuck said. “I always like to start with a quote, and with me being a musician and Mr. Stevens being an artist himself, we know that life without music would be nothing. Music makes the world go ’round. That’s why we have it.”
“I do want to provide a little context about how we got here. In the fall, he reached out and wanted to do a video with the World Famed (Tiger Marching Band),” Roebuck continued. “As we conversed back and forth and met his wife (Tracey) over the phone, he began to tell me about his experience at Grambling State University and what [the institution] means to him.”
Roebuck went on to talk about how sometimes artists are far removed from what she called “normal people” before talking about how that was not Stevens at all.
“He is very genuine, and I knew that from the moment that I spoke to him,” Roebuck said. “He said he wanted to do something special for Grambling State University and I want my contribution to be meaningful and we started to discuss the sound-recording technology program.”
Beyond his accolades as an entertainer, the Vallejo native has become equally as successful as an entrepreneur, having built a robust empire in the wine and spirits industry. Since pivoting into the adult beverage space in 2013, E-40 has launched over 15 different still and sparkling wine offerings under his “Earl Stevens Selections” line, a tequila (E. Cuarenta Tequila), a cognac (Tycoon Cognac), a bourbon (Kuiper Belt Bourbon), a gin (Kuiper Belt Gin), a variety of pre-mixed cocktails (Sluricane) and a golden lager beer (E. Cuarenta Cerveza) with more to come.
In 2021, he also launched his new food brand —called “Goon With The Spoon” — and kicked it off with new lines of packaged sausages and burritos. He expanded his “Goon With The Spoon” offerings in April 2022 by introducing a line of new ice cream that comes in six different flavors, including Cookie Dough, Bourbon Vanilla, Vanilla Bean, Strawberry, Mint Chocolate, and Salted Caramel. Most recently, he unveiled a new soul food line of his “Goon With The Spoon” ice cream brand and subsequently introduced a new Chicken & Waffles ice cream flavor as the inaugural product.
Additionally, E-40 is the co-owner of The Lumpia Company, a growing Filipino food business with a restaurant in Oakland, a stand inside Oracle Park (the San Francisco Giants stadium), and a food truck in San Francisco. He is also an avid investor and has helped fund over 50+ startups, including Clubhouse, SpaceX, Ring, and several others. E-40’s entrepreneurship has been featured in a wide array of business outlets, including Forbes, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, etc.