By Jackie Ward

VALLEJO (CBS SF) — A Bay Area rap star on Tuesday made the start of the school year a little brighter for students at his Vallejo alma mater.

Earl Stevens, better known to hip-hop fans as E-40, had a surprise for students at the Vallejo school where he went to junior high.

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It was a gift he hopes will keep giving this school year.

Back in the day, E-40 was a Franklin Middle School honor roll student in the 8th grade. That was one of the messages he had for kids Tuesday.

All 700 of these backpacks are filled with critical school supplies and a special note from E-40 himself.

“I’m speechless. That’s right. How many people actually come back to the community? This is what he’s done,” said Dr. Michelle Jordan-Faucett, the principal at Franklin Middle School. “He’s not only come back to Franklin; he’s come back to Vallejo.”

This is the third year Franklin Middle School has given out backpacks to each of their students thanks to community donations and grants.

This year, when the school was trying to find a sponsor for the backpacks, e40 stepped up and donated $25,000 for Jansport bags. Every one of the packs has a lifetime guarantee.

“I made the honor roll in the 8th grade. I was so happy!” laughed E-40. “I’m just sitting up here reminiscing now looking at the whole facility and environment. It’s a beautiful thing.”

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And even though these kids weren’t born during his musical prime, they all know about this local hero.

“It’s just like, crazy! Like, a famous person is coming,” said sixth grader Isaiah Brown. “When I heard, I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ It’s a dream come true.”

“It’s pretty cool that E-40 is doing this for us,” said sixth grader Citlalli Garah.

“Parents don’t have the money to buy all the supplies that they need for their children,” said Jordan-Faucett. “And so that’s one of the burdens we take away from them. We buy them supplies.”

His message was the same one that helped him out when he was younger.

“Stay in school, stay positive, stay out of trouble and stay prayed up,” explained E-40.

He hopes that one day — famous or not — these kids can give back to Franklin and Vallejo, too.

E-40 gave enough money to not only cover the cost of supplies for the beginning of year, but for the entire school year.

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He has always been a very active alum of Franklin Middle School. E-40 is also giving money for a new music studio set to open this school year.