I’m poolside with G-Eazy at his hotel. The temperature is in its high twenties yet he’s still garbed in his brand of black on black, save for ‘Royal Blue’ AJ1’s and a silver Submariner Rolex. His album These Things Happen caused a ruckus when it burst on to the scene mid 2014, debuting at a phenomenal number 3 on the Billboard top 200, and outsold heavy hitters like Ab-Soul, Lupe and Riff Raff and while it came from left field for some, his induction into the major leagues was indicative of a tenure in the industry spent planning to blow up. While chilling by the water, we get talking about tour life and whether he’s actually gotten in trouble for fucking someone’s girlfriend.
Congratulations on the success of These Things Happen
Thank you man.
You’ve sold about 150k copies now?
Yeah 178 marching towards 200. That’s a gold, man. And I think 200 means so much more in today’s world where things don’t just go platinum anymore. It’s very rare – in the states anyways. What do y’all call platinum out here?
Dont know. But it’s a lot less than America
Because in New Zealand they say platinum is 15000 and gold is 7500 copies so I’m like “We would’ve gone platinum times 10! We would’ve done it!”. This album more than anything is like a bench mark and a moment of validation for all the hard work through the years and all the investment of time and resources. I mean, we bet the house a number of times over and kept on doing it marching towards this moment, to be able to make the big bet, and thats what this album was. We’d saved up a 100k from shows and iTunes money from the last record – because it was all self-released, self-produced – and we saved that up and we bet it on this album. Making the music videos, the recording, the artwork – it was our baby, truly, a team effort and for it to work, it’s like ‘phew’, maybe we weren’t crazy after all this.
How many more CDs is that than the amount you sold at Top Dog?
Ahhh (laughs) I maybe sold maybe 100-150 total in the couple of years that I was working there. In retrospect, if I owned a shop, I would not let some employee hustle their mix-tapes right next to the tip jar. I’d be like “hey you asshole I need you to sell my food, not sell your rap music!” But nah it was a real cool shop and they took care of me.
In your opinion what made These Things Happen so much more successful than Must Be Nice
There’s a lot of factors that go into that from timing to, I mean – a kid could record a masterpiece tomorrow, but if he doesn’t have an audience, what can it achieve? So, the quality of the work isn’t everything. Even though we killed ourselves working for a year and half on this record going back and changing it and going back to add more to take away more to add more. We put our blood sweat and tears into this music but we knew that that wasn’t everything at the end of the day. If it didn’t have the right set up it wouldn’t reach the audience, it wouldn’t have the impact and it wouldn’t mean anything.
So you think it was just having a larger audience?
Yeah and the dues were paid when this album came out. We had been on half a dozen tours, and we’d been around the country and put out a lot of music, we’d put out a lot of music videos, there was a foundation and a following there so it didn’t fall on deaf ears and it was received by and audience that was ready for it and was waiting for it. So from there you have this fan base that’s been built up organically – they’re waiting for that moment and they feel like you’re capable of delivering a body of work that means something, but then you have to deliver, and hope that they react with and enjoy it, talk about it and experience it. As much as you can say that that album was one moment, it was also a tipping point.
How long have you been touring the album?
We’d been touring the album before the album was out. So February last year we started this tour, five months before the record came out, and I was playing some of the music at the shows, like a campaign trail, telling everybody every night, ‘there’s this new music you can only hear at the show, the record’s coming out in June’, so campaigning it and promoting it. And we really haven’t come off tour this year. I might get two or three days at home here and there but for the most part, we’ve been on the road for a year.
How good has your live show gotten?
Man, It’s kinda like this, like anything else, you do it over and over again and our culture within our team is a very constructive criticism basis. We all are hard on each other and push each other to get better so naturally. If you spend every night doing the same trick then you polish it, you get better at it. I have great fun on stage and I think the show has come a long way and I try to give people an experience but, like a super hero with his powers, in a big huge venue in the states I’ve got this production, my whole staff, my two tour buses, my sound guys. Here, it’s like back to where we were a couple tours ago in the states where the venues are smaller and there’s no space for a big production. You’re working with sound guys who you met for the first time today but you make it work.
On the flipside of being in an unfamiliar setting, what’s something you dream of doing, your ultimate live show
Big picture? We take it tour-by-tour, man. We look at the space and we all brainstorm ideas and look at what we can do with the stage. I wanna be a super hero man, I wanna be Batman I wanna be able to appear and dissappear with smoke and wear a cape and have it be this dark whole thing. Tour-by-tour is just like album-by-album. We approach it and [discuss] where we want to go aesthetically, what we want the production to be, what do we want to say, what’s the feel.
You’ve been spending a lot of time on the road, having you been using tour time to start new music?
I have, I have, but it depends day by day. Sometimes you get free time to work on music and I always keep a studio set up on the back of my tour bus but sometimes, I do [interviews] all day and we’ll get to a radio station and do interviews and then phone calls and stuff and then sometimes you spend the better part of the day recovering from last night. And then most nights right after I get off stage I’m like, wiping myself down with a towel and get thrown into an Uber being told I’ve got to go to this party to pick up this cheque and perform for a second time that night at the club. And then you get that cheque and you get back at like 2:30am after performing twice in one night and your just ready to pass out.
Would you say you’re making progress on a new release with the amount of music that you are doing?
Oh hell yeah. Since the last album we’ve recorded a good twenty five songs, but I want to set the bar even higher for this next one. It’s not so much about getting the job done, and recording X amount of songs that could be thrown together in a track list and do a photo shoot, cool, album delivered. It’s more like, now that we’ve made it into the major leagues how do you be more than just a payer? I want to be a star. I want to be a big time player so the bar is really high and I want to push the envelope with this one
What can you tell me about it?
I can’t tell you anything yet. It’s all under wraps. It’s all in the vault locked away.
Do you think sonically it will sound similar to These Things Happen?
We try to you know avoid comfort zones creatively and sonically, so with every project there’s a chance to take risks evolve, move forward. I’m looking forward to finally getting off the road to get in a space with my team and just have those conversations about where we want to go musically and aesthetically and say ‘what do we want to try this time around, where do we want to push it?’ And just get out of this touring space and into a creative space and where I can dedicate 100% of my brain power to being in the studio, I haven’t had that time in about a year. We were finishing up the album in January and we were renting a house on the beach in Malibu in California and it as me, Christoph Anderson, the guy who produced it, and Matt my manager and my video team and Jamil my other manager. That’s the core team and we’re all there with not a care in the world just the beach and the music, and we’re able have long conversations about what we wanted to do with this album and what we needed and what we wanted to say etcetera.
When you’re having these creative chats are you talking about people who you’d like to have on the album?
Hell yeah, what’s our hit list and who do we want.
Who is on that list?
I mean you can go figure, when you make a wish list you’ve got to dream big. I do it myself, when you play a song you can say ‘I could hear so and so on here’. You name it.
Anyone. From Drake to Kanye to an old Tupac acapella that I’m sure we could find an old beat to match up. But this time around what I’m excited for is being in a different position. You know a year ago I don’t think many of these guys knew who the fuck I was you know, if we did reach out to them they were like ‘What? G-who? He wants me on what song?’ That’s one of the perks of becoming a player in the big leagues – you’re on people’s radars and you’ve got support from a lot more people.
Tell me about bailing from touring with Drake.
Yeah [laughs] it was very much a fake it ’til you make it kind of situation, we’d kinda been slid on tour we weren’t being paid, it was a favour, and we were kind of just following him around and we’d play for ten minutes after doors opened or whatever. And I knew, as cool as the opportunity was, it wasn’t the end all be all. If I wanted it all, these opportunities would come back in a much better way you know what I’m saying? What wouldn’t come back around was, you know the way school works and just how much fucking money we were paying for it, my grandma was the reason I was in school and was helping me pay for it. I thought that I’d finish this up, and get this over with.
I’m sure Drake would understand that you didn’t want to dissappoint your grandma. The way you say some things on songs like ‘Far Alone’ or ‘I Mean It’, you come across more cheeky and comedic than arrogant. How important to you is it to have humour in your songs?
Well you know I am a human, I’m a regular person and I don’t take myself too seriously. I think it’s important to have a sense of humour and you know make fun of yourself but make fun of the world at the same time and talk your shit but still be human about it.
I loved the hook on ‘I Mean it’.
Yeah you take a lyric like that that’s so over the top that its ridiculous and you’ve gotta have some fun with it, otherwise you’re really corny. If you look at the video that’s what I was trying to convey with it, you could do that video one or two ways you could do a cliché rap music video in the club with a bunch of bottles and girls and a bunch of jewellery or you could make it satirical. Not over the top, I’m not making fun of the genre, but I don’t take myself too seriously. But at the same time I’m dead serious, I will take your girl, but I’m just joking, but I’ve got your girl. Just have some fun, everything is not that serious.
You’ve also rapped “I’m fucking your girlfriend and there’s nothing you can do about it”. Have you ever fucked someone’s girlfriend and gotten in trouble for it?
[laughs] You know, it’s just a blessing to be all the way out here in Australia with people supporting the music it’s just a great feeling to be here [laughs].
That was diplomatic. Style’s an important facet of your brand as an artist, how is wearing black on black going in Australian heat?
Just about as well as y’all’s hot coffee is going. Ice coffee isn’t a big thing here is it? It’s so hot that you’d think you’d adapt. Iced coffee is a big thing in the states. In LA all you drink is iced coffee and down here you still drink hot coffee? But I figure Batman doesn’t take his costume off in the heat [laughs] I feel comfortable in black. Days around the house when I try to wear blue jeans and a white shirt I feel kind of like somethings off, and in the middle of the day I’ll end up changing back.
Rap squats are also very stylish, how do you feel about them?
Well, it’s actually called an air chair.
What do you throw up when you ‘air chair’ then?
Oh just the prayer hands.
Praying to 6 God?
No, to Based God, always.
Last question, what season is it?
What season is it? It’s Eazy-season, always.