G-Eazy: A Beautiful Life
G-Eazy hustled hard to get to the top of the rap game. The Oakland-headquartered rapper grew up as Gerald Gillum, a white kid who started making beats in high school and schooled himself in business when he attended Loyola University. Now he’s a superstar boasting three No. 1 R&B albums, with his newest, The Beautiful and the Damned, becoming his second to hit No. 3 on Billboard’s Top 200 album charts. He’s attained a certain world weariness, though, as he attests throughout the album, having become somewhat jaded with the fame and celebrity he strived so hard to achieve.
Then again, as G-Eazy points out often, he is a Gemini. Being dual-natured can enable one to enjoy the hedonistic perks of success while grumbling about it, too. The rapper’s image can currently be seen on both coasts in a billboard campaign for YouTube (“Where the self-made make it.”), although his relationship with pop chart ingénue Halsey has probably done more than giant ads to raise his profile as he crosses the country on The Beautiful and the Damned Tour. The singer performed with G-Eazy on “Him & I,” the sultry second single from The Beautiful and the Damned, and proceeded to appear with him on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Saturday Night Live.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Beautiful and Damned inspired the title of G-Eazy’s latest effort. The rapper saw parallels between the hedonistic Jazz Age lifestyles described by Fitzgerald and his own, and proceeded to map out compositions fueled by braggadocio and high self-regard. The album also sheds light on the personality split G-Eazy is experiencing, having realized the persona he created in order to become a rock star had taken over, and after G-Eazy had his fun, Gerald Gillum had to reckon with the aftermath. The sips of dirty martinis his grandfather gave him as a kid had evolved into something potentially problematic as his life became a “cyclone of intoxication” and hectic schedules.
Despite the specter of his sonic self-portrait, G-Eazy still seems at the top of his game, with his fame continuing to rise and his brand becoming more lucrative. The title track from the new album is featured in the “Above the Noise” ad campaign for Beats headphones that kicked off during the Winter Olympics. He was a two-night headliner at the Los Angeles edition of Sony Music’s multicity, tech-fantasy #LostInMusic festival. The first single from Beautiful, “No Limit,” featuring A$AP Rocky and Cardi B, became his highest-charting pop chart single when it peaked at No. 4 the first week of this year.
There have been a few bumps in the road. He canceled a partnership with clothing retailer H&M that he says may have cost him millions, and The Beautiful and the Damned received mixed reviews. His fan base continues to grow, though, and he continues to cultivate his career, his way. G-Eazy lived like a rock star until he became one, finding inspiration from Elvis and Marlon Brando. Now he wants his audience to be inspired by him, and he even offers a VIP experience in which fans can get a beautiful, damned haircut just like G-Eazy’s from his own barber in a retro-style chair.
Park Theater at Monte Carlo, 7 p.m. Feb. 25, starting at $49.50 plus tax and fee. 844.600.7275