Multiplatinum recording artist, actor, and entrepreneur, Earl “E-40” Stevens expanded his philanthropic reach with a $100,000 donation to Grambling State University.
The funds will benefit the Grambling 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…I feel good about it, too. I feel really good. God is great.”Earl “E-40” Stevens
History of the Grambling Music Department
From the institution’s inception, music has been a vital component of its history and progress. Actually, one of the initial members of the teaching staff was a music teacher. The Grambling Music Department has played a significant role in the life of the campus and the surrounding community since 1905, when the historically black, public school provided its first music lessons.
The first music degree, the Bachelor of Science in Music Education, was awarded in 1952, and by 1977-78, the department had grown to seventeen faculty members and two secretaries. Although its professors and staff continue to expand, the Grambling Music Department student enrollment, community participation, and service initiatives continue to rise.
Degree Programs available from the Grambling Music Department include:
Bachelor of Arts in Music
- Liberal Arts Concentration
- Music Education-Instrumental Concentration
- Music Education-Vocal Concentration
E-40’s Music Career
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…We are so grateful that he is giving back to his alma mater in such a substantial way. Our current and future Grambling music department students will benefit from his investment in our state-of-the-art student recording studio.”GSU President Rick Gallot
GSU Vice President for University Advancement and Innovation Melanie Jones expressed her thanks for Stevens’ return and donation to the Grambling music department.
“Grambling music department is incredibly grateful for Mr. Stevens’ appearance at the university and especially his donation…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.”Melanie Jones
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)…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.”Dr. Nikole Roebuck
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…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.”Dr. Nikole Roebuck
E-40’s accomplishment outside of the music industry
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.
Source: Grambling State University Newsdesk