Making Rap Look G-Eazy
G-Easy’s slick back hair and suave style may separate him from the bunch, but it’s his music - Filled with social commentary, witty humour, and deeply personal accounts from his life and childhood- that truly define him as a talented and respected rap artist.
By Riccardo Tucci
When you’re performing as G-Eazy, is there a difference between who’s on stage rapping and who you are one on one?
I mean, yes and no. In a sense I’m an entertainer, anybody in this industry is, but my music’s really honest, it’s a way of expressing myself, it’s me and all my different personalities. There’s definitely an on-stage G and a day to day G. And there’s also just me when the sun is out and when it’s dark out.
You’re very much into fashion and you have a unique look that sets you apart from many hip-hop artists. How has your sense of style developed and what does it say about you?
I don’t know man, I kind of just like what I like! I wear a lot of black, I like the idea of a uniform. I’m wearing the same thing almost every single day of the year. It makes for one less decision to think about everyday, and it kind of brands you as a character.
I wear my skinny black jeans, black t-shirt and leather jacket. It’s a mix of mid century classic styles, a motorcycle jacket, varsity jacket with jeans and a t-shirt. I also like to mix in contemporary street brands like Supreme and Palace.
You collaborated with Rare Panther to release a collection of clothes and accessories. Do you see yourself collaborating with more brands, or maybe even starting your own in the future?
Absolutely, I think there’s a lot of space for that. It’s all about finding ways to keep it “you”. If I do collab (sic) for a company, I find that middle ground, just in terms of sensibilities and aesthetics. I did one with Ebbets Field because I think they make really high quality vintage baseball-inspired garments. So you pick and choose, and it’s all about being inspired and working with people you genuinely fuck with.
You have said you always wanted to be a musician, that it was your only goal from the beginning. Had music not been an option, what other field of work would you be pursuing and why?
I would probably be a bum. I would have an old McDonald's cup and I would be asking for change. I had a job from the time I was old enough to work, and I just hated it! I hated sitting there doing monotonous shit over and over again. There was never anything but music for me. I wanted to travel the world and create, and share what I’ve created with an audience and just perform it for them. That’s the dream I fell in love with, and I never let go of it.
What’s the creative process like when you’re writing and recording a track? How do you get from an idea to a finished song?
Man, well it’s all about the spark, the initial idea. And like, 9 times out of 10, it comes the instant I hear the beat (that’s if I’m working with another producer and not looking to do it myself). It’s just intuitive.
Sometimes I’ll be listening and mumble five words and it just comes out of nowhere. Once I’m latched onto a concept I keep mumbling it until I write verses and just record it right there. I think of that like a skeleton, a rough sketch of the song, and then I’m really into fine-tuning, production, and sound selection. I look at the mix and where all the different types of songs fit in the mix, and how it feels as a finished song. Eighty percent of it will be done the night I start it, but from there it’s all the fine-tuning and tweaking.
DTK: Do you have any special rituals before you got out on stage?
Yeah, I drink whiskey! And I shoot heroin, I smoke crack, but I don’t smoke pot (laughs). No, I don’t do the other stuff, but I really do drink whiskey. I start drinking exactly one hour before I need to be on stage, never more, never less, and then right before I go on stage I’ll have a Red Bull. And all day I just chug water; I drink like 15 bottles of water a day.
DTK: Your music videos have been watched millions of times. The video for “I Mean It” has a more comical approach, whereas your video for “Tumblr Girls”, is very raw and even a social commentary. How involved are you in the conception and the direction of your music videos?
I directed a couple of videos, way back in the day, like in college, and I edited them. I know how to shoot film too. So when I communicate with directors I always have this vocabulary where I can articulate what I like and what I don’t, what kind of feel I’m looking for. I just care a lot, and I want everything to be as great as it can be.
Your newest album When It’s Dark Out was released in December. What was it like producing this album, and what type of sounds and themes did you want to explore with it?
It’s fucking amazing. Man, I worked my ass off for this album, and it’s definitely the best I’ve ever made. I barely left the studio at all; I wanted to make the best body of work I could possibly make.
It’s definitely darker than the last record, in a number of ways, and that can be interpreted in numerous ways. Musically, just the vibe, there are moments it almost feels like a movie score from a Batman or a Tim Burton movie. It’s got a more sinister tone to it musically. In terms of themes and concepts, it’s really open and really fucking vulnerable and honest. And I just decided to go there and open up and let the listeners in.
You got to work with Chris Brown and Big Sean on this album, what was that like for you?
It was fucking incredible! It was a dream come true. These are artists that I admire a great deal, and just to be able to have them featured on my album was a blessing.
What’s the tour looking like for this album so far?
I started January 6th and I’m never coming home! Seriously, I’m doing a world tour and I’m heading to Europe, Australia, Canada, and all across the US, so I’m probably never coming home.
G-Easy is presently on a whirlwind tour of Europe after which he will perform across the United States. He returns to Canada this summer when he kicks of the G-Eazy & Logic: The Endless Summer Tour at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto on July 24.