2014 has witnessed the rise and rise of G-Eazy; a string of solid independent mixtape releases and years of hard work lead to slots opening for some of the biggest names in rap; namely Drake, Kanye West and Snoop Dogg. With his increasingly anticipated album These Things Happen pending release on June 23rd (July 21st in U.K) we caught up with him just before his show at London venue XOYO last Sunday, at a point where it seems everything is about to click for the Oakland rapper - now frequently referred to as the rap game James Dean; an accolade in itself, it's these type of comparisons that seems to make his pending plans for world domination all the more credible. After ten minutes with the man himself, it becomes abundantly clear that G is an artist on the cusp of something sensational.
You can catch G-Eazy on both sides of the Atlantic in the coming weeks; first off at Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE on June 22nd and then back in the U.K at both Wireless Festival dates in Birmingham on July 5th and London on July 6th. You can also pre-order These Things Happen via. his iTunes - if you're going to buy one hip hop album this year, this hast to be it.
EARMILK: Firstly, welcome to England… Are you enjoying it?
G-Eazy: I’m loving it, man. I’m ready to move out here; it’s probably my favourite stop on the whole Europe tour – although I've said that about everywhere I've been so far…
EM: Safe to say, things are going very well for you at the moment...
GE: It’s all a process, man!
EM: Over the last 12 months it seems things have gone to the next level though?
GE: Yeah, it’s like we’ve always had a philosophy and work ethic and the same perspective on this music shit, since the beginning: it’s all about consistency I think. I think if you just do one thing here and throw a music video out, or you do one tour and you don’t go back out for a while, you throw a great mixtape out but you don’t follow it up with anything – that’s like a random act of improvement. We’ve just been trying to never let that happen and stay consistent and just keep working and chipping away at everything.
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EM: Endless Summer seems to be a mixtape that introduced you to a lot of people and before that was The Outsider – you made these two mixtapes while you were in college, didn’t you?
GE: Really out of desperation! Yeah... I had to hit the ground running; I was going to graduate school and I was like – just terrified of being a bum; I think especially in today’s day and age, it’s hard as shit to get a job, man and a college degree doesn't really mean shit anymore. So I was like “How am I going to set myself up to at least make a living at this”. Because time is money – I know that’s a cliché but it took me a year and a half to make These Things Happen. Regardless [of]if it was ever inside of me or not – I knew it always was – but if I didn't have that year and a half to make it then it never would have transpired and come into existence.
EM: So can you pin point an age or a time where you thought “I’m going to do this properly and become a rapper”?
GE: Man… I was thirteen, I’d made my first song and I was like, “I wanna be Jay-Z, I wanna be Kanye, I wanna be Eminem!”
EM: Well you've named a few rappers there which brings us nicely onto one of the most generic of interview questions; who would you say has been the biggest influences for you?
GE: Um, I think my biggest five influences, as far as rap goes – and these aren't necessarily my favourite rappers – but influences: Drake, Kanye, Eminem, Jay-Z and Lil’ Wayne… Whereas Nas is my favourite rapper; Illmatic is my favorite album - period - and it’s the greatest creative contribution to hip hop’s culture, ever – hands down. But, I don’t necessarily channel as much Nas as Kanye or Drake.
EM: Okay, well on the subject of Drake and Lil’ Wayne; you’ve opened for these guys as well as Snoop Dogg and referred to a learning process – have they given you any advice? Or is there anything you've taken from them directly?
GE: I think the best advice can just come from watching and learning and – y’know, studying the game; studying how they make moves and their whole strategy to have built what they've built. And it’s not all that secretive; you can look at their track record and what they've done with this track here and that track there to make it all click together for them, and [make] their own grand scheme make sense.
EM: Which rappers are you listening to at the moment?
GE: Always Nas! Childish Gambino’s album was tight too – that was a really really solid album and everything Drake’s been putting out is crazy, like all the free shit, especially 0 to 100.
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EM: And you’ve recently worked with A$AP Ferg and an up and coming English artist Danny Seth on the track “Lotta That”, how did collaborating with Danny Seth come about?
GE: Man, Danny’s a fuckin star – that’s my brother, straight up. I believe in him 100%. I met him in L.A through a friend, actually through Jamil (Davis) who’s my manager and he was like “Have you heard of Danny Seth Yet?” So anytime you hear a question like that you think – okay, I need to know about this kid. So I go and look him up and he’s just – his swag is just crazy…his music is awesome and flow is stupid! So we meet, get fucked up and just clicked and that’s been my brother ever since. It’s kind of like, well, my perspective on collab’s and hip-hop is not so much like, just because I have a relationship with someone and I need to hurry up and get a song out of it; I mean, I could be best friends with Kanye, y’know? But if I didn’t have the song that made sense, then it wouldn’t make any sense to do that, y’know what I mean?
So you’ve got to wait for the right record and it’s got to make sense creatively as opposed to just being motivated politically off of your relationships and the strength of those. So I waited and I was playing the new album, I played him “Lotta That” and he just flipped out. Then I was like, “I think this is gonna be a good one for you to jump on”. When he did and sent me the verse, I flipped out and was like what the fuck – this dude’s an animal, you’re crazy! Now that I’ve kind of got something of a platform going, it’s cool to be able to put other people on to new talent, people they may have not heard of and just bring certain talents to a new audience.
EM: So with this platform you’ve established off the back of these last mixtapes, are you feeling a lot of pressure to deliver on the verge of your album being released?
GE: Yeah of course, I have to live up to the pressure! It’s kind of like you get one shot [laughs] I know that sounds corny – “One opportunity… arms are heavy… Mom’s spaghetti….on his sweater already”. Nah, but what I mean by that is you have one impression on these people. You know what I mean? People don’t really have that attention span anymore; it’s fuckin’ 2014 and the internet moves fast as fuck and there’s so many fucking rappers, there’s so many artists out there in the world. And you work so hard to get yourself in this position and y’know… you don’t want to fuck it up. That ‘debut album’ concept or title – whatever you want to call it – is like where they say “okay I’ll give this guy a chance; this is his debut album, he put a year and a half into this, I've heard his name before and I’ll give him a chance. If it sucks then you've lost me – I’m probably not going to check your next shit and I’m not going to listen out for you.” So to be in a position where people are checking for me and paying attention to what I’m doing and watching me – I don’t wanna fuck that up, we fucking went hard!
EM: Okay, so let’s say hypothetically you did “fuck up” and you weren't doing music now, what do you think you would be doing now?
GE: Pshh, I’d be a bum… I’d be begging! Man, I don’t even know – I can’t really tell you because I didn’t have a back-up plan. You know there was never really a plan B in case this didn’t work. The only thing I ever thought of, actually it was more of a nightmare, was having to go and fucking work at the Apple store or some shit.
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EM: Thankfully it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case anytime soon…lastly then, having toured Europe shortly and on the verge of your album release, what’s next for you? Where would you like to be looking back in a year’s time?
GE: I mean, I always say I want to take over the world…”Same thing we do every night Pinky, try to take over the world”. But at the same time, it’s like…I think it’s important to pace yourself; I’ve always wanted to be huge and to be the biggest in the business, but you don’t really want to blow up too fast either. You've got to let people grow with the music and take it one step at a time – that’s how where continue to grow and evolve as an artist.
EM: Well for taking some time out with us before the show, good luck with tonight and all the best with These Things Happen.