It isn’t easy to achieve greatness, few make it, let alone get to travel along ‘the road to riches and diamond rings’. It took a minute, but G-Eazy found his own path and made it through the fires of Rapper Hell.
Recently he warmed up the masses for the new Eazyseason and dropped three tracks ‘Say So‘, ‘Friend Zone‘ and ‘Need You Now‘ produced by Vinylz and Nic Nac. While he was in the UK I caught up with G-Eazy and talked to him about the infinite grind and how he came up.
What made you wanna pick up the mic?
I fell in love with hip hop at a real early age. I’ve always been driven – I was gonna be an entrepreneur, I wanted to do my own thing and I didn’t want to work for anybody else, build something. And music was a vehicle. The homies, that’s what we were into, that’s what we did. We would all write raps, and I started making beats around age thirteen or so. And we decided to just save up, get a mic, set up shop, and take my beats and the raps we were writing and combine them together and make songs. And that was right when MySpace had hit, probably about 05, it changed the game! Here we were, just a young rap group in the bay area feeling we were one song away from being signed. You upload a song to MySpace you pop off, because we’d grown up with The Pack, and they had the ‘Vans’ song.
I actually went out to the bay and visited them at their homes once. I did a special on Hyphy..
So that’s the energy that I was inspired by growing up. The pack was right next to me, I went to school with them – E-40 was Jay-Z.
And The Pack are responsible for Lil B…
Yeah, that’s where Lil B came from! So all the music that I was making at that time was very of that wave, the Hyphy movement, everything. It didn’t work right away, but I just kept hustling and I went to New Orleans after high school. I went to school for music business, I had a scholarship opportunity down there, it was right after Katrina had hit and it was an opportunity, and my Mom was like “You gotta go!” And that really made me realise I was in love with making music, but how do I get it in front of people? Where’s the strategy in all this? And I really learned about building a brand, and everything that goes into that.
So you’re at university – what happened next?
Fast forward another four years without nothing popping off! I’m just playing shows locally in New Orleans, I would come home to the bay and play shows, those were the only two cities.
And were you G-Eazy then?
Yeah, I’ve been G-Eazy since I was like twelve or thirteen. And I was about to graduate, and I decided I’d better hit the ground running, what else am I gonna do – go and work at the Apple store or something?
That’s the moment, right? When you’ve finished university you’ve done all the essays, you’ve done your dissertation, you get the cap and gown, you get the certificate…what’s next?
I never gave myself a plan B or any other option, it was like “This had better work, so make it work!” And that was really it, we hit the ground running and we shot a music video for this song called ‘Runaround Sue’, and that was the first thing that kinda stuck online, and the blogs picked it up, and from there it was like “Don’t let up!” More and more content, and then we got a look opening up for Drake, and then another look opening up for Wayne on his tours, and really we were just out there trying to hustle and steal fans and be in front of people.
How was it opening up for Drake?
It was crazy, ’cause he’s one of my favourite rappers, and being that close to their whole organisation and watching how they work, watching him perform every night, you just get to take notes from the best! I’m a student of the game, I can only soak up the greatness I get to watch.
So was this the ‘So Far Gone’ era, or…
Yeah, it was inbetween ‘So Far Gone’ and ‘Thank me Later’.
The excitement at that time when Drizzy was first coming through was crazy, you knew it was something special.
You can just tell man, some people have it, and there’s no ceiling above them. And Drake was that kind of special talent, he could take it as far as he wanted to take it, and look what he’s done, it’s crazy!
What is it that you learn touring with Drake? ‘you’re warming up the crowd, you’re getting people to know who you are, you’re introducing yourself, but what did you learn in particular from Drake which has helped him become successful?
Well it was kind of a confidence booster – I’m doing something right on this tour – but at the same time it was the exact opposite of that, ’cause no one’s there to see me. They’re all there for Drake, they don’t know who the hell I am! I walk out on stage, and they’re looking at me like “Who the heck is this white dude? I don’t know you, impress me!” And that toughens you up, that’s where you get your chops, figure out if you really can do this or not. It’s easy to walk out in front of a crowd that’s there for you.
What was the most difficult moment? there must have been a moment where you’re wondering if this is for you?
I never questioned that, but definitely one of the most difficult moments was meeting A$AP Rocky really early, and he said he’d message me and ask me to come out to New York and open his New York show. And I did that, and then he had me open up his Bay Area show – and this was his first time touring and playing shows. And the New York one I expected to be a tough crowd, early A$AP fans just chatting A$AP during my set, but the New York one went great. Then I go out to the Bay…
And it’s my home town! I think it was in San Jose, so it’s kind of a ways away, but I go out on stage, and I didn’t have no soundcheck. And the sound is just all off, the worst sound conditions ever, and I go out and they’re chanting “A$AP!” and I’m so mad! And then the music cuts off and I forget the words, and they’re just booing and they’re killing me! I ran one more song, finished, and I walked out and that was rapper hell! The worst conditions ever! But at the same time, instead of going and tucking my tail and never trying that again, you gotta be undeniable, ’cause once you build up your own following, and you can headline, that’s coasting, that’s easy. You still gotta go hard and retain fans, make sure that they stick with you. But when you’re opening up in front of people that have never heard of you, you’ve got people in the crowd like “Convince me.”
And those chants must be disheartening when you want to do your material?
Yeah, I’m trying to remember the words! They’re booing me off, shit was the worst! But if you can make it through the fires of rapper hell and you can come out alive you only get stronger.
He’s made through the fires and now he’s back with some fresh fire.