The legendary rapper sits down with Ros Gold-Onwude to talk entrepreneurship, the Warriors, and his particular staying power in music, culture, and business.
E-40 isn’t a man as much as he’s a mythological entity. A phenomenon that required the coining of new words and phrases in order for mere mortals like ourselves to reckon with it. But that doesn’t mean the 1-of-1 rapper born Earl T. Stevens doesn’t still prefer to keep it local.
E-40 is as Bay Area as it gets. And it’s staying true to the community that first raised him up that keeps him rolling along into his 55th year of life and his 35th in the hip hop game.
“Longevity takes a lot of hard work. Keep your eye on the ball, watching everything that’s going on,
being able to adapt and adjust to the music that’s going on,” he told Boardroom’s Ros Gold-Onwude. “Like, you can’t ignore technology. You have to be able to rock with the Facebooks, the Twitters, the Instagrams, be able to have your businesses [accessible], all that stuff. But longevity also takes a lot of talent and a lot of conditioning, a lot of praying, you know what I’m saying? Hey, man, you gotta just be good at what you do.”
On the latest edition of “Boardroom Spotlight,” E-40 spoke on cultivating positive relationships in the hip hop industry for the long haul and his business ventures in the worlds of food, wine, and beyond.
And of course, he took some time to wax poetic on the NBA and his beloved Golden State Warriors, who are currently in the midst of a resurgence that the entire basketball world cannot afford to ignore.
Reflecting his life and accomplishments:
I came in the game with a prayer, a wish, a hope, and a dream. Hard work. Test of fortitude. Just self-esteem and poise. And me, being able to do it independently — everything that I ever did was independently. I was born with a rusty spoon, not a silver spoon. I don’t owe nobody, there as never no silent partners putting money into my career or nothing.
It’s a trip because in a lot of my music, I was talking to one of my homies, he said ‘85% of what you talked about in your raps, you really accomplished.’ From talking about the wineries and when you worked at the oil refinery, now you selling wine and being an independent CEO… look how many people came up because I got the region hot, me and my family, the Click.
Of course, there was other participants that I joined, like a Mac Dre, you know what I’m saying? Shout out to Mac Dre — RIP Mac Dre, one of the greatest rappers in the game ever. Keak da Sneak, same thing with him, shout out to my man Kean da Sneak. The hyphy movement had a lot of participation, but I had the vehicle. I was with Lil John, I had Warner Bros., I had the music to back it up, and I brought uptempos and dumbass slaps like that to the table, and it became just a bit phenomenal.
On his business ventures:
I just been here from the beginning, and to be able to diversify my portfolio and to be off into food and beverage and into tech, you know what I’m saying? I’m in tech; startup companies and all that stuff. Into real estate, into restaurants, liquor, it’s just non-stop. And [I] still do music, one of the best that ever did it and got away with it.
On his enduring love of the Warriors and Bay Area sports:
Oh, it’s crazy. You know what’s really funny is watching everybody trying to get their old tickets to get back on the hype train. Injuries really set us back, but it wasn’t that we was lacking in our talent. It was the injuries, and it’s just obvious. Those who couldn’t see that, I don’t know what’s wrong with them, but we back in. I think we gonna surprise a lot of people. We’re already surprising them now at this early part of the season.
A lot of times I sit on the road right under the net. And then a lot of times, like this year, my seats are right next to to the [Warriors’] bench. So I get to high-five them and I get to I’m closer to them. It’s more as far as [getting] more fired up, but at the same time, the whole ambiance of the Chase Center is a lot different. It isn’t as urban as it was at the Oracle [Arena] — I’m keeping it one-thou-wow — and hey, I must say it used to be like that at Levi’s Stadium when the 49ers moved from Candlestick to Levi’s, and now it’s starting to get more urban in a good way. It’s always good because we are the nucleus. We are the stronghold of those teams.
A lot of people gonna start coming back, because now those who gave up their seats when they thought it was all over, now they see that we back like we never left. So it’s looking good.