“Fo sheezy,” “pop ya collar,” “you feel me” and “playboy” are just some of the coined phrases that fans will hear from legendary rapper E-40 at the Ventura Theater this weekend.
E-40, otherwise known as Earl Stevens, hails from the North Bay region of San Francisco (or as he likes to call it, the “Yay Area”) and is the king of introducing slang to hip-hop. Nicknamed “The Counselor” because of his influence on the Bay Area’s rap scene, the 50-year-old is still in full force with 25 studio albums under his belt, each known for its fast flow, funky melodies and car-shaking bass (also known as “mobb music”). He credits early ’80s hip-hop groups such as The Sugarhill Gang as musical influencers when he created his sound.
Stevens made his debut onto the music scene in 1986 with his band The Click. In 1989, he founded his independent record label, Sick Wid It Records.
The rapper dropped his first independent studio album, The Federal, in 1993. Stevens’ first mainstream hit to break into the Billboard Hot 100, “Captain Save a Hoe,” landed him a deal with Jive Records in 1994. In 1995, his second studio album, In a Major Way, featured West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur (“Dusted ’n’ Disgusted”) and debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard 200. The album was later certified platinum. A string of successful albums and critically acclaimed tracks followed.
But it was in 2006 that Stevens achieved mainstream success, releasing his breakout album, My Ghetto Report Card, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.
Hot off the presses is E-40’s 25th studio album, The Gift of Jab, and critics are hailing it as a bold return to form for the legendary influencer. Fans are equally excited, as it has brought the rapper out on the road again. He comes to the Ventura Theater on Sept. 8, with opening acts Nef the Pharoah and OMB Peezy (both signed to Sick Wid It) along for the ride. The album is also the first installment in the artist’s Definition series, which includes the as yet unreleased Rule of Thumb and Practice Makes Paper.
At the end of the day, what matters most to the rapper is the success of others and that everyone deserves to get paid. He donates to charities such as the Vallejo Salvation Army and his former middle school to help those less fortunate.
“What I want for myself, I want for others,” Stevens said in a recent Instagram post.
E-40 performs on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 8 p.m. at the Ventura Theater, 26 S. Chestnut St., Ventura. For tickets and more information, call 805-653-0721 or visit www.venturatheater.net.