Two Tours in Two Years? Too Easy for G-Eazy

American Rapper G-Eazy Seeking to Promote Bay Area Culture During Upcoming Tour

photo courtesy of The Chamber Group.

This Wednesday will mark G-Eazy’s second show in Montreal in two years. What about our city makes it enjoyable for the 25-year-old rapper?

“That poutine!” said G-Eazy with a laugh. His appreciation of the city goes beyond the surface of such tawdry pleasures. “I got a friend that I grew up with. He went to college there [Montreal] and so he showed us around the city last time we were here. I love it there, the whole vibe, the aesthetic of the whole city.”

This time around, G-Eazy is coming back to Montreal as part of the second leg of his very successful From the Bay to the Universe tour. The San Francisco Bay Area rapper hopes to give the people a taste of what his city has to offer.

“There’s a pride that comes with growing up in the Bay Area that you just want to wave our flag and, you know, try to help put on and bring our culture around the world,” G-Eazy said.

To accomplish that, the Oakland native has enlisted fellow Bay Area talent Jay Ant, Kool John and Kehlani for 22 of the 28 dates of this primarily North American tour.

“It’s just a vibe. Like Kehlani’s energy is completely different than Jay Ant and Kool John, but she’s crazy talented and she puts on a hell of a show, as do Jay Ant and Kool John,” explained G-Eazy.

The choice of openers could also be seen as the rapper’s way of paying it forward to up-and-coming artists in the same way that certain rappers from his area did for him. In particular, he spoke with reverence when talking about Bay Area rap legend E-40.

“E-40 gave me a look on “Far Alone”,” G-Eazy said. “When I first got the verse from E-40, I was like jumping around, I was like going crazy, I was like what the fuck! It’s just hearing a voice that you’re so familiar with, especially when you’ve listened to it for years growing up.

“Hearing that same voice on a record that you made in the garage of a rented Airbnb house when […] living out of a suitcase… Like “Far Alone” was made in a day, but I hear his voice on a song we made from scratch, it’s crazy! That was the biggest moment of my career at the time.”

That was March. A lot has changed for G-Eazy since then and he’s had more big moments. His major label debut album These Things Happen made it to #3 on the Billboard 200 in its first week and has sold over 130,000 copies, he has embarked on a successful European tour and he was named one of the hottest college acts by USA Today.

Still, don’t expect G-Eazy to release any verses proclaiming himself to be “King of Hip-Hop” any time soon.

“I don’t look up and I don’t look down. I just keep grinding,” he said.

He doesn’t seek to rank himself against other rappers and he’d prefer that the listeners didn’t rank him either if they’re only going to be comparing him to other white rappers.

The idea of white appropriation of hip-hop culture has been a very relevant conversation in the media and G-Eazy reflected on what contributes to the opinion people have of white artists in hip-hop.

“When somebody’s doing something and it’s genuine, then that’s what matters. When it’s not genuine, then that’s not that chill,” he said. “[Hip-hop] is the culture I grew up with and fell in love with when I was young. Music has always been my passion.

“I’m a fan of everybody from Kanye to Drake to ScHoolboy Q.”

The Kanye West mention is noteworthy because G-Eazy shares certain traits with the superstar. Not only does he rap, he also produces. His frequent collaborations with producer Cristoph Andersson have allowed him to take more of a backseat in that role and be more of an overseer of the production, akin to Diddy.

“It gives me more time to focus on lyrics. I think in the past, it was the opposite. I was more of a producer than a rapper,” he said.

He is also a perfectionist with his craft. “When we were making the album, we took a crazy amount of time on every little detail. It was almost to an obsessive level. My management had to pull me away and say like, ‘Look, you have to finish this! You can’t just keep tinkering with it forever.’ ”

His perfectionism has led to critical self-evaluations of his own music. “The thing is, I hate a lot of my music as soon as it’s out,” he said. “I’m crazy over-critical of myself. While I’m making it; I’m listening to it over and over because I’m tinkering with it, but once it’s out, I can’t help but criticize every little detail and think about what I wish I would’ve done differently.”

G-Eazy fans would disagree though, and many have proven it with their dollars, as the tour has resulted in dozens of sold-out shows.

This Wednesday will mark G-Eazy’s second show in Montreal in as many years. So what’s different this time around?

“I think I performed last time for maybe 100 people in a little hole in the wall. I’ve grown as a performer,” he said. “It just gets bigger and bigger, the shows, the venues, the crowds.”

It’s safe to say that G-Eazy fans attending the show at the Corona Theatre are in for a G-eazy with more skill and command of the stage than the G-Eazy that was here last year. These things happen when you add a world tour and 60-plus shows under your belt.

G-Eazy // Wednesday, Jan. 14 // 8 p.m. // Corona Theatre (2490 Notre-Dame St. W.)