E-40’s a hero in the Bay Area and is so for several reasons. As one of the first rappers from Oakland, E-40 (real name Earl Tywone Stevens Sr) began his rap career with his crew, The Click. Members included B-Legit, D-Shot and Suga-T.
As a member of The Click, Stevens encouraged them to record, resulting in the crew releasing their 1990 EP Let’s Side. Picking up a fair amount of traction in East Oakland and Vallejo, in 1992, the group signed with Sick Wid It Records to release their second album, Down And Dirty.
E-40 recorded some solo material along the way. However, in 1993 The Click had a commercial breakthrough with their comical song ‘Captain Save a Hoe’. With his unique style and humour, the rapper developed a heavy regional following in the Bay Area, eventually spreading nationwide.
E-40, alongside his partner in crime B-Legit, made some anthems such as ‘What We Be Doin’ as well as ‘Boy’ featuring P-LO. However, he had greater success as a solo act. B-Legit was another popular act from Northern California. However, he remained a local phenomenon.
Alongside figures such as Too $hort, E-40, with his unique style and flow, put a spotlight on MCs from Northern California. However, he was an admirer of artists from regions of the US as well. In contemporary hip-hop, artists often get propelled to stardom on their own and (if they were part of one) their former crew lurks in the shadows. However, during the genre’s golden age, entire crews were the entities that labels chose to sign.
As well as crews, now and then, a duo would pop up. Although De La Soul was telling fans in 1989 how “three is the magic number”, sometimes it wasn’t, and like Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock had told fans on their album the year prior, sometimes “It Takes Two”. In an interview with HipHopDX for their ‘Crook’s Corner’ interview series, E-40 revealed his favourite hip-hop duos of all time.
E-40’s favourite rap duos of all time:
- Redman & Method Man
- Raekwon & Ghostface Killah
- Daz Dillinger & Kurupt
- E-40 & B-Legit