Rapper E-40, also known as Earl Stevens, is a well-known musician and entrepreneur from Vallejo, California.
He has been active in the music industry for over 30 years and is known for his unique style and contributions to the Bay Area hip-hop scene.
But did you know E-40 helped create an anthem for Grambling State University titled “The Alma Mater Rap” almost 37 years ago?
Here’s the backstory.
E-40 was inspired to attend this college by his cousin B-Legit, who he described as a family member and his best friend. They have always shared many common interests and passions, including playing basketball together, cruising around the streets, and listening to music.
E-40 and B-Legit were “active” in their neighborhood but were better known for rapping over instrumental beats. But B-Legit wanted to do more with his life, so he applied to Grambling State University.
“We on magazine street one day, and he hit me with one of the ones,” E-40 told NPR’s Jesse Thorn. “In a couple of months. I’m about to head out to college,” B-Legit told a shocked E-40.
E-40 continued: “I said ‘for real? Okay, cool. Cool. Where you headed?'” B-Legit replied, “Lousiana, Grambling State University.”
When B-Legit got accepted to the University, E-40 followed in his footsteps. The future rap star, who was just 17, went and got his transcripts from Hogan High School in Vallejo and applied and was also accepted to Grambling.
“I talked about mom and said I’m going too. I need to get up there too. Because, you know, at that time, you know, life was moving fast. I made it in by the hair on my chinny chin chin. We went, we ended up doing music while we was out there,” E-40 said.
One day on campus, B-Legit and E-40 came up with a rap about the school with their buddy and fellow Bay Area resident Waldo Benzworth.
The trio decided to rap over Original Concept’s “Knowledge Me” (later used by Masta Ace in his song Born To Roll 10 years later).
According to B-Legit, they recorded “The Alma Mater Rap” on a boombox in one take and performed it at the Grambling’s spring talent show.
The performance was a hit; they became overnight stars on campus and even signed autographs!
The success of their performance continued on campus, and they were also invited to perform at the Bayou Classic in Louisiana in 1987. This was a turning point for the pair, it solidified their passion for music, and they decided to get busy with music when they returned home for the summer.
They quickly released a record called “MVP (Most Valuable Players)” with D-Shot and Suga-T, later known as The Clik.
E-40 and B-Legit’s time at Grambling State University was a defining moment in his life and career. The anthem they created is still remembered as a classic and represents the university’s influence on their lives.