“When I moved here it was 2007, mixtape Weezy in his prime,” said prolific rapper, songwriter and producer, Gerald Earl Gillum, or G-Eazy. “You’d go to any bar and people knew all the mixtape songs word for word! Lil Wayne played Voodoo Fest the first year I ever went.”
G-Eazy grew up in Oakland, California but came to New Orleans in 2007 to attend Loyola University’s Music Industry Studies program. Up until that point, G-Eazy was most influenced by Bay Area artists, and moving to New Orleans expanded his sound. Though his roots are still firmly in Northern California’s hyphy movement, he learned from Southern artists like Lil Wayne, and today his flow is sophisticated and his lyrics purposeful. G-Eazy’s sound has been compared to Drake and called “indie-rap.”
“I always wanted to do my own thing whether it’s producing my own songs or dressing my own way,” he said. G-Eazy’s look has been compared to Elvis and James Dean, and fans have begun to recognize him for his black clothes, slicked-back hair, and generally dapper appearance: a look that adds “a touch of class” to hip-hop.
In 2011, G-Eazy had his first big break when he released The Endless Summer mixtape, which earned him the chance to open for Lil Wayne and Drake.
During his 2012 Warped Tour, G-Eazy wrote, recorded, and produced his first full-length album, Must Be Nice, completely independent of a record label. He earned the No. 3 spot on the iTunes Hip-Hop Chart, and in 2013, he completed his first headline tour, selling out in cities all across the country.
In June of 2014, G-Eazy released his newest album, These Things Happen, this time in partnership with RCA Records. These Things Happen stayed put at No. 3 on Billboard’s Album Charts for 18 weeks. Shortly after, G-Eazy began his second national tour. He will return to New Orleans to play at Buku Music + Art Project on Saturday, March 14.
“I hope to connect with people,” G-Eazy said. “If the music inspires someone, that’s incredible. It’s about a deeper relationship with the listener that hopefully lasts a long time. You’re with me now.”
20 Questions with G-Eazy
1. Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined?
Lil Wayne! He is one of my favorite rappers ever.
2. What first brought you to New Orleans?
School. I was not very gung-ho about the idea of college when I finished high school. I just wanted to stay in the Bay Area and work on my music, but my mom pushed me to apply. I met with John Snyder, the head of Music Industry Studies at Loyola, and we just clicked. I warmed up to the idea of college and really fell in love with the city.
3. In your opinion – what’s the best neighborhood in New Orleans?
Who wouldn’t wanna live in the Garden District?
4. City Park or Audubon Park?
I spent more time at Audubon Park, so I’ll have to go with that.
5. Describe the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans?
That’s really hard.
6. Where’s your favorite brunch spot?
I didn’t ever wake up in time for brunch! But I like Surrey’s.
7. What’s your favorite po-boy? Where do you go to get it?
I gotta keep it real. I’m not a sandwich person at all so I never fell in love with po-boys. But I do like a hot sausage po-boy sometimes.
8. You’ve got friends visiting and it’s their first time in New Orleans – where are you taking them?
The Saint! I love The Saint.
9. What’s your favorite neighborhood bar?
10. What is your favorite New Orleans cocktail and where do you go to get it?
I like Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs. Bellocq is really dope.
11. Snowball or Daiquiri? Where from and what flavor?
Snowball. I like sour stuff so I get lime or green apple. Plum Street Snowballs is the best. I’m not really a daiquiri guy – I’d rather just have a great cocktail.
12. Best spot to see live music?
13. Favorite New Orleans musician or band?
Lil Wayne, Trombone Shorty.
14. Favorite New Orleans Festival?
Voodoo Music Experience. I love Halloween, and I love that time of year. Voodoo was the the first music festival I ever went to. I think we snuck in, and it was one of the best times of my life.
15. Favorite Mardi Gras parade?
I don’t know… they’re all great!
16. Where do you shop in New Orleans?
17. What is your favorite New Orleans museum?
18. Where do you go to watch The Saints play?
I regret never watching a game at the Prytania Theatre. A couple of my friends did that. But usually just at a friend’s house.
19. Describe New Orleans in one word.
Bourbon. (But with no connection to Bourbon Street.)
20. When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans and why?
Just the other day. We had a day off on tour, and we stopped through New Orleans. We walked around Audubon Park, got oysters and martinis downtown, went to The Saint … it was pretty great!