Must be nice being 23-year-old Gerald Gillum—better known by his stage name, G-Eazy. The Bay Area-bred rapper is on a relentless mission to bring his doo wop-inspired sound to hip-hop, and is embarking on a cross-country tour to do so. Amidst the screaming young girls in tube tops and pencil skirts at the Highline Ballroom, VIBE got the chance to catch up with the neo rat pack rapper they call G-Eazy.
VIBE: When did you fall in love with hip-hop?
G-Eazy: Probably 13 years old. I was riding the bus to school everyday listening to A Tribe Called Quest. It was around the time I first started making beats. I’d come home everyday after school with all my homies and we’d just set up shop in my room. I saved up and got a little microphone and we’d just work everyday after school. It was an exciting experience to be that young and be able to record something after school, burn it on a CD, take it to school, pass it to a girl in class, and be like, ‘Check out my music.’ It was around that time I really got into it, and it just never went away.
Who were some of your influences at that age? Who are they now?
That age, it was definitely Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Tupac, & Mac Dre. Growing up in the bay, Mac Dre was a massive influence. He was everybody’s favorite rapper. [He had] the whole scene going on in The Bay. Nowadays, it’s everybody from John Lennon to Jonny Cash to everybody that’s new that’s out—A$AP Rocky, Schoolboy Q, & Kendrick Lamar obviously. His new record’s amazing.
How would you describe your current sound?
It’s kinda tough to just put it in one box. A sound that I really like to work with is doo-wop 50’s pop meets contemporary rap. At the same time, I would never want to be just pigeon-holed into that one specific sound. You know, I‘m trying to push that forward and experiment in new ways.
(Read on to find out how graduating from Loyola University and being from Oakland influenced his style)