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Life Advice … When You Least Expect to Find It

30 Seconds With Rapper E-40

Here’s a break from highlighting patient experience to focusing on capturing life experience. We’ve just completed another season of graduations, where invited speakers applaud the milestone and pontificate on how to navigate the future and succeed in life. A few of them reach the mainstream and stay with us long after the event. Think Steve Jobs at Stanford in 2005 (“stay hungry, stay foolish”) and Naval Admiral William H. McRaven at the University of Texas in 2014 (“make your bed”).

Fast forward to 2018, when I had the occasion to meet celebrity rapper Earl Stevens, better known as E-40. He’s a staple and fan favorite at bay area sporting events including the 49ers, Warriors, and Giants. Pulling out my phone for a picture, I asked what advice he had for my then high-school-aged son. It was my first selfie video interview, lasting a full 27 seconds:

Fun at the time, I forwarded this to my son who immediately posted it on his social media. While he got “street cred” from this, I got nothing but grief from his older sisters … that’s life as a dad.

I’ve pulled this out on occasion to show friends, I’m impressed with what this self-made entrepreneur had to offer. His words ring just as true today as they did back then:

  • “Show up”
  • “Stay motivated”
  • “Fulfill your destination” (my favorite line)

Equally important, he cautioned about holding off negative influences and avoiding “suckers.”

You can’t make this stuff up. His advice was brilliant. Today when people are looking for a quick and easy path to success, E-40 makes it clear that it’s not about shortcuts. It’s hard work. While he’s achieved financial success, it’s come over the decades, and the result of the wins and losses he’s had as an artist and business entrepreneur.

That’s some life advice that’s right up there with those commencement speakers. Not surprisingly, he’s being honored in a unique way with an E-40 bobblehead giveaway at the San Francisco Giants game this weekend. Enjoy it, Earl Stevens. You earned it!

e-40 bobblehead

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