“These things happen.” G-Eazy repeats that phrase a few times in the night instead of saying, “Wow, this is amazing.”
It’s his current hashtag motto, as well as the title of his tour. It’s fitting. Becoming a celebrity, headlining large venues, then selling them out, and having models tweet that you’re “boss”—these things do happen for G-Eazy. Three years since graduating from Loyola University, the rapper, born Gerald Gillum, is quickly ascending into the celebrity heartthrob status of which many have always dreamed.
It’s a Wednesday night, and The Fillmore is sold out (the show sold out a month in advance)–yet it feels oddly empty. Only after our photographer struggles to get closer to the stage for photos does it become clear that crowd full of teen girls, wearing belly cut shirts, are packed so tightly to the front that the back of the room seems sparse. Center stage, the rapper stands atop a small raised platform that is illuminated by a brightly lit “G-Eazy” sign. Compared to the grandiose sets of current pop stars, this setup looks bare. But it serves its perfunctory purpose throughout the night: G climbs the stairs–making sure he’s in sight of all the girls in the crowd–then either adjusts his hair or pulls his shirt up over his face, wiping the sweat from his brow, each action receiving the same high pitched screams and calls of “We love you!” from the audience. It’s almost too much, but these things happen.
Three years ago, when the Oakland native first reached out to us, he told us with his new mixtape Endless Summer he wanted to “bring a feeling of vulnerability back to hip-hop, something universal, something that real people could relate to.” The heavily doo-wop sampled album featured his first single “Runaround Sue.” Since, G has found success gaining female fans with his raps about lust and relationships; while balancing his “softer” side, with the male driven, day after, barbershop banging-braggadocio.
By the third song, G asks the audience if they want to hear some of his new material. The crowd erupts. The album, with the same name as the tour, has been delayed–and G knows it. So, weekly, he has been thanking his followers on his social media channels and teasing them with unreleased material. Something is off though, maybe because the material is still new, but his flow doesn’t match the rhythm. No one seems to care. By the next track, G is as sharp as ever, his annunciated lyrics punctuating on and off bass kicks.
“If I had a super power it would be to know what women want,” G boasts. Then the beat for “Marilyn” drops. Five young girls bolt past my post behind the crowd, rushing towards the sea now swaying side to side. “Been On” follows with a thunderous, embellished bass that would make Dead Prez proud, and G welcomes Chicago native Rockie Fresh for a guest vocal.
Over the last five years, I’ve been fortunate to watch a lot of musician rise to fame, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen an artist with such dedicated teen excitement. (Take notice Coke or Nike if you want an artist endorsement.) Soon, for G, this story will not be about these things happening, but how they happened. Until then, drink up, and enjoy the ride!