Known as The Ambassador of the Bay, Vallejo’s Earl “E-40” Stevens is a boss, from starting his own independent record label Sick Wid It Records to releasing his own line of wine. 40 Water has been in the rap game since the 1980s and has stayed relevant for decades as his slanguage has found its way into the songs of other rappers.

Born November 15, 1967, E-40 grew up on Magazine Street in the South Vallejo neighborhood of Beverly Hills a.k.a. the Hillside. After graduating from Hogan High School in 1985, he attended Grambling State University in Louisiana for one year. While there, he formed the group Most Valuable Players in 1986 along with his brother Danell (a.k.a. D-Shot), his sister Tenina (a.k.a. Suga-T) and their cousin Brandt Jones (a.k.a. B-Legit), while E got his name for his constant consumption of 40 ounce beers. They released the song “The King’s Men” and won a talent show at the college before returning to the Bay Area.

The family group was renamed from Most Valuable Players to The Click and they released their EP Let’s Side in 1990 on E-40’s independent label Sick Wid It Records. The following year, E-40 released his EP Mr. Flamboyant, while 1992 saw Sick Wid It release The Click’s debut album Down & Dirty and E-40’s debut album Federal. 40’s breakthrough came in 1993 with the release of his album The Mail Man and its single “Captain Save a Hoe” featuring The Click. This led to him signing a major label distribution deal with Jive Records in 1994.

The first album 40 released on his Jive deal was one many consider the best of his expansive catalog: 1995’s In a Major Way. The album featured the singles “Sprinkle Me” with Suga T, “1-Luv” with Levitti, and “Dusted N Disgusted” with Spice 1, Mac Mall, and 2Pac. The album peaked at #13 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart before it achieved platinum status. The same year, The Click released their second album, Game Related, which featured the single “Hurricane.”

40 would release six more albums through Jive before moving to Warner Bros. for his ninth album, 2006’s My Ghetto Report Card, which featured his Lil Jon-produced hyphy hits “Tell Me When To Go” with Keak da Sneak and “U and Dat” with T-Pain and Kandi. 40’s next album, 2008’s The Ball Street Journal, would be his last release on Sick Wid It as he began releasing all of his subsequent albums on his son Droop-E’s Heavy On The Grind Entertainment since 2010. 40 also released several collaboration albums: History: Mob Music and Function Music with Too $hort in 2012, Connected and Respected with B-Legit in 2018, and as a part of MOUNT WESTMORE formed in 2020 with Too $hort, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, they released Bad MFs and Snoop Cube 40 $hort in 2022.

40 Fonzarelli has been involved in multiple business ventures, including opening the Ambassador’s Lounge nightclub, a Fatburger restaurant, a Wingstop restaurant, a “40 Water” energy drink, Goon With the Spoon food products, as well as Earl Stevens Selections wine and spirits among other investments. “Front Row 40” is also a fixture at home games for the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49ers. On October 21, 2023, the city of Vallejo honored E-Feezy with the key to the city and named a one-mile stretch of Magazine Street as “E-40 Way” to pay tribute to the V-Town legend.