Oakland-born, NOLA transplant G-Eazy is tearing. it. up. On the brink of his first national tour (Vans Warped Tour starts this weekend – and we’re giving away tickets here), the straight-out-of-college rapper is about to hit it big. Having opened for Lil Wayne, Drake, A$VP and more – he’s at the top of our list of “ones to watch.” We chopped it up with the homie about the origins of his name, highschool, summer memories – and his funeral (obviously).
Heather: Introduce yourself. Who are you?
G-EAZY: My name’s Gerald, I rap under the name G-Eazy, and I’m from Oakland, CA. I got into making beats and writing raps when I was around 13. I was intrigued by the idea that I could make a song at home, burn it onto a CD and show it to people at school. Now, as you can see, it has become more than a hobby…
H: What led to your stage name “G-Eazy”? There are a lot of G’s in your name…
G: Well I went by GE as a kid… Those are my initials of my first and middle name. GE just kinda grew into G-Eazy.
H: Most people know you from your “The Endless Summer” mixtape – what’s your favorite summer memory?
G: Quite honestly, my favorite summer memory would have to be last summer, when I was making that album… I had just graduated and I was living out a dream I had looked forward to for years – being done with school, and able to work in the studio full time while not having to go get a regular job. It was awesome… no stress, no pressure.
G: It’s tough to pick what I’m most excited about, I mean I’ve been looking forward to this tour for 6 months ever since they booked me for it. It’s gonna be nice being on a bus for that long… But I’m really just excited to play everywhere and meet fans everyday.
H: Vanity Fair asked this awesome question on Twitter today that I’ll extend to you – If you could peek in on your own funeral, what would you be most curious about?
G: Haha. Probably who would show up and who wouldn’t. I don’t know that’s an odd question. Yeah I’d be curious if it was poppin’ or not, like if a million people came or if it was a thin crowd.
H: How do you feel about being called the James Dean of Hip Hop?
G: I think it’s an interesting comparison, but I mean, he’s an icon. His impact on pop culture was something I could only ever aspire to reach. He’s a legend; girls have been in love with him for decades, I mean that’s trill as fuck.
H: What were you like in high school?
G: I didn’t participate much in class, I was always in the back row either flirting with a girl or taking a nap. I didn’t really get good grades, but my teachers always knew I was smart. They realized I had an ability to focus, but was just never really able to apply it to my schoolwork.
H: Did you get along with your parents or was it a Teenage Rebel kind of situation?
G: I got in quite a bit of trouble in high school, so I guess it was more of a rebel kind of a situation [ed note: me too!]. But my mom was always supportive of me, even at the worst of times, like coming to visit me in juvenile hall, or while I was on ankle monitor. She understood how passionate I was about music and always supported me.
H: Which experience was crazier: opening for Drake, Lil Wayne, or A$ap?
G: That’s a really tough question… I’d probably have to say Wayne just because the after parties were the craziest. But both Wayne and Drake put on phenomenal live shows, everything about their sets are so dialed in and tight… Everything from the band, to the production, to the sound, etc…
H: Give us the ultimate ‘60s-inspired playlist
G: Simon & Garfunkel “Mrs. Robinson” – The Beatles “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” – Johnny Cash “Ballad of a teenage queen” – The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” – The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever”
H: You’re working on a new album. What can we expect? Any hints you can give us?
G: It’s all original, meaning I’m not using any samples, so that’s really exciting for me. I feel like this project shows my growth not just as a rapper, but as a musician, because it’s been a challenge to write all the music from scratch. As far as the vibe and the subject matter, it’s definitely darker than most of my past work.
H: How do you think the Bay Area has affected your music & aesthetic? How about New Orleans?
G: When I was growing up in the Bay Area, the hyphy movement was very real. There was a strong local rap scene, we had our own slang, our own style, and all of that was a huge influence on me. Mac Dre was everybody’s favorite rapper at the time, and I wanted to make stuff like that, so I think early on the influence was much more noticeable. But then moving to New Orleans really broadened my horizons. I learned about bounce music, and got hip to the culture down here, which changed my perspective a bit. But really to be honest, the internet had as much to do with my development as anything else.
H: Describe your style.
G: I think my style revolves around the philosophy that less is more, that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. That goes for my taste in design and in clothes, and even affects the way I approach music. I’m all about keeping things simple, and minimal, but being able to convey something powerful through that approach.
H: Describe what you’re all about in three words.
G: Hard work pays… umm, off.
H: What’s the best thing in your curated sale?
G: Definitely the Amongst Friends pieces. I like that brand a lot.