Bay Area rapper, G-Eazy, established himself as a force to be reckoned with in hip-hop after selling over 90,000 copies of his debut album, These Things Happen, which ended up placing him at Number 3 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Undaunted by the pressures of releasing a second album, When It's Dark Out, debuted at number 5 on the US Billboard 200 and also featured him scoring his first top 10 hit with the Bebe Rexha-assited "Me Myself & I."
With a string of features on songs that became the soundscape for Summer 2016 - including Marc E Bassy's "You & Me" and Britney Spears' "Make Me," the tenured artist also solidified himself as a pioneer of social change after hopping on YG's remix of "Fuck Donald Trump."
We recently caught up with G-Eazy to discuss a range of topics which speak to his place in the industry, the pressures, and of course, his beloved Golden State Warriors.
You've emerged in a time in music where it's hard to quantify success thanks to streaming services and the lack of interest in owning things anymore. How do you personally quantify "success?"
I send money to my mom every month, and I bought her a new car for her birthday a couple weeks ago. That's something I've dreamed about being able to do for years, so I feel like that represents some kind of level of success.
Your second album did manage to sell a lot of physical copies though. What's the secret?
I don't know if there's a secret. All I can attribute it to is the work we put in, and the attention to detail we put into everything. Me and my team all really care about the quality of every single aspect of what we do. From the artwork, to the sequencing of the album, to the mixing. That's the stuff I lose sleep over because I care that much. So I guess you can only hope the fans appreciate the work that goes into the making of the album.
You seem to be a pretty big basketball fan. Outside of your stars like MJ, Kobe and LeBron, is there a ballplayer that best embodies your music career so far?
Maybe Draymond Green. You can tell he's fueled by his intense passion, and he got to where he's at through his work ethic. At the end of the day, I love what I do, I fell in love with it at a young age and never fell out of love or looked back. I didn't get here by accident I got here by putting the work in.
Having now solidified yourself as a large presence in rap - and seen both the independent and major label side of things - what do you see as the major benefit of both opportunities?
What matters the most in any situation is knowing yourself - knowing your vision and and following it strictly. You can get what you want at a major [record label] if you know what it is you want and prove to them that it can work. Obviously being independent brings you that freedom, but if you can prove to the majors your methods work then they won't fuck that up. When I signed my deal, I fought for creative control because I've always known who I am and what I want my records to sound like.
What was that moment like to end up at RCA after having been rejected years prior?
It was full circle. It definitely validated everything I'd believed in up to that point, that if I stuck to it and kept chasing this dream that it would eventually work out the way I wanted it to.
You've recorded two studio albums and managed to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. What are the major sources of anxiety for a third project when you've probably said a lot more than you ever thought you would get to say to a large audience?
If you think about it too much then you'll start to let it get to you. I try to block all that out and just focus on the music. Plus, my day to day life hasn't changed all that much in the past few years if you think about it. I mean I have all the same people around me, and we're doing the same things we've been doing for years, except at a much higher level and we're way busier now.
Do you think music in general has a duty these days to do much more than "sound good" given the state of politics and race relations in the country?
It all depends on the artist. Everybody's got something different to say, everybody sees the world a little differently, has different values, feels they have different responsibilities to the world. Again, it comes back to knowing yourself and knowing your role.
A number of publications have also painted you as the "James Dean of hip-hop." Does that description irk you or do you view it a compliment?
James Dean is one of the most iconic figures in pop culture, ever, so I take it as a high compliment. But I can only hope to ever achieve that level of notability.