In 2015, G-Eazy blossomed into a mainstream darling when he unleashed his platinum album When It’s Dark Out. Powered by his catchy single “Me, Myself, and I” featuring Bebe Rexha, the Bay Area product (born Gerald Earl Gillum), earned himself his first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
Following the success of his platinum album, G-Eazy joined forces with Logic in July 2016 for their Endless Summer Tour. After selling out a slew of concerts — including one at Brooklyn’s 18,000-seat Barclays Center — Gillum cemented his standing in hip-hop as a legitimate household name.
This year, the “Loaded” MC has been hard at work in the studio. First, he dropped his collaborative EP Step Brothers with Carnage. Then, for his birthday in May, he treated fans to four new songs including “Get Mine” featuring Snoop Dogg, “Special Love,” “Maximum” and “Eyes Closed.” Last month, the 28-year-old announced the title of his new album, The Beautiful and Damned, which will see a fall release later this year.
Billboard caught up with G-Eazy at the NBA Awards Monday night to speak about his forthcoming album, the pressure of surpassing his 2015 effort When It’s Dark Out, his song of the summer and how he compares himself to Kobe Bryant.
What can fans expect from your next album The Beautiful and Damned?
This is the next chapter of Gerald. I think [the fans] know me well enough by now, so this is just the next chapter of my life. I’m further exploring my Gemini; you know, the duality and the split personality of who I am. That’s The Beautiful and Damned. There’s multiple layers to the title and the concept of the album, but that’s one of the better messages. I’m exploring that yin and yang of my personality.
You’re coming from a platinum album with When It’s Dark Out and a top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100 in “Me, Myself and I.” Do you feel any pressure of trying to capitalize and top your last project?
Well, there’s always pressure, you know? But that inspires me. It doesn’t cripple me. I did 80 songs in six months for this album and we had a tough job slimming it down and coming up with the track list because I don’t waste time. I don’t go in the studio to make music that won’t matter. I go in every night to try to make a point and make the best music that I can make. So I’m excited to share this with the world, man. You know, when you’re making an album, it’s like exciting every night you make something new, but you’re the only one who gets to hear it. The world doesn’t get to experience it yet. So, right now, I’m just excited to get it out there and start sharing.
Since we’re at the NBA Awards, if you can give us your NBA comparison, who would you choose and why?
Kobe. That’s my guy. I mean, his work ethic and that killer mentality — it’s something we share.
You’ve always been a real lover of hip-hop. What are your thoughts on Prodigy passing away last week?
You know, growing up in the Bay, I was still looking for a lot of East Coast hip-hop. I had an older homie put me on to a lot of stuff like Nas’ Illmatic. My friends put me on to Mobb Deep when I was a little kid. I’ve always been a big fan. They have so much influence over the years in hip-hop as a whole, but especially with the East Coast sound. So it’s sad anytime a legend passes like that.
A lot of stars on the carpet have been saying French Montana’s ‘Unforgettable’ is the song of the summer. Would you agree?
Absolutely. It’s incredible. That song, you can’t put it in a box. For one, it’s a great song, but it’s innovative I think stylistically and ascetically. I think that’s what great artists do. They push themselves, they evolve visibly and they find greatness.