If Gerald Earl Gillum was an actor, he could probably score a role playing little brother to Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal or Edward Norton, since there’s a little bit of all of those guys floating around in his intense visage. But Gillum’s gig isn’t in front of the camera, it’s behind the mic and, as Young Gerald or G-Eazy, he’s been one of the most successful Hip Hop artists/producers to emerge from the Oakland, Calif., scene in the past decade.
G-Eazy’s earliest notice came through the Bay Boyz, a Hip Hop collective he assembled out of Berkeley High School that gained wide exposure through MySpace postings. From there, G-Eazy transitioned into his solo/mixtape persona, starting out in wildly tinted skinny jeans, a dookie strand as thick as a logging chain and lensless glasses, a nerd/jerk aesthetic that garnered him fans and attention.
During his time at New Orleans’ Loyola University, where he majored in Music Industry Studies, G-Eazy released a string of mixes that successively heightened his profile (particularly 2008’s The Tipping Point and 2011’s The Endless Summer, which featured his updated sample spin on Dion and the Belmonts’ “Runaround Sue” and notched more than 4 million YouTube views). While a senior at Loyola, G-Eazy was tapped to open for Drake; since then, he’s warmed up crowds for Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne.
With his freshly minted 2011 diploma in hand, G-Eazy shifted to a slicker, more sophisticated neo-Rat Pack presentation and began work on his debut solo album, 2012’s self-released Must Be Nice, which cracked Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop Top 40 and earned him a slot on the 2012 Warped Tour. That album’s success led to an RCA contract and his breakthrough major label sophomore album, the patently amazing These Things Happen (featuring his chill hook-up ode, “Tumblr Girls”), which topped both the R&B/Hip Hop and Rap charts and hit No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 200 albums this year. On “Almost Famous,” from Must Be Nice, G-Eazy posed this astute question: “And while I made a splash/Rappers came and passed/But still I ask myself/How long does famous last?” Given his killer flow and impeccable flair, G-Eazy’s famous could last as long as any of Hip Hop’s current practitioners.
G-EAZY plays at Bogart's Friday, Jan. 9. Find tickets/more info here .