The US rapper opens up on his new songs and the upcoming release of anticipated album The Beautiful and Damned
G-Eazy says quality music will never die
Fans are not only found front of stage.
A couple of hours before G-Eazy headlined the rain-soaked opening night of pop music festival RedFestDXB in February, the American strolled backstage and knocked on the dressing room door of fellow performer Sean Paul.
The dancehall veteran was chuffed to learn that one of hip-hop’s rising stars was a big fan of his work.
“That experience in Dubai was all a blessing, man” says G-Eazy.
“It just feels out of this world for me to be there on the other side of the globe, meet people that I admire and rock out with the crowd. These are the things that I used to dream about. I remind myself, whenever I travel to an exotic part of the world, that not everyone gets a chance to do that.”
His debut performance in the Middle East kicked off another big year, in which the 28-year-old rapper won Favourite Hip-Hop Artist at the MTV Europe Music Awards and released his hit single Good Life, a collaboration with R&B siren Kehlani which was included in the soundtrack to the blockbuster action film The Fate of the Furious.
The track was only the start of a feast of new music that G-Eazy, real name Gerald Gillum, is releasing this year.
This month alone, the Oakland rapper dropped songs as teasers for his upcoming fourth album, The Beautiful and Damned.
“And these songs are not even on the album,” says G-Eazy.
“These came as the result of all the hard work that we put in. I made over a hundred songs for the album and I wanted to release these songs as way to give the fans something to live with as they anticipate the new record.”
The new tracks are not throwaways. Instead, they provide the central theme G-Eazy will be tackling on the new album: the fleeting nature of celebrity.
Over a lugubrious beat punctuated by twinkling keyboards, Wave finds Eazy ruminating over his craft: “My truest verses be the most vulnerable / My biggest fear is me getting comfortable / The vibe is sacred, protect it, it gets dis-ruptable.”
G-Eazy explains: “I am exploring the idea of the value of celebrity and the gifts and curses that come with it. There are a lot of blessings and sacrifices that come with it.”
In the festival-ready Get a Bag, G-Eazy teams up with veteran New York rhyme-smith Jadakiss, and both trade verses on how to achieve financial success in a volatile industry.
“When you enter the music game you kind of know what you are getting into,” says G-Eazy.
“But at the same time, you are never fully prepared until you are in it. That song is about adapting to all of that, how to manoeuvre within the game and live amongst all that comes with it.”
Aspiring entertainers could take good advice from G-Eazy, as the artist managed to build a well-regarded career that saw him steadily evolve from a record producer in college into a solo career and then release a series of buzzworthy mixtapes.
One of which, 2011’s The Endless Summer, included his breakout single Runaround Sue, a hip-hop cover of the 1961 doo-wop classic by Dion.
After the success of his debut album, 2012’s Must Be Nice, major record labels circled around with the rapper. He signed to Sony Music, who gave him creative freedom over all his projects.
With his major label albums, These Things Happen (2014) and the following year’s When It’s Dark Out, topping the American hip-hop charts, G-Eazy says his career proves that quality music will always succeed.
“There is no one way now to start your career,” he says.
“It all depends on the artist. For some, like in my case, it grew organically. While others are fully developed and groomed for the job. I think all the industry rules are broken. The music game is wide open and there are no walls surrounding genre or format. It is all about quality now. Good music will always manage to makes its way through, while bad music will die.”
Describing The Beautiful and Damned as the “next chapter of my life”, G-Eazy is looking forward to taking his new tunes on the road.
He confirms that the UAE will be a stop on his next world tour. “There will definitely be some shows over there,” he says.
“Now, I don’t know if it will be this year but I can say it will happen within the next 12 months.”