Oakland-based rapper G-Eazy has been riding a streak of commercial success after his major label debut, These Things Happen, in the summer of 2014. After releasing several singles on his SoundCloud page, G recently dropped his sophomore effort, When It’s Dark Out, earlier this month.
We at True Too recently got the chance to chat with the dapper young MC. He spoke about his new album, touring worldwide, and collaborating with his childhood heroes, E-40 and Too $hort among other subjects. Read the transcript of the interview below.
CJ: Alright for sure, thanks for taking time Gerald. What’s good it’s CJ with True Too Hip Hop here.
CJ: How you doing, man?
G: I’m good bruh.
CJ: For sure. So your sophomore album, When It’s Dark Out, dropped recently. What was the overarching concept or ideas that you worked on with this project?
G: I mean the album kind of picks up where the last one left off. And with any album, I kind of think of it as like, you know reading an autobiography about a person and an album is a chapter. That period. The last year and a half, two years have been pretty crazy comin’ off the last album. I mean, my life got turned upside down. No one really saw the last album coming, besides maybe me and my team, I think. And you know what I mean, all of a sudden everything changed. So uhh, yeah, it just kind of captures this chapter in my life.
CJ: Yeah, definitely. So could you tell me about, like what you learned from These Things Happen in 2014 that you applied to this album? Just like the release, and it being your major label debut, stuff you learned.
G: I mean, just to stay true to yourself. Like even if things get bigger you know, never compromise who you are for anyone. You know, stick to what you believe in. I feel lucky to have a platform and to have a voice. So I just, you know, you gotta appreciate that and do the most with it. I feel like, almost my whole life, I’ve like, you know, hoped to have a kind of moment like this. To have an audience, to have a record deal, you know, to have a platform. So I always wanted to do the most with it if I ever had that opportunity. It was really just about putting the work in, digging deep, you know, staying true to myself and just pouring my heart out on the record and just making the most of this moment.
CJ: For sure. Two weeks in, how do you feel about the release for When It’s Dark Out and its success this far?
G: I mean it’s incredible. The numbers blew my mind, it’s like, more than twice what the last one did. So, you know, it’s a blessing. It’s the standard we all hold ourselves to, I mean, like, I have a really good team and we all push each other really hard and you want to make forward progress. You never want to just stall out, but at the same time, it doesn’t just happen on its own. So, you know, to have that kind of growth is a blessing, like, you know to be here at all is a blessing, but to keep making forward progress is, uh, is crazy. It’s a dope feeling.
CJ: Yeah, definitely. And I see you got shout-outs from iAmSu! and others. How does it feel to be putting on for The Bay on a mainstream level? You know, like breaking records and stuff, and doing that.
G: Yeah. I mean, that’s what it’s all about. You know, the numbers, the accolades, the reviews, like all that shit is dope…and it is validation in a sense, but, you know, it definitely means a lot to have the respect of your peers and to matter to your region. You know, that’s what’s most important to me. It looks so hollow without that.
CJ: Word. So what’s it like growing up listening to, like, E-40 and Too $hort, you know Bay Area legends, and then being able to collaborate with them both on the same album?
G: Yeah, no, same thing. I mean, like, that’s the biggest return to me. Like I said, it’s having the respect of your peers and your O.G.’s and your heroes. That’s been the most surreal part about it, when I was making these dreams, you have, you know…when you’re a youngster growing up starting to make music, just being a fan of these people, to actually getting to work with them and have them on your album and share that mutual respect and have those conversations and spend that time. Like, that’s what’s the dopest to me.
CJ: Damn, cool. So you got a tour planned to promote this album. What’s it like preparing for a world tour?
G: Haha. Grab the moments of peace and quiet while you can cuz you’re not gonna get many more of them for the next six months or so. Once the tour starts, you buckle up and you hang on, and it’s like hyper speed for six months. I mean, we pretty much go everywhere there is to go. So it’s exciting man, I mean, it’s like you make music in this closed off room, in the studio, you know it only exists there. And then you release it and the numbers tell you, obviously, the people out there are listening to it, but it’s kind of hard to comprehend what those numbers mean. You can read the tweets, you know, and the comments and the reviews and that gives you some kind of sense of, like, how far the music travels. But, it’s not until you’re actually on the road, and you’re like a million miles from home, and there’s like people lining up outside of the venue, like, waiting to get in. It stands to the music, this shit’s a trip. Just the power of music and how far it can travel and its ability to bring people together
CJ: On that tour you’ve got a few shows lined up for Australia. That’s actually where we’re based out of. So what’s your experience been like performing there? Like performing and just visiting there, you know, as a country?
G: Yeah, I mean it’s a beautiful country. I would have stayed twice as long and just kicked it if I had the time to. It’s a beautiful place to visit, and as far as performing goes, I feel like the energy was on a whole nother level out there. Every show felt like some, you know, 70’s or 80’s punk rock show or something. I don’t know, they just, they don’t give a fuck out there. Sometimes, in the U.S., people are scared to like get dirty or get their shoes stepped on or something, but in Australia it’s like the bucket was full blown. The fans were so much louder and crazier. It was dope.
CJ: That’s crazy. So I read that you graduated college studying the music industry. Could you tell me some things that you learned in those classes?
G: It was about building a brand and an identity. Like being yourself but figuring what it is that makes you different. ‘Cuz that’s the only way that you’re gonna cut through the noise. I mean it’s hard, it really is hard to make it in music. You definitely can’t make it if you sound and look just like everybody else, if nothing sets you apart.
CJ: For sure. And you think that having the knowledge from that specific degree has helped you a lot in your career thus far?
G: Yeah, in a sense. I think what helped the most was building my team. Like, I met my managers down there. I met the kid who shot my very first music video down there. Just being in that community of other like-minded people my age, who, wanted to make it too. It definitely helped. You can take whatever class, you can learn whatever strategy you want, but you have to have it in you and you have to have a strong sense of self to begin with. Like no strategy could, you know, grow something from nothing. You have to have it at the end of the day.
CJ: Yeah that makes sense. So in your earlier music, you pretty much produced on all your songs. So how’s it been kind of recently collaborating with other producers to craft your songs? Do you still kind of have that executive control over producing?
G: It’s really dope. Yeah I’m still involved, in a sense, but like…you know I think everybody’s got their thing that they have dedicated all of their hours and all their commitment to, you know what I mean? Like, I used to make beats, but then it’s like, okay I kind of fell back, you know, to work with people who are 100 percent dedicated to that. Like, who weren’t also rappers, who weren’t also performers, who weren’t also writers. And it’s like, having that background as a producer let’s me communicate with them, in terms of what I want, ‘cuz I have an ear for sound, and for chords, you know, and for drum patterns and for melodies. But it’s like, maybe they’re better at executing those ideas than I am because they spend more of their time dedicating just to that, their technique and abilities. I mean, it was dope getting to work with other producers, it’s like everybody’s got a different vibe, a different skill set, a different perspective. But me being able to communicate what I actually wanted, you know, to really count on the people to be able to execute that, was like the best of both worlds.
CJ: Yee. So you’ve performed at various festivals like Lollapalooza and Outside Lands, etc. What’s your experience been like playing at, you know, big ass festivals like that?
G: Ahhhh man, it’s lit.
G: I mean, festivals are crazy ‘cuz they’re just like fans of music in general, you know what I mean? Like people who aren’t necessarily fans of one kind of artist or one kind of genre, you know, they’re just fans of live music in general. There’s a different kind of energy. And it’s like a massive crowd, ‘cuz a lot of people go just to discover stuff, they’re like ‘ah man I’ve heard of this artist before, maybe I’m not too familiar with the music or I know a song or two I’m just gonna go check them out.’ At Outside Lands, I’m like playing in front of 40,000 people, it was insane.
CJ: Sure. Let’s see, could you tell me about a collaboration that you would like to do, with any type of artist or whatever?
G: John Lennon. John Lennon and 2Pac.
CJ: Why John Lennon?
G: ‘Cuz I’m a really big Beatles fan and he was my favorite member.
CJ: For sure. Alright man, last one’s a little bit random. What’s your favorite food joint back in Oak Town?
G: It’s actually in Berkeley. Gordo’s Taqueria. Gordo’s. Or Pizza Man in downtown Oakland.
CJ: Fasho, well thanks for your time Gerald. I appreciate it, bro.
G: Alright, bro. Peace
Through our conversation, I noticed that G-Eazy is a humble, hard-working individual that seems to be currently living his dream. With several references to his team and label backing him, the rapper clearly understands his success beyond the scope of solely his music. Although not the archetypal bay area rapper, G-Eazy has been putting it on for the Bay on a mainstream level, and for that I respect him and his grind; earning the respect of both residents and legends alike.
G is hitting up the annual Snowglobe Festival this week and is currently planning a worldwide “When It’s Dark Out Tour” to promote his newest album alongside A$AP Ferg, Marc E Bassy and Nef The Pharaoh. Check out the dates here and stay updated with the rapper: Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Website