About thirty years ago I was just starting out in the music industry. Every week I received dozens of offers in the mail to help me get my start in music. It seemed like hundreds of people and companies had the answer to building a successful career. It didn’t take long before I found that there was no one plan to finding success. Just like every industry, success came because of a variety of factors going in the right direction. I thought about the many musicians who found success, much like the featured artist this week G-Eazy. The American rapper/record producer has a very nice story of success. However, I think every successful person has a nice story. With G-Eazy, if there were a plan for success, it might look and sound a lot like his story.
Gerald Earl Gillum was born May 24, 1989 in Oakland, CA. Like many people, G-Eazy suffered through some tough times in his early childhood. When G-Eazy was in the first grade, his mother left his father. He want on to move in with his grandparents in Berkeley, California.
Raised in Oakland, CA, G-Eazy made the decision to enroll at Loyola University New Orleans because of their strong music industry program where he started to cultivate and craft his own inimitable style while still in college. For the budding artist, the partying wasn’t nearly as important as creating. He missed more than a few keggers so he could lay down tracks in his dorm room for a series of buzz-generating mixtapes culminating in his 2011 breakout, Endless Summer.
Interestingly, G-Eazy chose to go to college and study music. Many say that college is not necessary to become a successful hip-hop artist, and then point to many examples to prove the point. I studied music in college and therefore understand the difference it can make in a music career. The difference might not be heard in any finished product, however the way the music is produced is where the contrast might be found. G-Eazy would definitely organize projects with an understanding of song structure and composition. Even with music that might contain a simple structure.
G-Eazy began working on many singles while he was still a student at the Loyola University at New Orleans with his producer Christoph Andersson who also was a student there. He then gained some recognition for being a part of the new hip hop scene back in the East Bay Area, joining with such artists as Lil B, Crohn and The Cataracs. During his early years, he became a member of a local hip hop group, called “The Bay Boyz”, who had released several songs on their official MySpace page.
Upon reading about G-Eazy during his college days, I was impressed that he worked so much on his own musical recording projects. With a full course load, I barely had time to sleep never mind any recording. Nevertheless, the young hip-hop artist was preparing for his future. A big future for sure.
Diploma in hand, he hit 2012 running. During that summer’s Warped Tour, he produced, wrote, and recorded what would become his full-length début, Must Be Nice. Blending elegant production with a sly, slick, and smooth flow, the album landed at #3 on the iTunes Hip Hop Chart completely independent of a label. From the overwhelming success of the tour Paste Magazine named G-Eazy in their top artists to watch in 2013, High Times Magazine named him the “Best New Artist of 2013,” and Lil Wayne tapped him to join the America’s Most Wanted Festival nationwide tour.
As Must Be Nice gained new listeners and fans, G-Eazy was enjoying more notoriety among music fans and others in the industry via the touring stage. On July 9, 2013, G-Eazy, alongside 2 Chainz, opened for Lil Wayne’s “America’s Most Wanted Tour”. Now it seemed that G-Eazy had unleashed the master plan for hip-hop success. “We built up to this point one gig at a time,” G-Eazy affirms. “I always wanted to do my own thing whether it’s producing my own songs or dressing my own way.”
On June 23, 2014, G-Eazy released his major-label début album, These Things Happen. The album topped the US Billboard’s Hip-Hop/R&B and Top Rap Albums charts, also earning him the number 3 spot on the US Billboard 200 and the Top Digital Albums Chart.
During summer of 2015, G-Eazy played some of the main stages at a series of notable music festivals, including Lollapalooza, Electric Forest, Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Made in America, and Austin City Limits. With the rise of his music career, G-Eazy has also taken up in interest in fashion by releasing a collaboration with Rare Panther in the fall of 2015 and being named GQ Magazine’s top 10 most stylish at New York Fashion Week. Like many others before him, G-Eazy built upon his musical success with fashion as an image had now emerged. His dapper style was playing quite well among his growing worldwide fan base.
Earlier this month, on December 15, 2017, G-Eazy released his fourth studio album The Beautiful & Damned. It features guest appearances from Halsey, Cardi B, ASAP Rocky, Kehlani, Jay Ant, E-40, Charlie Puth and Anna of the North, among others. Equipped with chart topping hits like “No Limit”, Him & I” and “Sober, The Beautiful & Damned seemed the perfect album for a growing international star to release at this time in a career.
As I listen to G-Eazy today, I think he had a great formula for success all along. Alas, nothing is perfect, and what worked for G-Eazy might not work for the next artist. However, if a budding artist is looking for a blueprint for rising in the hip-hop industry, he might bookmark a few things that worked for G-Eazy.