In our second instalment of StyleProfiles, the SD team had the opportunity to catch up with the ever-stylish California-based rapper G-Eazy. Shortly after this interview, G-Eazy released his newest album These Things Happen, which nabbed the #3 spot on the Billboard 200. Take a peak at one of his newest videos and and the interview below. * Please note: Strong language in the music video and interview
SD: First off, congratulations on the new album. For our readers who have never heard of G-Eazy, can you give them a breakdown of your back story.
G-Eazy: I’m from the Bay Area [California], and that’s an influence in my music. The Hypee shit is what I grew up on, [rappers like] E-40, Keak da Sneak. But then I moved to New Orleans for college, when Lil’ Wayne was really hot. I got wrapped up into that southern hip-hop culture and soaked all that up. I’ve been pretty much DIY my whole career. I’ve built a really organic internet grown following through free mixtapes, tons of touring, and social media. Now with the new record, it’s reaching a new and exciting level that I’ve been looking forward to. It’s kind of like a tipping point.
SD: Breaking into the hip-hop industry, especially in California, is hard enough. You did it while you were in school and you managed to get your degree. How tough was that for you?
G- Eazy: I think it’s really about consistency. Not releasing something and then disappearing. Especially in today’s internet era, it’s constantly releasing stuff and maintaining a presence on the blog and within the culture. In terms of school, I think people get it twisted. They’re all like “Yo, how did you balance school and music and all this?” It’s not like I was getting A’s – I figured out how to do enough to get by. The thing about college is you have so much free time. Most kids spend their time smoking cigarettes and kickin’ it in the quad, or going out every night. Me, personally, I didn’t go out that much. I spent most of my time in my dorm, in the studio working. I knew when I was done school I wanted to hit the ground running. Take your free time and set yourself up, so you won’t be fucked and have to work a job you don’t like.
SD: Respect. I’ve noticed that you’re really big on social media – you have a huge Instagram following. How do you look at social media as an up-and-coming artist?
G- Eazy: It’s just where the conversation is. It’s where people are and you have to hit people where people are. You just have to connect. That’s how you build a relationship with the fans, not just talking and tweeting to them. It’s about giving them content on social media. We’ve released a fuck ton of music videos and shared them online. Then the fans take that and turn that content into their own conversations. Tagging people, sharing the content with them.
SD: Do you think you’d be where you are today without the advent of social media?
G-Eazy: Well I think in the older days it wasn’t so possible without the internet to break down the barrier to entry. You needed a major label and even then your hopes were slim. Just because you’re signed to a label doesn’t mean you’ve made it… It’s hard to say, because I don’t necessarily fit the typecast, formula or particular look of what a label would be looking for to fill a rap act before the internet era. the internet changed everything – it made it possible for everybody. You don’t have to fit a format. If you build something on your own and build it slowly or organically, it’s your world you can do what you want to.
SD: Talking about your look and style. Every time I see one of your photos your style game is on point. Where does your fashion influence come from.
G-Eazy: A lot of the influences are just classic – mid century – timeless cool. James Dean. Elvis. There is classic rock n’ roll, classic pop-culture – but then contrasting that with contemporary minimalist – wearing all black. I think you need a couple of really good quality pieces that you can wear with everything. Quality shit that looks good on you, as opposed to just buying shit because of the brand or the price point.
SD: What are some of your favourite brands or pieces you have in your rotation right now?
G-Eazy: I’ve got this Burberry leather trench coat that’s ridiculous that I love. As a rapper or an artist in any form really, you have this freedom to become larger than life – to become a character. To become a super hero or villain – that [Burberry] jacket is definitely that. My favourite brands right now? I’m good friends with The Brooklyn Circus dudes. They have that classic, almost like early 1900’s ivy league, varsity jackets and great denim and oxford shirts. Another one of my favourite brands is I Love Ugly, and then I love stuff from the world of streetwear like Supreme and shit like that.
SD: You were in Toronto this past march, what did you love about the city?
G-Eazy: Yo Toronto! It’s just… maybe I’ve only seen the cool parts of it, but there is a really clean cool aesthetic too it. From the store fronts and the signange. There are cool book shops and boutiques and great streetwear shops. It really feels like a stylish place.
SD: The album comes out on Monday, what’s the first thing your’e going to do when the album drops?
G-Eazy: Drink my weight in whisky! It’s weird… It’s such a moment. We worked for so long and hard on this project, and it’s all leading up to this day. In today’s world where things move so fast, I just hope that the album makes a lasting impression and it’s not just about the first day or the first week. it’s about the big picture and long term, I want this album to leave a lasting impression on people.
Featured Image: Dane Burns – daneburnsphotography