by christina lee
pictures by chad griffith
styling by anastasia walker
grooming by jenny sauce
At first, life at Gerryland—what G-Eazy calls his Hollywood Hills villa, with its reclaimed wooden beams—isn’t fairly what I imagined. For our Zoom name in October, his trademark slicked-back hair is hidden beneath a black Oakland Athletics cap. And when he instructs a chef exterior the body to prime his late lunch with “numerous sesame seeds,” that lunch seems to be a bowl of instantaneous ramen. His favourite toppings are cayenne pepper, Sriracha, crushed purple pepper flakes, black pepper and Tony Chachere’s Unique Creole Seasoning. “I’d simply crack an egg in it,” he says, like somebody who knew of this trick earlier than it’d be known as a “ramen hack.”
However the multi platinum-selling rapper behind “Me, Myself & I,” “Him & I,” and “No Restrict” additionally sits his wicker eating chair in entrance of a wall-sized graphic ink piece by Los Angeles artist Kai, a good friend of his. Kai’s signature 3D stickman, “If,” is buoyed by a heart-shaped balloon with one arm, and tethered to the bottom by a bag of cash with the opposite—“torn between love and success,” G-Eazy explains. The piece is immediately recognizable as a result of it’s what G-Eazy has inked on his left rib cage, having mulled over the non-public sacrifice he’s made as a public determine all through his profession.
For individuals who didn’t personally bear witness to his ascent in Oakland, the place the artist born Gerald Earl Gillum grew up, G-Eazy’s success story started along with his 2014 main label debut “These Issues Occur.” That’s when he first discovered the best way to paint himself as a tragic hero, as a “trendy Gatsby chasing Daisy.” Hometown hero E-40 grew to become a collaborator and famous cosign. His self-made success noticed dividends the music trade couldn’t ignore, like outselling Phish the primary week, irrespective of how anybody felt about his artistry, rap cred or whiteness.
G-Eazy by no means got down to revisit that point, a lot much less by means of an album sequel like “These Issues Occur Too,” launched in September. “I cringe once I take heed to the primary one,” he says. “I’ve a really arduous time listening to any of my music as soon as it’s launched. I really feel like I’m all the time pushing myself to get higher, in each method that’s technical, as a result of that’s all you possibly can actually management.” However, as somebody who just lately obtained a yin-yang image tattooed on his elbow, he can’t assist however fixate on life’s dualities. Like being torn between love and success. Or how the results of fame can sound extra glamorous than they really are.
“From the Bay to the universe” grew to become his private slogan again in 2014. “[‘These Things Happen Too’] is the spaceship touchdown again residence,” G-Eazy says. “A bit of banged up and bruised, however with tales to inform.”
On the floor, “All the things is All the things” that includes Goody Grace—the primary track G-Eazy recorded for his new album—is a narrative we’ve heard from him earlier than, about how fame sabotages the relationships he ought to preserve shut. However the traces “Let’s get misplaced, you took to coronary heart the phrases I sang you / I suppose heights like these ain’t obtained the identical view” are a throwback to 2014, when G-Eazy featured Devon Baldwin—the eventual singer behind “Heights Like These”—on the platinum-selling “Let’s Get Misplaced.” (He and Baldwin have dated earlier than, although they nonetheless collaborate to at the present time, together with on “These Issues Occur Too.”) “That’s the place I began to put out the idea of this reflective journey I wished to construct with this album,” he says.
That journey wasn’t made utterly apparent when G-Eazy kicked off this album period. In spring 2020, he launched “Nonetheless Be Buddies,” a bawdy get together rap track that includes Tory Lanez and Tyga the place he boasts, “Playboy mansion? I’m residence.” The music video—which G-Eazy says was the final to acquire a LA movie allow earlier than the pandemic—picks up from the place “BET Uncut” left off, in additional methods than one. Whereas each variations function porn stars like Nia Nacci and Mia Melano, Pornhub hosts an uncensored model with 3 million views, on prime of the clear model’s 37 million on YouTube.
On the time, G-Eazy performed off this simultaneous launch as a savvy enterprise transfer, citing a COVID-19 spike in site visitors to grownup websites “with everybody having to remain inside.” Behind the scenes, although, he regards “Nonetheless Be Buddies” as an artifact of the earlier than instances.
“At the moment, I nonetheless had plans to launch the album, as a result of a model of it was just about completed and able to go,” G-Eazy says, “however when unexpectedly the world shuts down, you reevaluate. You decelerate your plans to launch an album since you don’t know what world you’re releasing it to. The factor about ‘Nonetheless Be Buddies’ is that it’s a membership track, but when there aren’t any golf equipment for a track like that to reside in… its possibilities of succeeding are totally different.”
G-Eazy has to remind himself of what lockdown in the end afforded him. First, he calls the pandemic a interval of “pressured reflection,” earlier than he backtracks barely. “COVID provided plenty of time for self-reflection. The deeper I obtained into the method of this album, you simply begin to uncover these layers and try the choices you’ve made all through your profession and life, take into consideration among the penalties.”
“These Issues Occur Too” might simply have been a victory lap, nothing however fan service. The brand new album boasts a trailer narrated by Marshawn Lynch, who G-Eazy is on a texting foundation with after not having the ability to afford Oakland Raiders tickets rising up. He circles again with artists like one-time tourmate Lil Wayne in “When You’re Gone” and E-40 in “Now & Later,” besides now he sounds extra like a rap trade peer than somebody who wants the cosign. In “Velocity” he interpolates Cake’s 1996 track “The Distance,” and it’s higher than it has any proper to be. Sure, on this Instagram age, there’s a “Tumblr Ladies” sequel.
However the battle scars are what make the album compelling. Fifth observe “Wanna Be Myself” affords a before-after picture: “I began this shit 10 years in the past, it was simply me and my supervisor / on the street, doin’ any reveals, we was fillin’ up this calendar / however Matty’s married now and it’s a complete ’nother chapter / whereas I’m in Gerryland, I’m nonetheless right here wildin’ as a bachelor.”
In comparison with the nameless intercourse that usually animates his music, “These Issues Occur Too” will get particular. He calls himself a cheater a number of instances, which stands out, if solely due to the accusation ex-partner Halsey had written on the partitions of their 2019 “Saturday Night time Dwell” efficiency. In his “Breakdown” video, he and featured artist Demi Lovato actually face the headlines they’ve made, over their relationship lives, previous arrests, drug convictions and addictions.
The album’s largest reckonings with fame are addressed to the late Mac Miller. The second verse of “Time” is a letter to the man rapper dated seven months after his 2018 dying of an unintentional overdose. He confesses how he used to envy Miller’s profession: “See us two white boys rappin’, felt like they’d all the time examine us / besides you’d promote out reveals the world over, from Oakland to Paris.”
“There’s a little bit of jealousy and competitiveness that comes naturally in our trade,” G-Eazy says. “Most of us are alpha sorts. We reside lives that revolve round us; staffs of individuals work behind the scenes tirelessly to carry you greater. We’re all pushed, and we all know how uncommon and fickle success is on this trade. However he was somebody who was there for me as a good friend.”
As candy as that sentiment is, it’s additionally an understatement, in comparison with what he raps. “What I used to be going by with Ash, you went by with Ariana / and you’ll test in on me each day, assist me cope with tha drama / come to think about it, we talked every single day final summer season / You have been like an enormous brother, loopy that you simply was youthful.” As a listener, he trusts which you can Google the remaining: how they each dated pop stars who grew to become their muses, earlier than their breakups, too, grew to become public.
I preserve discovering alternative ways to ask how G-Eazy armed himself to get confessional—to face the music, to call the names.
“That’s actuality. That’s not fiction,” I say of the “Breakdown” video.
“However that’s a actuality we are able to’t disguise,” he says.
“You didn’t must be as easy in ‘Breakdown,’ or in ‘Time,’” I adopted up.
“I believe the parallels between Demi and I provided a chance to only be bluntly trustworthy and susceptible, and that’s generally an important and highly effective factor to do in music.”
Every time, G-Eazy stated it was merely a matter of artistry, which I’m simply now realizing is a solution in itself: “Most of us share very curated variations of our lives on social media. I believe I’m higher than that. I’m able to doing extra than simply sharing a reasonably image and what I would love the world to see me as.”
In “Wanna Be Myself,” G-Eazy remembers a query somebody (he received’t say who) requested him two years in the past: “What do you could have exterior of music that makes you content?” By “exterior of music” the questioner clearly meant “exterior of labor,” which can be simple to contemplate for individuals who merely work to reside, versus those that reside to work.
Hunching over his now-empty bowl of ramen, G-Eazy sounds sheepish as he remembers turning this query round in his head, feeling pressured to provide you with a solution, like when a well-meaning relative asks while you plan to begin a household.
“Once you work as arduous at one thing that’s your job as I do in music, and also you find it irresistible as a lot as I do with music, it turns into intrinsically linked to your identification,” he says. “It’s the love of your life, it’s your occupation, it’s your obsession. It’s the bane of your existence when it’s not going effectively. And it’s the most effective drug the world can ever give you when it’s going nice. There’s been instances once I’ve needed to ask myself, ‘Yo, do you could have any hobbies, or the rest you give a portion of your life to that’s important, that’s not music?’ As a result of that’s basically wholesome, I believe, to have a lifetime of stability. But it surely’s one thing that I’m engaged on.”
But, as indecisive as he sounds in particular person, “These Issues Occur Too” ends on a forceful, defensive word. To a throwback boombap beat in “Gerald,” that includes Anthony Hamilton, G-Eazy addresses everybody who both takes his success as a right or desires to chime in on what they’d do in a different way: “Each cease, hoppin’ on and off the bandwagon / hate the best way I’m dwelling, criticize my actions / purchased mothers a home, and the city was hella happy with it / booked the subsequent day, I did some shit you bought an issue with.”
Irrespective of how typically he comes throughout as a tortured soul, his thoughts is made up. He’d fairly be torn between love and success than to not have succeeded in any respect.