By Meghan Milligan
With an endless line running down Smallman Street, fans took over The Strip District to see Bay Area rapper G-Eazy. With over 35 million Spotify streams, and selling more than 100,000 copies of his album, These Things Happen, it’s easy to see why MTV named G-Eazy their “Artist to Watch.” With his most recent tour, “From The Bay To The Universe,” G visited 31 cities across the nation, unleashing his exuberant energy on stage.
WHIRL Photographer Michael Fornataro and I were led to one of the many tour busses parked outside Xtaza Nightclub to catch G-Eazy right before his performance. As we made our introductions, G led us through his automatic, “Star Wars” door to sit down and discuss everything from his music to his influences in fashion.
WHIRL: How has your “From The Bay To The Universe Tour” been so far?
G-Eazy: This tour really feels like the first official tour. For instance, the first time we tried to go on the road, we were in a SUV that we borrowed and we all crammed in. We even brought a rice cooker, and everyone had their own Tupperware — that’s how we ate. Then the next tour, it felt like we kind of made it and thought, “Wow, we are in hotels. That’s so crazy. These are expensive!” Now, we have four tour buses and every show is sold out.
WHIRL: Have you ever performed in Pittsburgh before?
G-Eazy: We used to come and play the smallest clubs in town. We played The Altar Bar and The Shadow Lounge here. It was still sold out, but it was only around a 150 to 200 people. I like venues that have a cool history and that are different from anything else. Pittsburgh is a second home at this point.
WHIRL: Do you have a typical routine you follow before you go out on stage?
G-Eazy: I’ll usually be back here [in the back of the tour bus] recording and sound checking. After that I’ll do a meet and greet, go get some dinner, then I’ll meditate with some tea then rage.
WHIRL: How did you first get into the hip-hop/rap scene?
G-Eazy: It’s just the culture I grew up around. It was what my friends were into when I was around 13, and we would just be free stylin’ and writing in class to pass time. I started making beats first before writing songs. I thought if I put these two together, and we saved up our money for a mic, then we could record songs. We would go to my house after school and just record until my mom kicked everybody out.
The whole process has been about 10 years. Spotify has really been a big part of it all. I won this contest on Spotify that was an artist spotlight type of thing, and they blasted the album all over the homepage. They just really believed in the album and got behind it. I always thought that doing music and becoming a star was the coolest thing in my eyes as a kid. As soon as I got into it, I fell in love and never thought of doing anything else.
WHIRL: What’s your creative process when writing music?
G-Eazy: My lyrics just come from mumbling. I just mumble and try to find words and ideas I like. It will start with the beats and the music. Then, some idea will come to me, like what kind of song this is and what is it going to be.
WHIRL: Who are some of your musical influences?
G-Eazy: Dr. Dre’s 2001 album, Tupac, and Juvenile’s 400 Degreez album was a big album for me — that was my youth. Kanye and Drake are probably my favorite artists right now.
WHIRL: Aside from your music, you are also known for your impeccable style. Where do you find your fashion inspiration?
G-Eazy: Saint Laurent. I actually went there yesterday in New York and got the sickest piece I’ve ever owned [a Saint Laurent classic motorcycle jacket in red leather]. I’m into style, but am not at the same time. I pretty much wear the same thing every day. I like what I like and stick to that. Johnny Cash is where the all black comes from. It’s like this classic, retro Americana mixed with some contemporary street wear. James Dean meets A$AP Rocky.